HAGAR QIM AND MNAJDRA HERITAGE PARK DEVELOPMENT- INTERNATIONAL DESIGN
the temples of hagar qim and mnajdra can be viewed as the irises of a
pair of eyes, which look into the culture of the two megalithic temples.
the shelters are the adjustable eyelids belonging to these eyes. the orientation
point and visitor center are complementary structures on many different
levels. by highlighting the concealed substance of hagar qim and mnajdra,
they help to provide the visitor with a deeper understanding of the temples
and surrounding landscape. they prepare the visitor in different ways
for a cultural journey - similar to the preparations one makes before
embarking on a trip. the unconscious, spatial experience of the content
of the inaccessible inner-rooms awakens and sharpens the senses for the
subsequent viewing of the temples themselves. visitors can experience
firsthand the source of the amorphous symbolic-language of the ancient
maltese culture, while actively recognizing its inherent potential in
the newly interpreted modern structures.
point represents the continuation of a typical maltese landscape consisting
of stone walls and pathways, which extend onto the roof of the building.
centre illustrates the artificial reconstruction of the natural landscape.
the maneuverability and functional sensibility of the shelters correspond
to eyelids in every sense. they determine how the temples will look (and
see) depending on the sun, rain, wind, etc... at their extreme, they can
open or close themselves completely, and as an option - depending on the
terrain and depth of the gearing - can potentially rotate around the z-vertical
axis and lay down along the x-longitudinal axis.
all intermediate positions can be employed; from pergola-roof to the complete
closure of one side due to extreme winds from the northeast or northwest
while retaining the view and freedom of the sea, for example, or benefiting
from a view of the landscape due to strong southerly winds.
the height of the closed shelters acts as a reference of the temples as
they were in their original condition, with roofs open to the sky and
walls nearly 10 m tall. when the shelters are open (eyelids pulled up),
rotated around the x-longitudinal axis and placed on the ground, the shelter
structure transforms itself into small wall-form, suggesting the rock
walls that are typical for malta. the complete exposure of the temple
site to the sea can be maintained and spatially supported in this way.
for viewing purposes, the membranes of the shelter are transparent in
areas near the ground and translucent throughout the rest of the shelter
in order to provide protection from the sun. ventilation occurs through
a number of openings near the main arch of the shelter.
the continuation of the typical maltese landscape of walls and pathways
onto the roof is the impression one receives from the building upon approach.
the complex stimulus of the temples' inaccessible inner-layers can be
perceived from below, within, and above the building. the visitor will
benefit from the experience.
of the pathway occurs along an outer layer, which refers to the inner-substance
between the inner, amorphous temple rooms and the outer, enclosing walls.
translated, these inner-rooms will suggest the continuation of the path
of life. through the juxtaposition with the outer, robust layer made of
dyed concrete, the inner, finer layer will be exposed - highlighted by
the transparent glass coating. the distinction between the optically hart
(protection from the sun) and soft materials (layer with adjustable sun
protection) had its origins in the different types of limestone, which
were used for the temples. the gesture of the two ascending ramps welcomes
the guests from afar. one leads visitors over a set of stairs from the
upper parking area directly to the roof, where they can situate themselves.
visitors do not need to purchase a ticket in order to access the roof
of the building. by following the present pathway to the existing restaurant,
the other ramp leads visitors inside the orientation point. by way of
the second ramp, visitors who come directly to the roof can also easily
reach the inside of the building, where they can purchase tickets. the
parking area can also be used for other purposes. adjustments and changes
of the parking area are taking place during the current terrain gradation.
the building optimizes security by abutting the wall of the restaurant
and also by illuminating the parking area. even during the approach and
seen from below, the orientation point presents itself as an inherent
expression of fractal geometry respective of infinity, which is appropriate
to round forms. these activated inner-rooms bring light to the parking
area, and in the central area, they transform themselves loosely into
vertical, prismatic bodies of light with steel frameworks, which, together
with the outer main trusses, carry the weight to the ground. inside the
building, the inner-rooms are the structural elements from which visitors
are informed and admitted. here the visitors can purchase their tickets.
the primary structure of the interpretation area is marked by the inner-rooms,
which function as transparent showcases that organize the entire space
and through which one can not only learn, but also get a view of the entire
parking area. in this way, the abandoned parking area can be reintegrated.
on the roof, the visitor can partially sit on them in order to relax.
in this manner, the structure will be endowed with an active momentum,
which will no longer appear during the following visit of the temples,
but allows the visitors to glimpse through the walls.
two preparatory experiences are made possible in the visitor centre; the
concave-convex spatial experience, according to public and specific use
and through varying experiences of the horizon, help the visitor to understand
why the megalithic culture of malta thought amorphously and built: "anders
als festländische völker müssen die bodenständigen insulaner maltas die
alles umspannende gekrümmte horizontlinie als eine ewig währende, unveränderliche
begrenzung ihres gesichtskreises erfahren haben. der Horizontbogen, der
bei entsprechender wetterlage besonders von den steilküsten aus eine überwältigend
monumentale wirkung entalten kann,…"cit. 1 the attempt
is to draw a virtual line through the temple site and thereby release
the hidden and enclosed rooms of the originally hierarchically organized
temple. the visitor enters the inner temple rooms quasi from the reverse
side and experiences the amorphous, opened temple inner-rooms in relation
to the horizon. on the other hand, the liberation of these structures
in the visitor centre, as opposed to the former, hierarchically organized
temple complex, also represents a free and open society, which is welcomed
in this open way at this place.
the visitors are assisted from the inner-rooms at the orientation point,
at the visitor centre they move freely within them. in this way, the visitors
become comparably - filled with stones and sand - the negative space of
the temple complex. the movement of the public takes place in a room dominated
basically by convex elements, which in the Interpretation area eventually
open towards the temple mnajdra. the structure allows the harmony of the
pathway to glide between the excavation site as it exists, the landscape
and its programmatic uses. the visitor's viewing relationship to the landscape
is strongest when seen from a point where two tapered, convex borders
emerge. the focal point changes with every step. the landscape appears
further away. this effect of perspective was and still is used for stage-sets
in order to achieve the according depth or closeness. the removal optical
displacement of the landscape is in strong opposition to the spatial experience
felt while entering the programmatic main rooms, as, for example, the
restaurant, the exhibition rooms, the conference center. the horizon and
curvature of the sea appear to get sucked-in in rooms where the borders
are expanding outward. during warm temperatures this can be entirely redeemed
by opening up the façade elements. by doing so, covered outer-rooms are
created and the complete union of horizon experience and building can
skin of the visitor centre joins the light of the pergolas with the wonderful
view, which during harsh climate conditions call for thermal requirements,
and the prevention of extreme heat during warm periods. the thermal attempt
is of a thick, depending on the situation, translucent (vertical relationship)
or transparent (horizontal relationship) façade double-layer. the outer,
variable sun protection reflects the heat - through screens, lamellae,
photovoltaic cells - and allows light to enter the building. either the
natural convection currents are made possible through adjustable hatches
in the base and roof areas, or the heated air layer in the in-between
area of the façade double-layer can be continually blown out through rotating
fans, powered by energy created by solar panels on the building. the external
skin of the building changes gradually from translucent to transparent
and thus supports the optical softness of the shell, while adhering to
the natural landscape. the primary structure is triangular-shaped and
supports the secondary structure of the façade double-layer, which is
broken down into further triangular-shaped sections. these triangulations
are the frames for both façade layers. the typical maltese window shop
is translated into a triangular-shaped frame structure, which fits in
nicely with the building's shape. on suitable surfaces, the exterior façade
layer will be covered by photovoltaic elements, which cover the building's
1"In contrast to people on the mainland, malta's native insular
people must have experienced the all-encompassing, curved horizon line
as an everlasting, unchanging border of their horizons. the curved horizon
line, which under corresponding weather conditions and viewed from the
steep coast, can have an overwhelmingly monumental effect…" von freeden,
joachim (1993), malta und die baukunst seiner megalith-tempel.
darmstadt: wissenschaftliche buchgesellschaft. S. 59.
COMMENTS TO THE ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT (Monument Protection)
as a general guiding principle we think that much of the character and
atmosphere of the site is generated by its unique blend of nature and
culture. any conservation effort should thus not only take into account
the structural and material integrity of the monuments, but also respect
their natural surroundings. our philosophy aims for minimal interference
with the archaeological remains and the natural processes on site, and
the creation of synergetic solutions wherever possible.
size and concept of the shelters
for the sake of the principle of minimal intervention the smallest option
of the "eyelid-shelter-concept" for the megalithic temple remains at hagar
qim and mnajdra would be the favored one. the arguments for this view
are as follows below:
- the shelters minimize
the physical impact on the archaeological structures which must be preserved
as authentic as possible. reversibility and respect of integrity and
character of the monuments are probably best realized with the smallest
possible shelter version.
- the additional
runoff quantities from the sheltered areas can be comparatively easily
managed, e. g. merged with natural runoff down the cliff. the depth
of the groundwater surface and the capillary humidity in the ground
are not expected to change significantly in the sheltered area.
- the natural surroundings
with their characteristic morphology, vegetation and naturally grown
aspect can be preserved to the largest extent with minimal shelter size.
- one of the main
positive overall aspects of the "eyelid-shelter-concept" is the multiple
ways and possibilities to control the climate at the monuments within
the shelters. ventilation, relative humidity, to a certain extent temperature
and exposure to the natural elements (radiation, wind, and rain) can
be adjusted empirically. combined with a careful monitoring program,
ideal conditions can be proactively created, which actually do inhibit
decay without causing unintended negative consequences. the combination
of adjusting climatic conditions with the shelter and monitoring the
conditions at the site offers the opportunity to incrementally approach
a stable equilibrium for the monument, and to be able to react quickly
if dangerous phenomena are detected.
context it should be remembered, that for much of the year probably climatic
conditions prevail at the site, which need not be considered harmful to
the monuments. after all, they have survived about 5'000 years in full
exposure to malta's rough climate. the variability of the shelter allows
for the targeting of those (probably few) occasions, when protection is
considered necessary, while still allowing interaction with natural atmospheric
agents, which might be beneficial for the monuments (e.g. allowing accumulated
salt and dust to be washed off by direct rain, because these deposits
may be harmful if they attract humidity by their hygroscopic properties,
or inhibiting capillary rising of salts and an excessive growth of micro-organisms
due to "favored" shelter conditions etc.).
drainage situation on the site:
interventions to the draining system must be based on a profound knowledge
of the existing (natural and/or artificially modified?) draining system,
its current deficiencies and the consequences for damages and risks to
the structure. on this basis, objectives are clearly defined, synergetic
effects with the new shelters can be planned, and conflicts can be avoided
all considerations regarding water drainage systems should regard the
specific climatic situation in malta: during long, dry periods large quantities
of airborne and autochthonous material (sand, dust, salt, and plant debris)
will be preferentially deposited in gullies, sinks and all kinds of morphological
depressions. from there they will be mobilized and transported suspended
in the water as soon as it starts to rain, especially when rainfalls are
of the torrential type common for malta.
the silting of the main reservoir could for instance be avoided or at
least decreased by a flat, quasi-natural pond beforehand, were sediment
can settle, aquatic plants can grow in the mud and a small biotope can
develop. the clear, decanted overflow can then be guided (pumped) into
the service water reservoir at the visitor centre. another critical aspect
is the design of surface runoff facilities to protect the mnajdra temple
area, where frequent ponding has been identified as a hazard to the structure.
here our suggestion would also be to interfere with natural drainage as
little as possible, i. e. to let surface runoff waters approach the temple
along their natural pathways and design a capture/collection device only
in the immediate vicinity of the temple. the design of a runoff system
spanning the whole area of the temple is considered an unnecessary intervention
with the prevailing natural conditions.
from the conservatory point of view there are no objections in collecting
as much rainwater-runoff from the project area as possible and storing
it as service water. however, the natural pathways of the water should
be utilized as much as possible and unnecessary new collection structures
according to the photographic documentation, the geological environment
of the whole project area appears to be characterized by two varieties
(lower coralline limestone and globigerina limestone) of a horizontally
layered limestone, the first much denser and harder than the latter. while
the materials themselves probably have a low permeability, water can move
along a system of cracks and fissures, which seems well developed in the
project area. due to the morphological situation of the temples, being
situated close to the cliff dropping almost 100 m to the sea, the groundwater
surface is expected to lie well (probably tens of meters) below the temples.
an interaction between groundwater and the structures, even an influence
of the groundwater on ground humidity seems unlikely. ground humidity
and ponding will be controlled mainly by precipitation, seepage, capillary
storage and evaporation. thus a relevant impact of the shelters on the
groundwater regime is very hard to imagine. thus probably only local "water-pockets"
in the ground immediately below and/or near the temples might be influenced
by the shelters. however, the variability of the shelters again offers
a high degree of control to enhance favorable and avoid undesired consequences.
031 structural / mechanical concept of the temple shelters
the "eyelid" structure consists of following components:
- the main arch,
a trussed steel box, spanning along the x-axis
- the secondary arches,
smaller trussed steel boxes, there are 4 on each side of the main arch
- the translucent
skin between the arches, forming the eyelid
- the mechanical
equipment, which pushes, pulls, tilts and rotates the arches.
will be nearly as moveable and flexible as the original. when closing
the lid, the secondary arches tilt from their vertical stored position
below the main arch into an inclined one, pushed outwards by pneumatic
flexible membrane tubes, while the skin, also from translucent membrane,
unfolds and gets stretched between the two neighboring arches. so all
4 secondary arches can be rotated around the hinges at their footings,
until the first touches the ground and the lid is closed. any position
in between, with only 2 or 3 arches tilted or with only one half of the
lid opened, is thus possible.
running parallel to the pneumatic membrane tubes, will pull the arches
upwards again, when closing the lid, driven by small winches inside the
main arch, while the skin membrane as well as the deflated tubes are folded.
most of the time, the secondary arches are stored in a position just below
the main arch with the skin folded in between them. this compact package
can be removed away from the temples by tilting it around the horizontal
hinges at the main arch footings - hydraulically or mechanically with
a rack and pinion system - until it finally rests on the ground. an additional
alternative is, to rotate the main arch - and hence the whole roof - at
one footing around the vertical axis, while the other footing slides on
the circular track on ground.
used for this extraordinary structure are conventional:
- all arches including
their footings are constructed from normal high strength steel or aluminum
and get a long-during painting protection.
- the skin and the
tubes are made of translucent membrane, e.g. pvc-coated polyester with
a lifetime of about 15 years. The bottom part shall be transparent membrane,
- the mechanical
equipment - compressors, cable winches, low friction hinges, the driving
unit and turn-table at one footing and the polyamide wheel sets at the
other end are all standard elements used for crane construction.
- concrete foundations
under the main arch footings will transfer large tension and compression
forces into the ground. the rocky, hard soil at surface level is well
suited for high allowable pressures, whereas soil anchors will be drilled
into the rock for anchorage of the tension forces. for all excavation
and drilling in the rock modern vibration-free techniques, e.g. water
jet cutting will be applied in order to avoid any harm to the temples.
the unconventional combination of all these conventional components finally
results in this unique structure.
visitor centre malta double skin facade and roof system
adouble skin facade and roof system is used to guarantee a pleasant climate
inside the centre. this double skin protects the interior from heat in
summer and from cold in winter. outer and inner skin together with the
air between them form an insulating envelope. the plenum between the outer
and the inner skin is ventilated using natural convection and the natural
wind. auxiliary electric fans may be used in selected zones. renewable
energy is used for air-conditioning: fresh air is pre-conditioned in an
air-to-earth heat exchanger or, if soil conditions do not permit this,
using sea-water. parts of the outer skin are equipped with photovoltaic
panels to provide electric energy for the building, while shadowing the
interior at the same time. the outer skin, made from glass, membrane or
foil cushions, is transparent in the zones where an unobstructed view
to the exterior is desired. all other zones are equipped with translucent
material. thus thermal loads are reduced while maintaining an open and
spacious atmosphere inside. additional day lighting control is accomplished
by a louvered shading system.
structural concept of the visitors center roof
the free curved shape of the roof with spans up to 20 m calls for a shell
structure. enabling the structure to act as a shell through adequate curvature
results in a minimum of thickness and material (egg shell!). nevertheless
this shell can be assembled of slender steel or concrete posts, which
form triangles. these can be cladded with glass, translucent membranes
or concrete panels, where no light is required. a second roof layer may
be suspended from the triangulated grid shell.
GENERAL WATER MANAGEMENT
the renewable water resources on malta are estimated at ca. 100 m³ per
person per year. malta suffers under extreme water scarcity. the economical
usage of water resources, as well as the use of rainwater, service water,
and/or seawater is therefore a priority.
water requirements for restaurant services, toilets (water conservation
installations), washing, cleaning and drinking are estimated at an average
of 30 liters per visitor. as a result of an estimated peak of 400 visitors
per day, the daily amount of water needed is ca. 10 m³, the monthly amount
is ca. 250 m³, and the yearly amount is ca. 3,000 m³.
to properly cover the water requirements, rainwater, which falls onto
rooftops and other flat areas, is available for use. however, because
precipitation of ca. 600 mm per year is irregularly distributed throughout
the year and because the water supply is used continually, reservoirs
for collecting and storing water are planned. the preparation of seawater
for consumption and use is also an option.
- rooftop water usage:
the collection of an annual precipitation of 600 mm on a rooftop with
an area of ca. 15,000 m² results in an annual usable water volume of
ca. 5,000 m³. the estimated annual water requirements can therefore
be covered by rooftop water. this water can also be used for drinking
purposes once it has been filtered and purified. as a result of the
dry summer months from may to august there will be a total deficit of
ca. 1,000 m³. this amount can be prepared by means of reservoirs (2
tanks each 1.5 x 20 x 20 m).
- further rainwater
as a reserve: rainwater, which falls in the area between hagar qim and
mnajdra, will be collected by means of a planned walkway, thereby generating
a maximum annual amount of 25,000 m³ of usable water. in contrast to
rooftop water, this water must first be rid of particulate matter and
other impurities by means of a many-stepped purifying system, and therefore,
should only be used as a reserve for extinguishing fires or as service
water only during drought periods when precipitation is scare. the development
as an open reservoir of ca. 300 m³ volume allows the reference to the
ancient water holes.
- seawater preparation
as a future option: to cover a future increase in the water requirements,
there exists the possibility of preparing seawater for consumption and
use. after treatment and desalinization, for example by means of a membrane
filtration system, water for drinking and service purposes can be produced
on a continual basis.
to simplify the piping and canalization, a combined system for both drinking
water and service water is planned. for the collection of rooftop water,
a sealed tank with a capacity of ca. 1000 m³ is planned. the water will
then be treated by a system of sedimentation, filters, and chlorination
before it is used for drinking or service purposes. in case of an expansion
by means of treated seawater, both systems can be combined. rainwater,
which is collected at the walkway between hagar qim and mnajdra, will
be stored in an open, ca. 300 m³ reservoir and can be used as a reserve
for fire extinguishing purposes (50-100 m³) and/or as service water.
GENERAL SECURITY CONCEPTION
051 security measures during opening hours
the whole site area within the boundary barrier is open to the public
with a valid ticket. the main security measures are of an organizational
kind, e.g. visual or technical control at the entrance, surveillance on
the site by security personnel and by video surveillance systems at the
entrance, in the visitor's center and on both temple areas while the main
construction of the shelters are raised. one special case represents the
misqa tanks area.in order to protect the visitors from falling into the
tanks, a grid over the opening of the tanks needs to be installed. the
boundary barrier consists of a natural wall built with original stones
(height about 1.5 to max. 2 meters). the wall will be equipped by a microwave
or infrared-based detection system (e.g. microwave or infrared-based system
or hf sensor cable system) in combination with a lighting system along
the wall. as an option, a second detection system consisting of a combination
of infrared barrier and hf sensor cable (see figure 4) can be added. the
detection system at the boundary barrier is shut down during opening hours
in order to prevent false alarms engaged by careless visitors.
security measures during closing hours
the whole site area within the boundary barrier is closed to the public.
only persons with special clearance have limited access to the historic
sites. the temple areas (hagar qim  and mnajdra ) are physically
protected by the shelters, which are equipped with an intrusion detection
system at the exterior shell. inside the shelters a lighting and video
surveillance system will be activated if an intrusion at the boundary
barrier or shelter shell is detected. as an option, the detection system
of the shelter shell can be complemented by a movement detection system
inside the shelter hemisphere. the detection system at the boundary barrier
is activated. if an intrusion is detected, the lighting in the detected
sector will be switched on. all alarms will be forwarded to the control
room and, after a defined time, to the local police station to engage
the intervention forces. persons with special clearances will be equipped
by a badge system to access the temple site area through checkpoint no.
3 during closing hours.