EAA – Emre Arolat Architecture, Construction site of a Antakya Museum Hotel. Location: Antakya, close to St. Pierre Church. Installation view at Palazzo Bembo, 2016.

Photo: Peter Molick

Time Space Existence - Biennale Architettura 2016

Time Space Existence - Biennale Architettura 2016

EAA – Emre Arolat Architecture, located in Istanbul and London, considers it essential that at the beginning of each project there are deliberations at length on notions of region, area, local patterns and cultural and physical resources. A multilayered effort at reading, researching and understanding is undertaken to reveal the collective and psychological features of the project and archstrataantioch exhibition showcases the Antakya Museum Hotel project which is a unique example of this approach.
The exhibit presents the Antakya Museum Hotel project located in the center of Antakya, Turkey, close to St. Pierre Church which is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Christianity. In Antakya, in a geography where every dig reveals findings of archeological relevance; contradictory to the common practice of concealing the findings and pursuing on with the construction, the client chose to unveil the potential of the site while bringing EAA into the project with the expectation of EAA – Emre Arolat Architecture to take the initiative of envisioning a building where a museum and a hotel could coexist together.
Building a public museum and a hotel on the same site was a real challenge. Perhaps it would be wise to abstain from such an offer, however we accepted it because of the attractive potentials of this programmatic dichotomy. The hotel typology, in general, proposes a base where the public spaces are planned on the ground floor and rooms are stacked on the upper floors suggesting a monolithic and introverted building. And it proposes a life that is inevitably artificial and fictional. While promising ease and comfort, but never delivering them adequately enough compared to ‘home’, hotels substitute this shortfall by providing an image of ‘comfort’ and an ‘extraordinary experience’. On the other hand it was crucial for the museum to refrain from exhibiting archeological findings as cheap objects, protecting them from becoming an accessory of a touristic extravaganza and finally it was necessary to provide a certain amount of permeability for the public use.
From this point, it was then possible to define the problem as follows: The tension between these two main – hard to be together- components of design programmes had to be examined throughly and the results had to be confronted with grit. Exactly in this context, we can talk of the tension that distinguishes the hotel from a typical hotel and in return causes the museum to differentiate from the familiar notions of a museum, as the principal element of the project.
The results of this tension had impacts on the architectural expression as well as the construction process. First of all the mass of the hotel needed to be fragmented and the functional diagrams had to be turned upside down to be reconstructed. The most significant result that made the circulation system and functioning of the hotel complicated was relocating the ground floor public spaces up to the roof. Hence, the ground floor freed from public facilities provided a continous relationship between the hotel and museum’s masses, and the roof was transformed to house the hotel’s public functions in addition to its role as a canopy for the archeological site. In this scheme, the stacks of rooms are fragmented forming a porous texture where each module expresses itself. The corridors, aimed to be kept as short as possible in conventional hotels, are practically turned into paths for short trips. The lobby and the lounge as ground floor functions are seperated and treated as floating boxes in the building’s volume.
Beneath all these layers is the museum, on the level closest to the ruins.The museum consists of an info building and a path system enabling visitors to experience the archeological site.
All the interpretations of the programme is composed of horizontal layers developed above the site relatively consisting of self reliant floors.
The inevitable result of the fragmentation of the hotel mass prevents the building to have an envelope. In this respect, the conceptual framework of the hotel is completely contrary to the theme hotels trending everywhere nowadays. We come across with “envelope”s cladded on top of classical hotel buildings assuming to be on par with the mass tourism consumer demands. It has to be emphasized that Antakya Museum Hotel does not have an evelope as such. On the contrary, it may be regarded as a giant carcass enabling its sub divisions to form various configurations with all its joints being exposed.
In the light of all above, this project can be understood in its unique manner where intricate circumstances regarding the site along with design normatives are confronted and dealt with an unprecedented way, once more displaying how architecture can cause a paradigm shift in interpreting private and public.


  • Title: EAA – Emre Arolat Architecture, Construction site of a Antakya Museum Hotel. Location: Antakya, close to St. Pierre Church. Installation view at Palazzo Bembo, 2016.
  • Creator: Photo: Peter Molick

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