Dating from the early 1930s, Mies van der Rohe designed a number of unbuilt court house projects which he used as a vehicle for exploring previously undeveloped ideas about space and living. Taken as a point of departure, the proposal is a translation of the courtyard to the urban scale, reuniting archaeology, the landscape and the city in the 2600 year old walled city of Paestum.

Paestum lies on the Sele plain in southern Italy between the Alburni Mountains and the Tyrennhian Sea. A 5m high boundary wall, three Doric temples and a strip of excavated ruins are all that remain of the ancient settlement, the 120 Ha site now used predominantly for agricultural purposes.

Seen as a city of disconnected fragments, surrounded by a boundary wall, Paestum can be considered analogous to Mies’ court houses. The creation of a new wetland refers to a 1000…

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