Addition of the Novacella Abbey Museum / MoDusArchitects

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Addition of the Novacella Abbey Museum / MoDusArchitects

© Simone Bossi

© Simone Bossi© Simone Bossi© Simone Bossi© Simone Bossi+ 47


  • Area Area of ​​this architectural project Area:
    610 m²

  • Year Year of completion of this architecture project

    Year:


    2021


  • Photographs Photographs: Simone bossi

  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Askeen, Zumtobel, Doormatic, Möbel Ladinia, Putzer, Rubner Turen, Sedis, Triassic OHG

  • Principal architects:

    Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

Text description provided by the architects. Founded in 1142 and nestled in the vineyard-lined basin of the Eisack Valley near Bressanone (Italy), the abbey not only represents one of the most important architectural ensembles in South Tyrol today, but also constitutes also a preeminent Augustinian abbey of its time. Like a small self-sufficient village, each building of the monastic complex played a specific role: the churches, chapels, mills, workshops, cellars and constituent farms formed an indelible core, only part of which has been transformed into a museum.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

The addition of MoDusArchitects injects new functions into the old buildings and rewires the relationships between the annex structures and the main buildings of the abbey. From the outside, the project is only visible through the blackened, copper-clad bridge that emerges from a cluster of reconstructed service buildings that connect to the main cloister on the upper level.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

Half-demolition, half-renovation, half-restoration, the project takes place in three adjacent secondary structures, with the backdrop of the 17th century wing of the main cloister. The first building is emptied to transform the agrarian store into the airy double-height space of the entrance atrium with an overhanging mezzanine. The second building, meanwhile, replaces the demolished single-storey building bathroom with a grand staircase and an elevator tower that connects the ancient wing of the cloister. The third and final structure is renovated to house a seminar and event space on the ground floor with a newly configured outdoor courtyard, and a temporary exhibition space and choir hall on the upper level.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi
Ground floor plan
Ground floor plan
© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

The new atrium features a window, display cases and bespoke light fixtures whose articulated details of copper, wood and glass create new conversations in the newly exposed eaves of the restored sloping wooden roof and raw plaster.

Visitors leave the entrance hall towards the exterior to begin their visit to the abbey cloister, the route winds through the monastery, passing the 18th century library and a room decorated with 17th century frescoes century newly restored and then conclude the circuit by returning to the addition on the upper level, at the top of the stairwell. Thus, the MoDusArchitects project is both the starting point and the end point of the museum sequence. Concluding the visit to the museum and crossing the ancient walls of the abbey into the space of the new bridge, a large window offers visual release: a foreshortened view of the roof of the renovated attic returns to the Chapel of Sant’Angelo for orientation , while offering a privileged view of the walled garden of the abbey and the vineyards beyond.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

Bush-hammered exposed concrete walls, trowel-finished concrete floors, and thick chestnut woodwork provide a tactile backdrop to bring the looping spatial sequence back to the cascading staircases that again lead to the atrium. The architectural elements are held together in an atmospheric balance of subtle tones and natural materials; a sense of serenity is provided by the measured use of a limited design palette where the new and the old are reconciled through discreet details, be it from the parapet of the staircase, the fenestration, to the finishing of the vertical and horizontal surfaces.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

The project is accompanied by artistic interventions by Paul Renner including romantic and playful interpretations of the hortus sanctis augustini create a whimsical sidekick in the sobriety of the interiors. Renner’s Picturesque excursus on the botanical heritage of the Abbey unfolds with the metal cladding of the elevator tower as visitors descend from the upper level of the cloister to the entrance hall.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi

The work of MoDusArchitects addresses the heterogeneity of the disparate architectural periods of Novacella Abbey with an incisive approach that blends historical and contemporary vocabularies into a balanced whole. The conception of the sequence of spaces and their haptic and tactile messages of emptiness, passing time, and the more ephemeral qualities that only the visitor can experience, carry all that the abbey offers into the future.

© Simone Bossi
© Simone Bossi





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