The city of Matera in the south of Italy is located in the unique region of Basilicata and is world-famous for its “Sassi” — ancient housing settlements dug into the rock. Also, the area has always historically been emblematic of calcarenite quarries, the material that characterizes the Sassi di Matera. The issue of rehabilitating the territory’s quarries is the subject of international studies and design ideas. Just 2 km as the crow flies from the city of Matera is a quarry that is no longer operational, which is now to be given a new purpose and opened to the public. Coop Himmelb(l)au is developing new mixed-use building structures based on the long history of Matera.
The Quarry project “Oasis Science Center” on the eastern outskirts of Matera has the role of a pilot project
This will be an important modern icon for sustainable design in this region. The project will be an innovation center for research on nature and sustainability in the upper part of the Murgia National Park (Parco della Murgia Materana). The new Research and Science Center is thus an important gateway to the region, that opens up to the outside world. It is a model for future scientific development and will shape a new way of dealing with the environment.
The development of this project will be a leading example for the ongoing research of green energy, in the form of self-supporting architecture
A combination of new technologies with traditional and local systems will be integrated into the project. Priority themes of the project are nature conservation, energy self-sufficient operation and sustainable tourism. The aim of this project is not to develop a landmark in the traditional sense, but the natural and sustainable integration of the project into the existing structures.
The design for the “Oasis Science Center” is the link between the Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana and the city of Matera. It includes 3 functionally different building structures which are embedded in the flowing landscape.
The largest building structure, the Quarry Terraces, is the research and residential cluster. It includes laboratories, co-working spaces and dormitories nestled in the green terraces of the quarry. The second building structure,
the Plateau, includes a conference and wellness center, as well as a sundial garden. The third type of building is a Rock Restaurant at the entrance to the quarry, that provides a dining experience for residents and guests. In addition, architectural structures such as an amphitheater or a solar farm are also embedded in the quarry.