Creative Coverage: New Roof Preserves Archaeological Ruins

Built almost 1500 years ago, the stunning abbey of Saint Maurice in Switzerland seemed like the perfect place for a safe retreat, given its position beside a cliff. But then, the rocks began falling. One by one, from small rocks to boulders, they tumbled down the cliff and onto the abbey, causing devastating damage to the spire and the nave. To protect this crumbling archaeological site, Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes has topped the whole thing with a rock-proof roof.

Three posts anchored to the cliff suspend a roof above the remains of the abbey, in the area that has previously suffered the most damage. The architects scattered stones across this suspended roof that enable it to withstand strong blasts of wind.

“Our project endeavors to demonstrate this particular treat of history,” the architects say. “By suspending 170 tons of stones, it expresses the ever lasting hazard the site had been exposited to. The roof gives the interior a calm and almost contemplative ambiance.”

“It is built above the fundamental buildings in order to keep the dialogue between the facades and the cliff face.  The ‘stone-roof’ serves as a filter for light and produces an evenly spread and regular illumination.”