architecture : urban : visual culture

Time Box twins by Gergely Sági

The base of the architectural design is the attitude. How can and should we act as an architect in a such conservative and „predestinated” enviroment what is Calugareni at the first look. The first step of this large scale project designed by Gergely Sági, is the pair of this pavilions, so called „the Twins”, during the work and lately named as „Time Box”.

About the pavilions

The base of the architectural design is the attitude. How can and should we act as an architect in a such conservative and „predestinated” enviroment what is Calugareni at the first look. Situated between Targu Mures and Sovata, more or less 40 km from the first, the location is nearly a perfect place. But the time seems to be stopped 100 years ago: no paved roads, nor public lights and with 150 inhabitants or even less it is a typical transylvanian village which has no more, than 20 years left, if nothing happens.

A new world (can) born

But nowadays instead the doom some miracel seems happening in the Niraj valley: since years the so called Barn Theatre and the Roman Festival (the third edition will be presented in 2016) generates more and more turism in every year. The long-term developing concept of the Mures County Museum with the support of the County Council not even could save the village of Calugareni, but it can elevate it to the rank of a really important touristical destination.
The first step of this large scale project is the pair of this pavilions, so called „the Twins”, during the work and lately named as „Time Box”.

Traditional-new architecture

The first opened and „regular” house-shaped design, which led the eyes towards the archeological site by the tapering of the section was closed during the design process. The volume transformed into a more unconvetional shape, which finally gave the bit strange and singular outlook of the object. But in the same time the use of the familiar shingle covering and the local materials allowes to the pavilions some familiarity and closeness to the local people and buliding traditions.

New connections

Thus the pavilion is a connection between the ruins and the observer, past and present and in a sense a connection between the Roman empire and today's Calugareni as well. They are connection between the architects, archeologists, carpenters, teachers, students, foreignes and locals. It was a very important task from the fist thoughts that the pavilions have to be built by the local people, mainly to force the connection and acceptance by their part to these small, new objects. And finally we scored this point, and at the end everybody, who has taken part of any level in the process has some emotional connection to „the Twins” why they became somehow the children of all of us.

The happily ever after…

After two yers of design process, the constuction begun on the summer of 2015. With the support of the Mures County Museum, The Romanian State and with the help of many personal donation, the work, led by Koppány Bulcsú Ötvös („usually” archeologist of the Museum) finished in november, the same year. The unconvetional shape and stucture became an interesting challenge for everibody, althogh it was some kind of scarry for much for the first look. The participants of the workshop started to call them „the Twins” and the local workers started to dream with them. The innauguration ceremony was held in the 6th of may of 2016, nearly 3 yeras after the first sketches.

It is a great challenge in an architectural sense, a great question, whether contemporary architecture can be present in a village in which the largest architectural intervention of the past 100 years has been some change of windows and doors; where the local image of the most modern materials is the red and blue metal rooftops, and the idea of „form” remains the archetypical shape of the house. What tools does contemporary architecture have in a conservative village so much sticking to traditions? Where could we start? Which values are we reflecting on, saving from current conditions, that are -without intervention- obviously disappearing soon and for ever? How can something fit into this environment, having a function that has been never seen there before, something, that has no ancestors, no past, no natural location in the village?

Here being in connection with the environment is not a cliché coming from the vibes of „genius loci”, creating nice forms and transcendent content, rather a very practical need that secures the long-lasting future of the pavilion: having connection here is means of survival. In a situation where the house is left alone for 11 months of the year (the 12th one being the time of the excavation) in the corn field by the village the only chance for survivor is to have owner. And there can be owner only if locals become owners. If locals can relate to the small constructions by their village, if they are able to accept them, the community is able to look at them as its own and feel responsibility for them – in this case the pavilions can last the time they were constructed for. In any other case their inevitable future is decay and destruction. Considering these having connection is not only a purpose- it's the only chance for the existance of the pavilions.

Gergely Sági

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