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Visitor’s center Castellum Vechten

Fort Vechten, Utrecht, NL

Competition, 2nd prize ‘05

architect artist design team Lada Hršak, Daniëlle Huls, Susann Rittermann

publication and exhibition De Romeinse Lijn Province Utrecht/Aorta june ‘05

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A nursery for lemon trees will be located on the site of the Roman Castellum from where trees for the whole Limes region can be grown and distributed. The archaeological ruins will remain unexcavated and protected by the planting above. A new double wall, offset from the line of the ancient ramparts, encloses and defines the area of the nursery. The walls form open spaces, squares and walkways with views of the surroundings. The scale of the new Castellum is overwhelming but the spaces and squares subdivide it and introduce a sense of security between the nursery area and the wider landscape.

Materialisation is done with rough, recycled wooden planks branded with the Limes logo. The space between the two walls conceal much of the brief’s accommodation; an archaeological centre, restaurant, guesthouse, caretaker’s house and shop with the Limes logo products. Everyone meets in the garden; schoolchildren learning about the Limes work here, the desk bound archaeologist stretches his legs among the fragrant lemon trees, reflective students stick labels on jam jars and dust the archaeological display cases. After a break of 1700 years, new products will once more emanate from the Castellum.

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