Client Museum at Delphi

Many of the projects in this 'Display' section of Case Studies, are concerned with the display of a multitude of different objects; from food in a supermarket to the natural world; whereas in the case of the fifth century bronze Charioteer Statue at the Delphi Museum, the object of the exercise is to focus on to a single most important Greek statue.

The statue, which dates from 478 B.C. is of the Attic period, and is clearly the work of a major artist. The work has been housed in its own room in the museum, and the purpose of the daylighting design was to ensure that it should be seen as far as possible in the ever changing light of day, as the original artist would have seen it while carving the stone.

The original 'statue room' was lit on both side by clerestories, one of which was obstructed by an adjacent cliff face, limiting the daylight. The room was painted a light green which had the effect of reducing the impact of the natural verdigris on the bronze.

The impact of this was that the back of the statue was poorly lit, and that the strong vertical folds were poorly revealed.

Seventeen different roof configurations were investigated and tested under an artificial sky in order to find the optimum solution, whilst complementary heliodon studies indicated the need for shading devices to eliminate unwanted solar gains.

The initial concept for the room consisted of a circular rooflight located directly above the statue, but it was felt that this solution would not reveal the strong vertical character of the statue and the folds of the bronze (the David Statue in the Belle Arte Museum in Florence is lit in this manner. Lighting Historic Buildings, Architectural Press, p. 8.)

A number of the selected roof configurations were tested in a 1:18 scale model (the scale determined by available Charioteer souvenirs!) to determine the most appropriate means of daylight entry. The chosen roof configuration incorporates a pyramidal roof structure with light shafts at 60 degrees, broad openings at roof level, and a 2 m by 2 m solid wedge directly above the statue itself. The daylight is diffused at roof level by transparent 'Okalux' which both diffuses the natural light and provides good insulation. Fans are mounted in the light shafts to extract unwanted solar gains.

A further development, which has proved very successful is the introduction of vertical screens in front of windows on three sides of the room. These screens which conceal the main window light, allow some indirect daylight to add variety to the faces of the interior walls, and provide asubdued framing to the statue on entering.

During the day the room is well daylit without any artificial light, with added artificial light at dusk. The aim is always to provide as natural appearance as possible.

Cross section showing the chosen roof design

The Charioteer Statue, Archaeological Museum of Delphi 171

Photographs of the selected model a and b

Photographs of the selected model a and b

Photographs of model c and d

The Charioteer as displayed in the Museum General view of the room

Details of folds emphasized by the daylighting

The Charioteer as displayed in the Museum General view of the room

Details of folds emphasized by the daylighting a c

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