The Museum Hotel Antakya / Emre Arolat Architects
Text description provided by the architects. Situated nearby the Saint Peter’s Church on Mount Starius in Antakya, that is claimed to have housed the first Christian congregation, the 199-room hotel is erected on a site of archaeological findings dating back to antiquity. The Museum Hotel Antakya pays homage to the amazing mosaics, baths, piazzas discovered during the first drills of the site and draws on the tensioned relationship of Archaeology and Architecture by intertwining the ancient and the modern.
An understanding of the unique context was a vital part of this project; becoming familiar with archaeological preservation, re-interpreting the architectural program of the -hotel typology- and making use of the modular building expertise made it possible to design a building that would fit within this place and to receive the approval of the Heritage Committee.
The structure and above all, the points of the structure were adapted according to the specific nods on the site where archaeological layers were washed off by a former riverbed. There are 66 composite columns, 120 cm in diameter, all interconnected into a steel grid to lift the rooms and common areas of the hotel off the ground.
The building can be considered at four different layers; the first being an open-air museum parqour at a level closest to the findings, the second the common public areas of the hotel; the lobby and the restaurant hovering over a scenery of the archaeological findings.
The third level is a cluster of prefab modules of hotel rooms and an open-air circulation which keeps the eye of the beholder on the exquisite landscape of mosaics all the time. Lastly, the canopy, which while protecting everything underneath, forms the ground for the Ballroom, Spa, Meeting Rooms and a Specialty Restaurant planned as pavilions and accompanied by tree filled courtyards as open communal areas with strong ties to the local context.
Taking inspiration from Antakya’s local history the project sought to meet two main objectives; one was to represent the amazing layers of civilizations in a way unprecedented; composed with the function of a hotel and the second was to make use of modern technologies along with more traditional materials in the interiors.
The building has a highly efficient passive ventilation system which eliminated the need for mechanical air conditioning in the circulation. Thanks to the omittance of the outer facade, air circulates freely between the footpaths and the rooms. The glass protective wall at the ground level was designed to harness the local prevailing winds and dust, keeping the archaeological findings safe.