Montană the most important mining site of Apuseni Mountains, a site of
Roşia Montană is probably the most controversial and, undoubtedly, one of the most
important places of cultural
significance in Romania.
The site shows a complex stratification of heritage
value, starting with ■ the ancient level, outstandingly
represented by the vestiges of the
Roman mining gallery system (stretching more than 7km) and by disparate
elements that testify to an intense
inhabiting in the area; ■ the medieval
level, attested by several other segments
of the mining gallery network which
cut into the underlayer of the site (stretching more than 80 km); ■ the modern level, represented by the
ancillary facilities meant to ensure the expansion and efficient running of
the mining operation: dams
(artificial lakes > tăuri),
vestiges of the water driving systems,
other sections of the gallery network
elements that add to the layout of the settlement and to a significant part
of the built environment; ■ the
contemporary level, made up by elements auxiliary to the extractive
activities: the industrial railway, the industrial buildings of Gura Minei
and Gura Roşiei points.
The site is today under high threat: the resuming of
open cast mining. The project - put forward by a private consortium - would
fulfil the destruction of outstanding heritage values, started in the 70s of the 20th
century with the set up of open cast mining in Mount Cetate. While the mining operation run by the Romanian State
in this mountain lead to the loss of crucial Roman vestiges the so-called
Roman Strongholds representing mining traces, the planned mining operation
would erase all surviving vestiges in this mountain and consume three more
mountain tops bearing strong evidence of the human nature interaction that
molded the unique cultural landscape of Roşia Montană.
Beyond this dispute, the settling of which will
either bring the revival or the serious amputation of the site, the problems
it displays are manifold, starting with the basic one - the dissolution of
rural communities all around the country to which adds the problem specific
to mining centers, bankrupt and short of perspectives with deep social and
economic consequences, or the problem of the impact on the environment that
both the long running traditional mining and especially the open cast
mining raised. To all these adds the
problem of underdeveloped infrastructure, inadequate for revitalizing the
site. The problem of access both physical and intellectual - is essential
for the good understanding of all aspects specific to the site and for the
set up of any revitalization programme.
Although the implied range of problems is complex,
the key issue, both for maintaining the character of the site and for its
regeneration is cultural heritage.
Threatened by the lack of involvement of the local community or of any other
social or professional group, threatened even more by the possible resuming
of open cast mining, the cultural heritage, melted into the natural heritage,
is the main resource for the regeneration of the site.
The cultural resource (which, in this case, includes
the natural one) is manifest on several levels: from the widest one, of the
physical landscape, to the one of the built heritage, comprising the
exceptional underground landscape, and to the punctual one, of the
architecture items: the numerous monuments which, all together and each one
apart, evoke the ineffable moment of the transformation of the settlement, at
the turn of the 19th century, with the influx of urban influences
from the mining towns of Apuseni Mountains, set against a strong rural
background, still apparent today.
For a mission of this kind - heritage-led regeneration - coordination and control of all
actions, achieved by creating organizational and technical infrastructure, is
necessary. In view of this purpose, the theme of this project calls for a
complex of functions: mining museum, information and documentation centre
(with library and archives); spaces for professional gatherings; workshops
for applied research in conservation techniques and technology;
administrative spaces; accommodation for the personnel involved in site
historical centre the main nucleus the Square. The most representative
segment and at the same time the most adequate for taking the public
functions implied by the project.
The intervention implies restoring the buildings from
the North-East front of the Square and grouping them in one functional unit,
by adding one new element a suspended walkway stretched along the back
faηades of the nine houses gathered in the ensemble. This new element comes
from rethinking the typical local access porch either open, or enclosed
with glazing. Thus, the new element, the suspended corridor, allows fluent
circulation towards all the spaces utilizing, with rare exceptions, the
existing openings in the walls and articulates to the construction elements
of the houses leaving minimal impact on the original matter. The principle of
reversibility is thus seen to.
Around the main access point of the ensemble the
gateway of house no.326 the clear space corresponding to the courtyard and
the former annexes is covered with a series of ruled surfaces suspended on a
framework, resulting in a foyer or gathering space for receptions,
conferences or temporary exhibitions. The new functions that do not fit into
the existing spaces are thus accommodated.
explores the potentialities of the site: for retrofitting of historical
structures, for reinventing local structural and spatial patterns. It relies,
nonetheless, on the public vocation of spaces around the Square, in order to
redirect the functional profile of the site, towards scientific and touristic
fruition of its unique resource: cultural heritage.