OREANDA-NEWS.  March 27, 2013. Historical sites can often develop an air of neglect but not the Roman ruins of El Molinete, in Cartagena, Spain, where a new roof that uses ArcelorMittal steel is helping to keep ancient civilisation alive.

Much of Roman Cartagena lies buried beneath the modern city and the city’s Molinete area, home to some of the city’s Roman ruins, was left untouched while the city grew around it.

Following open excavations in 2008 and 2009 that revealed an entire block of Roman Cartagena, including a thermal spa bath complex and a banquet hall dating from the first century AD, the challenge was to design and construct a protective casing for the site.

A relationship 2,000 years in the making

Madrid-based architects Amann-Canovas-Maruri and ArcelorMittal worked together to create a roof structure and building, completed in 2011, that protects the site while keeping the ruins visible and offering visitors a footbridge or walkway at street level.

ArcelorMittal supplied 5,500 m2 of specialised Frequence 14.18 C perforated steel sheets for the roof canopy from our Construction site in Berrioplano, Spain. All sheets are only 0.6 mm thick and have an aluminium-zinc coating along with a subtle paint finish. The perforated steel sheets, along with the corrugated polycarbonate sheets used, allow the light in while still offering sturdy environmental protection to the site.

The thin steel corrugated sheets were chosen by the architects not just for their physical properties but also because they allow for a smooth look that does not jar with the ruins and the neighbouring city. The roof is also kitted out to provide light illumination at night, sustaining the light, airy feel of the park during the daytime.

Due to the complex geometry of the roof, which gives it a canopy-like look, assembly was very complicated, but the products were delivered well in time and the entire construction process on site only lasted around a year and a half.

El Molinete Archaeological Park project has since been applauded by cultural heritage protection societies and architectural publications alike.

Cartagena is a major port on the Mediterranean coast of south eastern Spain. Believed to have been founded in 227 BC the city has, thanks to its strategic coastal location, been inhabited over the years by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Ummayad Arabs and finally the Spaniards – something that can be still seen today in its beautiful, varied architecture.