Here's an interesting architectural intervention by Savioz Fabrizzi Architects; a structure intended to protect a rather important archaeological site.
The abbey of Saint Maurice was built almost 1500 years ago, against a cliff in a section of the road between Geneva and the Simplon Pass.
Likely chosen for its defensive position given by the cliff, the planned fortification in fact proved a failure due to rock fragments falling down onto the building.
Throughout history, rock slides have had an important influence on the site; causing several considerable instances of damage. In 1611, a huge rock fall caused a convulsion of the abbey, and in 1942, a rock destroyed the cross-spire and portal-nave of the building.
This kind of incursion has constantly been occurring, marking the site throughout its lifetime.
"Our project endeavors to demonstrate this particular treat of history." say Savioz Fabrizzi.
The architectural engineering of the roof contains of three king posts, which are anchored in the face of the cliff, and the architects chose to put a mass of stones on top of the structure which also enables the absorption of windblasts.
"By suspending 170 tons of stones, it expresses the everlasting hazard the site had been exposed to. The roof gives the interior a calm and almost contemplative ambience."
Built above the fundamental buildings in order to keep the dialogue between the facades and the cliff face, this new 'stone-roof' serves as a beautiful filter for light and produces an even spread of regular illumination.
Photography Thomas Jantscher