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Roman Theatre of Pula

Built in the 1st century AD, the Roman Theatre is located on the slope of a hill.  At the time of its construction, the theatre had 4000-5000 seats, enough for the entire population of the city. Interestingly, the construction was based on Greek theatres and not Roman ones. Today, the theatre seats 1,500 and has a total of six entrances and exits. 

The new lighting project is part of the 'Conservation and Reconstruction of the Roman Theatre' project, which partially restored the grandstand of the ancient theatre and preserved the stage and part of the semi-circular auditorium to protect and revitalise an exceptional site of Croatian cultural heritage. The theatre now has a dual function: an archaeological site and a stage for cultural events. 

Work on integrating these two aspects began in 2013, and the technological developments of recent years have helped to improve the initial design. 
The lighting design also shares the main objectives of preserving the area and adapting it to contemporary use. For this reason, the lighting design team was supported by a group of conservators, archaeologists, art historians, architects and electrical engineers. 

The user-friendly, intuitive and efficient control system allowed for the programming of different scenes including the daily lighting for enhancing the venue and the remains; (no rbg); the event scene has the red rgb turned on and the lighting for safety purposes; 
a subtle lighting effect at night with the blue light turned on; general lighting, emitted by the pole Venaria is for entrance and exits of events visitors.
The Venaria pole-mounted luminaire is used for soft general lighting and does not pose any photobiological risks, as it is part of the 'Exempt Group' as it does not pose any infrared, blue light and UV risks.

Two different colour temperatures contribute to visual dynamics, so 3000K is used in the seating area and 4000K on the remains. It was also decided to use coloured light (RBG) on the ancient bricks, to create special lighting atmospheres according to the performance. 
For the whole area, iPro and Palco floodlights with honeycomb were used, equipped with accessories to direct the light beams precisely onto the archaeological remains visible from the seating area. Directional flaps also shield the light flow and reduce glare. The Light Up Orbit recessed luminaires were used as markers along the reconstructed seating in the cavea. 

To minimise the visual impact of the electrical system, the electrical parts and drivers of the control system were mounted remotely in an electrical cabinet. The cables were integrated into the metal structure and partly into the seating. The control system is integrated via I/O modules and implemented to include other systems because every event crew can use a different control system for stage lighting, sound, projection etc. In this way, the control system  is "open" to being integrated for synchronizing architectural lighting to other show elements, when necessary and vice versa.
In this way, it was possible to preserve the remains as much as possible and at the same time meet all the security requirements and needs of a venue that hosts performances.

The project is on the short list for the Darc Award 2022.

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  • Year
  • Client
    Archaeological Museum of Istria
  • Architectural project:
    Emil Jurcan (author) with Helena Sterpin and Aleksandar Čelović
  • Lighting project:
    Dean Skira (author) with Goran Herak, Tomislav Godena and Božidar Pustijanac
  • General contractor:
  • Project Leader:
    Darko Komšo
  • Construction:
    Marko Martinčić jr. (author)
  • Conservation and Restoration:
    Đeni Gobić Bravar (author)
  • Conservation Supervision:
    Nataša Nefat
  • Construction Supervision:
    Dino Ružić
  • Lighting Supervision:
    Letizia Rojnić Poldrugovac
  • Archaeological Research:
    Silvana Petešić
  • Photographer
    Jana Jocif