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Architecture Monday

January 29, 2018

There’s something wonderful about brick.  There’s a comfort within its heft, and there’s a richness that comes from its perfect combination of roughness, irregularity, and the deep colours of the materials used to make them.  It’s also a material that is familiar, one of our earliest and longest lasting building materials.

So when you have a chance to go hog wild with brick… go for it.

This museum of roman antiquities does so with spectacular effect.  It’s nearly all brick – inside and out – creating a sensuous backdrop for the exhibits within.  Built over and protecting a pristine archeological excavation (and providing access for the public to view it), and adjacent to further ruins next door, the brick forms evoke their ancient architecture while remaining decidedly contemporary.

There’s a lot to love about this:  the high-arched hall that forms its spine, the mezzanines of galleries that line its side, a multitude of surprising and creative alcoves and atriums to discover, the intimate crypts below, and the finely tuned beams of light that perfectly highlight the beauty and mottled colours of all that brick.

Good stuff.  A bold design that grabs the eye and alludes to its contents and the ruins nearby without succumbing to being a copy, all while wrapped in those delicious layers upon layers of brick.

The National Museum of Roman Art by Rafael Moneo

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