Museum of Maya Archaeology in Copan, Honduras

This studio will be concerned with the design of a new facility for the Museum of Copan Archaeology, located in the archaeological park of Copan, Honduras. This is a comprehensive museum facility devoted to exhibiting the history and artifacts of the cultures that evolved in the valley of Copan from 1200 BC to the times of the Spanish colonization. The galleries will be organized thematically, with additional temporary galleries to house traveling or special exhibits. Conservation laboratories, research facilities and storage complete the program. Throughout the semester we will explore different alternative designs for the site and program provided by the team at the Harvard Peabody Museum and the IHAH (Instituto Hondureqo de Arqueologia e Historia), which have been involved in direct work at the site for decades. Special attention will be given to interpreting the specific requirements of an archaeological museum and its exhibition needs, and to the very distinct local conditions of extreme tropical climate and available construction technology. We have been invited to work in this studio with the aim of helping the Peabody Museum and their counterparts in Honduras to realize their goal of building this Museum and we have accepted their request and challenge. While the first obligation of the Studio is pedagogic, the work produced in the studio will also serve our colleagues at Harvard and our friends in Honduras at the end of the semester with a useful demonstration in the form of twelve complete conceptual projects that explore and exhibit the possibilities of the chosen site, the accuracy of their program and diverse and possible architectural expressions that the museum may take. Successful completion of this course will depend on the student\’s performance, attendance and on the submission of the required project s documentation at the end of the semester. As of today, no funding exists for compiling and editing the work of the studio in a publication, although efforts are underway to obtain them. Given the limited time of a semester and the scope of the problem, I have chosen to focus and emphasize its architectural aspects, such as site selection; environmental and technological factors; programmatic analysis and interpretations, and to have as a final requirement a complete architectural conceptual design. Consequently this studio is exclusively reserved for qualified students in the two architecture programs or those holding a degree in architecture but pursuing another degree at the school at the moment. Students are required to travel to the site, departing Cambridge on February 9th and returning on February 14th. Travel expenses (round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations) in the Copan Ruinas will be covered by funding provided by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.