KHARAYEB ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Lebanon - 2015-2017 (on hold)
The Kharayeb Archaeological Museum (KAM) is located in the agricultural lands of the coastal village of Kharayeb, in the hilly south of Lebanon.
shiogumo was commissioned to design this site-specific museum by the directors of the archeological mission and site, Dr. Ida Oggiano (Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico of CNR, Italy) and Dr. Wissam Khalil (Lebanese University), aiming to preserve and even enhance the location’s historical, cultural, and public significance.
Discovered in 1946, the archaeological site dating back to the Late Iron Age, encompasses ruins of a small temple, that’s been dated to the Persian and Hellenistic Ages. The more important findings are the thousands of small votive terracotta figurines mass produced on site (findings started in 1969, stopped around 1975, then reprised in 2009).
This hilltop site is still used by local villagers as an informal public park, lovers’ hideout, and even hunting grounds.
Following on the aspirations of the directors, with emphasis on enhancing the villagers’ use of the space and preserving the natural & agricultural environments, shiogumo deconstructed the conventional museum program and organized its components in the most accessible and environmentally friendly way. Each major programmatic component becomes a pavilion on its own gently placed either side of the main entrance central axis. The site is experienced exclusively on foot.
The KAM’s 4 pavilions are: The Exhibitions Pavilion (A), The Administration & Amenities Pavilion (B), The Café (C) and The Main Gate Pavilion (F)
1. THE EXHIBITIONS PAVILION (850 sqm) Composed of:
To emphasize the KAM’s integration within its context, The Exhibitions Pavilion does not have any physical boundaries with the natural environment. The Pavilion is completely open and susceptible to natural environmental conditions except for direct precipitation and solar exposure.
A key reason this informative and educational pavilion is conceived so openly is to make it as inviting as possible to local villagers who may be intimidated by a cultural project. The site therefore continues to function as a public park open for all (KAM is free of charge to the residents of Kharayeb). Furthermore, The Cloud on Stilts offers them a new perspective of KAM and The Temple Ruins as well as their village and the surrounding area.
The harmonious integration of KAM, and The Exhibitions Pavilion particularly, in nature is further emphasized by the opening hours (sunrise till sunset) and lighting system. Sunlight is available in Lebanon around 300 days a year, ergo the main source of light is The Forest of Light. Here the sun is channeled through the solar tubes onto each figurine individually and from above therefore illuminating the whole exhibition space.
The Forest of Light emits artificial lighting from within the solar tubes only when open on special evening occasions or during extreme weather conditions when natural light is scarce. This light is emitted below the figurines via LED sources. Thus, a stark contrast between night and day is achieved.
The environmental impact of The Exhibitions Pavilion is extremely minimal. The whole ground is rammed, compacted earth, covered with natural white gravel (The Rustling Blanket) i.e. virtually no damage to the natural soil. Furthermore, The Roof Plane is structurally supported by only 2 elements, The Hollow Boulder & the giant Stilts of the Cloud, inferring minimal penetration of the natural ground.
2. THE ADMINISTRATION & AMENITIES PAVILION (188 sqm)
Includes the reception, information desk and administrative staff, public toilets and lockers, as well as a technical room.
The pavilion is also elevated from the ground for optimal natural soil preservation.
3. THE CAFÉ PAVILION (40 sqm)
The Café and its Terraces (272 sqm) sit under the massive Mother Tree right between The Temple Ruins (D) and The Garden of Rocks (E).
The Café, mainly its kitchen and bar, sits on top of the concrete slab of the now-removed original 1969 workers’ pavilion under the Mother Tree.
The Terraces then sprawl out of the slab towards The Garden of Rocks. The white rocks, unique natural features to this side of the site, are given more importance by being further individually exposed as playful sculptural landscape elements.
4. THE MAIN GATE PAVILION (4 sqm)
Visitors leave their cars outside of the premises delimited by the Direction Générale des Antiquités and enter on foot from The Main Gate Pavilion. Tickets are bought or validated here, knowing that residents of Kharayeb have free access.
The development of KAM is currently on hold until further notice due to lack of funding.
Lead and Design Director: Richard Douzjian
Assistant Designer: Nada Al-Selani
3D Visuals: Ziad Abi Karam