SOMOS.arquitectos proposal for the new Neanderthal Museum in Piloña. Asturias.

The new Neanderthal Center powerfully is born willing to contribute to the scientific development of the Principality of Asturias and to redraw the map of human evolution. The competition thus proposes an ambitious project within an extraordinary location, well connected but at the same time, fully embedded in the surroundings. When fitting the building, the setbacks are especially binding, even more given the character of two of the adjoining boundaries, the pathway N.634 and the railway tracks. Built and non-built areas must help overcome these difficult relationships while enhancing the Neanderthal Center. Furthermore, the whole concept should be closely linked to the possible outdoors activities designed to break up the univocal and closed character to be found in most of the museums, proposing alternative activities for the whole family. With very few but very powerful decisions, the Museum is organized according to the given exhibition program. From this point on, the unbuilt areas unfold in an organic way, as a continuum of the museum. 

The site counts with a great deal of trees that help to control the visual impact of the Museum in its surroundings, the impact of the road N -634 and the interference with each activity (insulation , shade ... ). The geometry of the perimeter areas directly surrounding the building is related to each one of the volumes containing the exhibition spaces. In this way, at the foot of each one of them, open areas spread in order to allow visitors to appreciate the effect of reflections of its walls. These surfaces organize the whole site establishing large game boards that can be of two types: they might contain activities related to demonstrations of techniques employed by Neanderthals or they might exhibit low altitude plant species typical of the historical period. 

The rest of the outdoor space is arranged though several distinct areas, where educational activities take place aimed at two different audiences: adults and children. Archery, tracking, monitoring and tracks games, technical demonstrations (differentiated by age) like carving on stone or bone weapons, ornaments, tools, painting, fire, anything allowing visitors to understand the true way of life of the Neanderthal, his difficulties and vicissitudes. Along the competition regulations, different alternatives are offered for the main access to the Center's facilities. It is important to avoid the curve of the road towards Santander, but in our view, the junction with the AS -358 offers a very favorable access point for several reasons. First, it is a crossroad quite consolidated and as such in the collective memory of all drivers. We only need to provide it with a new entrance ramp that allows for a safe crossing in both directions. Second, is the road that leads to the original cave of Sidrón, so although this cannot be visited, it seems logical that both share the same access point. Third, you arrive to the museum from a much friendlier and calmer area, avoiding the busy N -634, through a wooded rural setting that allows us to rediscover the museum cut against the trees.