Nicosia is a unique city, located in the heart of the island of Cyprus, and the uniqueness of the city derives from its dual nature. The Turkish and Greek districts are divided by a neutral zone, but North Nicosia is not a homogenous body in itself. The expansion of the urban texture occurs horizontally, rather than in a stratified, superposed manner. Thus, the design team’s challenge was to create a unifying museum that connects the existing pattern of the city with new development areas in a continuous experience. The architectural language blends itself into the physical environment through visual continuity and the extension of existing urban paths, and manifests that it is possible to introduce new spatial experiences, while preserving and sustaining everyday habits.
Grown out of the traces of existing urban texture, the complex is dedicated to the memory of Rauf Denktaş, the founding President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The project consists of two simple landscape gestures, intended to symbolize certain concepts and moments out of the collective memory of Northern Cypriots: A rift in the earth to evoke the traumatic events in the island’s history; the battles and losses. Conversely, the ground pattern that folds itself into a new, erected topographical formation, represents hopes and dreams.
Three circulation paths are proposed for visitors. The main axis, connecting the exhibition halls, workshop and museum, is designed for memorial ceremonies, and the two alternative routes contain an open-air exhibition, a cafe and possible excursions to be discovered by visitors, enabling different testimonies of an asymmetrical, non-linear space. Rather than becoming a static monument, or an architectural object, the folded landscape, which covers functional spaces and paths, aims to interact with the rest of the city.