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Transformation of a pre-medieval abbey, Novalesa 2009

The Archaeological Museum of Novalesa, a result of a restricted competition launched by the Province of Turin, was inaugurated in March 2009. The Abbey dates from the 8th century, resting on an earlier Roman settlement. Cited by Umberto Eco in The Name of the Rose for its important library, Charlemagne repeatedly resided there during his travels.
How to introduce a museum within its articulated spaces? How can the fourteen-century-old documents be divulgated for the eyes of a broad public, without interfering with the life and work of the monks?

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The layout reorganizes, through recognizable and contemporary actions, some of the most significant spaces of the abbey (such as the Romanic refectory) and includes new spaces, like the porch of the main courtyard, which is closed in glass, becoming a new entrance and exhibition space.
The exhibition path winds through heterogeneous rooms, previously separated. It also meets other activities, such as the reception of pilgrims, the work of the Benedictine monks and the access to the important library. The project is therefore focused on defining a clear and unified path, which flows continuously in the abbey without interfering with the quietness requested for the surrounding spaces. The clarity of the path is intended not to subtract the legibility for the original environment. Instead, it tries not only to guide the visit of the findings, but also the discovery of the history and architecture of the abbey.

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Sezione composta Novalesa

Design: MARC
Designers: Michele Bonino, Subhash Mukerjee
Collaborators: Rebecca Gasco, Cristina Marietta, Chiara Morandini
Graphic design: Ad-Line Studio
Contractors: Ienter srl, Silvio Grosso
Client: Provincia di Torino
Surface: 800 sqm
Photos: Beppe Giardino