Roman House Pavilion

Roman House Pavilion Roman House Pavilion at the Biblical Open-Air Museum at Heilig Landstichting near Nijmegen
Photograph: PANSA BV

In 1990 Kees Peterse remodeled the already existing Roman House Pavilion in the Biblical Open-Air Museum (Bijbels Openluchtmuseum) at Heilig Landstichting nearby Nijmegen. The original layout was designed by architect H.C. van de Leur in 1974. An open courtyard of 3.4 x 4.0 m was surrounded by rooms on all four sides. Van de Leur designed a fašade reminiscent of the Horrea Epagathiana in Ostia. Tailor-made bricks were applied to improve a Roman flavor.

In 1990 the museum decided to add the Roman House Pavilion to the year-through usable accommodation. This had to be achieved by creating an indoor climate. At the same time the museum wanted to increase the number of references to the Roman world as well as their accurateness. In order to comply with the client's brief Peterse altered the extremely small-sized open courtyard into a two-storey central hall using the spatial concept of the Egyptian oecus (Vitruvius 6.3.8-9) for a reference. A good example of an Egyptian oecus is found in the Mosaic Atrium in Herculaneum. To improve the inlet of daylight the oecus' saddle roof was executed in glass. The new built walls of the oecus-like central space were erected on top of the original foundations of the courtyard's perimeter walls. Also other parts of the 1974-structure had to be reused because of the restricted budget. Their appearance, however, changed beyond recognition.

In 2001 PANSA BV was given the opportunity to complete the pavilion's makeover by adding woodwork that is detailed according to Roman craftsmanship. Two-wing panel doors, windows and fences now correspond to the tradition that is documented by the cities of Vesuvius. Similar details are found on wall paintings and (bas-)reliefs all over the former Roman world indicating a great extent of uniformity. The new built walls were stuccoed. Those of the central space feature a schematized projecting cornice at their top. The floor was designed to resemble so-called opus signinum.

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Front door of the Roman House Pavilion First sketches of the Roman House Pavilion Fences of the Roman House Pavilion Roman House Pavilion