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Publicly Accessible Buildings

Reconstructed villa brings roman history to life

“A breath-taking restoration of a historic Italian villa augmented by an immersive museum,” Deborah Brown, Judge

Project: The Roman Villa Experience

Award: Publicly Accessible Buildings, Silver, 2023

Location: Corsham, United Kingdom

Architect: Stonewood Design

Client: The Newt in Somerset

The designers have taken an area of original archaeology from a Roman Villa complex discovered in the 19th century and incorporated it into a state of the art museum.

Hadspen Roman villa was discovered in 1832 and partially excavated between 1966 and 1971. Excavation revealed the presence of a long range of rooms, some of which contained fine mosaic floors. To bring these findings to life, the villa and outbuildings that would have stood on the site during the Roman occupation have been reconstructed as accurately as possible.

The visitor journey starts with the museum which displays the original Roman villa ruins and artefacts both from this site and from the region. Ruins are also expressed above ground in a contemporary manner by playful external timber seats. The reconstructed Roman villa is viewed from the museum and forms part of the exhibition experience.

Design highlights

Working with historians, archaeologists and local crafts people the architects explored and researched many Roman building techniques in the reconstruction of the Roman villa. On entering the reconstructed villa, the visitor is completely immersed in Roman times - with a working hypocaust, hot baths, frescoes and oil lamps.

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Photo credit: Craig Auckland at FotoHaus and This Wolzak

PROJECT CREDITS
  • LEAD ARCHITECT: Nicola du Pisanie
    MAIN CONTRACTOR: Stonewood Builders
    STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Hydrock Consulting Engineers
    ENVIRONMENTAL / M&E ENGINEER: E3 Consulting Engineers
    QUANTITY SURVEYOR / COST CONSULTANT: Synergy
    ARCHAEOLOGY + HISTORIC CONSULTANTS: SouthWest Heritage Trust

  • PLANNING CONSULTANTAZ Urban Studios
    GLAZING ENGINEER: GL&SS
    EXHIBITION DESIGNER: Kossman de Jong
    LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: LT Studio + Urquhart&Hunt


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