P i s c i n a   M i r a b i l i s

Benvenuto a Piscina Mirabilis Contemporary Art Museum! Formerly known as one of the oldest Roman Cisterns in the world, this extraordinary ruin is treated with care and rewarded with a new purpose: a contemporary art museum full of wonders.
The museum aims to create a dynamic and vibrant atmosphere that engages with each individual by being modern, up to date, ahead to date and presenting pieces that invite people to interact as well as observe. This place will educate, inspire, criticize, illuminate and cause enjoyment to its public.
Besides the constantly changing art exhibitions, the structure itself is to be seen as a piece of art. Honoring its heritage the new design will complement existing architectural qualities, take the grid as guidance, use the roof openings as special characters and re-add the element of water in its composition. Together this wonderful architecture and its flexible program will lure people in and make them want to come back for more.

This was my proposal for the Re-use Italy - Safe The Roman Ruin competition 2020, in which participants were asked to reuse the space of Piscina Mirabilis as a Contemporary Art Museum.

concept routing


concept zoning


concept program


concept focus


concept structure


concept openings


concept history


To achieve such an unique character the building is divided into two parts: a static base and a dynamic exhibition space. Permanent functions and installations are located at the top ends of the structure, thereby making place for an uninterrupted exhibition hall in the middle of the building. The goal is to create an exhibition space without limitations. Apart from the existing columns this hall is open and flexible in its use. Embracing the height and depths of the space to its fullest and acting as a stage in which anything is possible.
The main element in the design is the adjustable exhibition system hanging from the ceiling. This system allows for maximum flexibility, endless ways to direct, organize and compose new exhibitions with different art pieces. Within this vibrant program, a few spaces of tranquility are created for the individuals to come and reflect on what they have seen so far.


Location - Via Piscina Mirabile 27, Bacoli. Napels, Italy

Moments are created for the visitor to rest before continuing on their exciting journey. These spaces are outdoor patios separated from the exhibition hall by glass window frames, where the roof openings stay open and welcome nature into these areas. Direct sunlight, plants and greenery are entering the structure bringing natural life inside the underground world. The conference hall and restaurant are also separated from the exhibition space by the use of window frames between the arches. Placing these functions in the static base, but still causing for interacting to happen by providing opportunities for people to view the exhibition hall from a different perspective.
All architectural implementations reinforce the character of the existing structure and add quality to it. By using contrasts as a tool an exciting interplay between old and new, solid and transparent, rough and smooth is formed. The tool of contrasting reflects in the viewers focus point as well. Whilst being inside the museum the attention is directed towards the structure and its new program. Referring to its placement underground the interior of the building is mystical, closed and finished with black walls: acting as a neutral stage for any type of art, performance or other cultural activities to take place. Whereas on top of the museum a new rooftop design steers your attention outwards, towards the surroundings. Architectural elements will draw your focus to the wonderful sights all around overlooking the lake, sea and harbor. Making the museum a unique experience to visit, inside and out.

section AA

Section AA

plan level -1 plus

Plan level -1 plus

plan level -1

Plan level -1

section BB

Section BB

1. Entrance / exit
2. Emergency exit
3. Reception (107m2)
4. Lockers
5. Exhibition area (602m2)
6. Patios (33m2, 16m2)
7. 'Secret' exhibition area (38m2)
8. Administration office (38m2)

9. Bookshop (75m2)
10. Storage space (104m2, 36m2, 10m2)
11. Toilets (31m2, 29m2, 7m2, 2,5m2)
12. Conference hall (140m2)
13. Bar / cafe (123m2)
14. Kitchen (12m2) (38m2)

On show
a. Tomas Saraceno - Event Horizon
b. Bruce Nauman
- Five Marching Men
c. Sasselbergs
- Tribute Piscina Mirabilis
d. Joseph Klibanksy
- Baby we made it
e. Martin Creed - SAY CHEESE
f. David Hockney - Arrival of Spring

g. Damien Hirst - 'Veil of ...' series
h. Yayoi Kusama - Yellow Pumpkin
i. Studio Nendo - Mimicry Chairs Installation
j. Barnett Newman - Cathedra
k. Daniel Firman
- from the Elephant series
l. Robin Wight - Fantasy Wire (rooftop)

section CC

Section CC

section DD

Section DD

section EE

Section EE





exhibition area

Exhibition area

exhibition area

Exhibition area



conference hall

Conference hall


Exploded view

Programs used for this project are: Sketch-up, Enscape, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.