Proposed Museum LayoutProject Goals
As seen in the visitors circuit map, the Segovia Mint Museum would be comprised of several different buildings which surround a large split-level patio. Each building would have its own specialized focus, carefully planned by taking into consideration its historic function, special needs for certain activities, and the most logical route for a meaningful visit.
This entire building (parts a & b) would receive a temporary interior configuration, specially designed for a large exposition on the Past, Present, and Future of Coinage in Europe, which would be on display during the entire year 2002, in coordination with the launching of the EURO and the transition period from the old currencies to the new one. Early in 2003, the interior of this building would be redesigned to reflect the permanent activities of the Mint Museum, as follows:
(a) The high, brick-domed ceilings in the room where the old foundry ovens were located would make this area particularly attractive for a conference hall, especially since the reconstructed smelting ovens for the Museum workshops must be located, for practical reasons, in building number 3 on the lower patio level.
(b) This area historically contained the treasury, storage rooms, offices and living quarters for the mint employees. Plans call for a specialized library, research center, exposition hall, and multi-use rooms to be located here.
This building was the old paper and flour mill that King Philip II bought in 1583 as the location for his new Mint. Since a specially designed structure was built to house the coining equipment, Philip II decided to lease this building out to private individuals who continued milling paper and flour there during the first decade of the new Mints operations.
Proposed plans call for this building to be converted into a coffee-shop with an outdoor terrace, which would be leased to a private concern for its operation. The coffee-shop would have views of the river from its windows, and the tables on the terrace would provide a captivating view of the Mints huge waterwheels as they slowly turn in the shadow of the Citys castle which looms overhead. The decor of the restaurant and the terrace would have as its theme Historic Waterwheel Technology, and be in and of itself a "free" technological exposition. This "restaurant" concession is designed to inspire frequent visits to the Mint by the inhabitants of Segovia and thus enable the entire patio area of the mint complex to remain open year round, free of charge. (The only admission to be charged would be to visit the coining workshops).
This structure, designed and built by Spains most famous architect, Juan de Herrera, is where the coining equipment was located in the past. The requirements of the reconstructed water-powered machinery dictate that the coining, and other workshops also be located here, along side the canal which feeds the waterwheels. A visitors ramp on the upper level would permit comfortable viewing of the workshops as production is taking place. Planned work-stations are: Hammer-struck coining, waterwheel-driven coin rolling, screw-press coining, a blacksmiths and foundry workshop, a handmade paper station and engraving and stamping stations.
This building, which originally contained offices and living quarters for employees is of special importance due to its strategic location at the entry-exit to the Mint complex. As a result, plans call for the Museum gift shop to be located on the ground floor level here, while the upper level would house the re-established School of Engraving Arts, which existed for centuries in Segovia, and disappeared when the Mint was closed in the mid nineteenth century.
Adjacent to the Mints private garden, the old stables would provide an elegant setting for a reception hall, allowing guests of inaugurations, openings and other special events to mingle among the flowers as they sample Spanish wine in the shadow of the citys castle which looms over head.
This outdoor area still maintains intact the canals where the giant wooden waterwheels were located so that their drive shafts could supply the power for the coining machinery in the adjacent building number 3.
Restoration plans call for this area to remain basically as it was centuries ago, with the reconstructed and fully functioning waterwheels forming an outdoor exhibit tied in with the theme of the coffee-shop and its tables on the terrace: Historic Waterwheel Technology.
This outdoor area is formed by the Mints private garden and the split-level central courtyard patio as well as the vast area surrounding the Mint complex itself.
While the private garden would serve in an auxiliary function to the reception center in building number 5, the central patio area would remain open to the public, free of charge, during the hours of operation of the coffee-shop and terrace. Permanent access to this interesting patio area means that the inhabitants of Segovia can incorporate a "visit" to the Mint in their traditional daily stroll, already popular in the surrounding greenbelt park area, and that the tourist which happens to come on a day that the coining workshops may not be in operation, wont find the Mint totally "closed". The area surrounding the Mint complex would be incorporated into the greenbelt public park area which runs up and down the river from the Mint itself, and is the citys largest and most popular park.