The project for the Pythagoras Museum is the result of the international design competition held by the Crotone Council in 2003 with funding from the European Community in its role of encouraging the development of urban community projects.

The central theme of the competition was the creation of a science park on an area of 18 hectares dedicated to the great Greek mathematician Pythagoras who founded the Pythagoric School in the Kroton of the VI century B.C.

The project has a dual goal acting at both a global and a local level: on one hand promoting the city of Crotone on the international circuit of cultural tourism through enhancement of the city’s historical and scientific identity with Pythagoras, on the other hand activating an urban and social renewal process in the part of Crotone where it is located.

The architecture of the museum sought to create a new landscape morphologically rooted to the ground, through a partially hypo-epigean space that integrates the museum with the mountain through a continuum with the existing topography, thereby underlining the profile of the hill.

The relationship between architecture and landscape is emphasized in the interior spaces of the foyer and the cafeteria which frame the view outside, as if seen through a telescope.

The museum can be reached at the lower level through an ascending pathway originating from the town, or at the upper level through a path descending from the mount.

An inner spiral architectural promenade distributes the various functions of the museum (foyer, permanent and temporary exhibition halls, workshop spaces, offices, cafeteria), accompanying the visitors in a continuous and fluid way to the rooftop, conceived as a belvedere overlooking the park and the city, being a place of recreation and socialization where the line between exhibition, plaza and garden will be defined by the varying uses of the final users.

Located in the outskirts of Crotone, the museum is part of a wider project that aims to revitalize the areas around the historical centre with new public activities.

The landscape design consists of a tree-lined promenade running between the ancient Carlo V Castle and the Pignera Park, providing a link between the old town and the modern city.

The project is expected to develop into the green heart of the city with landscape features – like the green ring at the base of the hill and the pedestrian paths to the town which will provide better connections between the different parts of the city.

Together the Pythagoras Museum and Gardens are conceived to meet the growing need of cultural and scientific entertainment, offering an integrated program that seeks the fusion of science, art, nature, history, philosophy, math and music.

The gardens and the museum play two different and complementary roles: the gardens are a place where ideas are (re)presented but not deeply explained, while the museum is a place for in-depth study of the themes previously presented in the gardens.

The figure of Pythagoras constitutes the ideal trail connecting the cultural heritage of ancient Magna Grecia to the modern scientific thinking, from Fibonacci, Keplero, Wiles and Witten to present time. The Pythagoras Museum is not a conservative museum: the hands-on exhibitions are designed to be used by the visitor. A playful and interactive approach not only makes self-learning and independent thinking more effective, but also bestows a feeling of wonder to the learning process, bringing math alive through the centuries.

Municipality of Crotone
Manager Vittoria Cardamone

Project team:
Erika Skabar
Favero & Milan Ingegneria,
Claudia Lamonarca
Giuseppe Monizzi,
Giovanni Panizzon
SISSA Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati

OBR design team:
Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi,
Antonio Bergamasco, Giulia Carravieri,
Dahlia De Macina, Chiara Farinea, Manuel Lodi,
Paola Pilotto, Gabriele Pisani, Gabriele Pitacco,
Giulio Pons, Michele Renzini, Paolo Salami,
Onur Teke, Massimo Torre, Francesco Vinci

Mariela Apollonio

Parco Pignera, Crotone, Italy

site area 180,000 sqm
built surface 1,000 sqm

2011 end of construction
2006 detailed design
2005 concept design
2004 preliminary design
2003 design competition (first prize)

2013 Ad’A, Rome
2011 In/Arch Ance Award, Giovani Architetti, Rome
2010 European 40 Under 40 Award, Madrid
2009 Medaglia d’Oro all’Architettura Italiana,
2009 finalista, Triennale Milano
2008 Urbanpromo, INU, La Biennale di Venezia
2008 Plusform Award, Best realized architecture
2009 under 40, Rome
2007 AR Emerging Architecture Award,
2009 Honorable mention, London