Bernard Tschumi Architects' New Acropolis Museum Opening June 20
During pre-construction, archaeologists discovered the remains of an ancient Athenian city and integrated the remains into the museum design.
Nicholas Tamarin -- Interior Design, 6/19/2009 12:00:00 AM
The cradle of Western civilization is about to get, well, more civilized now that Bernard Tschumi Architects' New Acropolis Museum is opening in Athens, Greece on June 20.
Built in collaboration with hometown architect Michael Photiadis, the 226,000 square foot, $175 million museum boasts 150,000 square feet of exhibition space—10 times that of the previous museum—for its collection of antiquities from the Acropolis.
The museum stands less than 1,000 feet southeast of the Parthenon in Athen's historic Makryianni area, at the entrance of a network of pedestrian walkways that link the key archaelogical sites of the Acropolis. During pre-construction, archaeologists discovered the remains of an ancient Athenian city, excavating over 43,000 square feet, and integrated the remains into the museum design. Tschumi, who won the commission in 2001 in a design competition chaired by Santiago Calatrava, based his design on the mathematics and concepts of ancient Greek architecture.
"The form of the building arose as a response to the challenges of creating a structure that was worthy of housing the most dramatic sculptures of Greek antiquity, and doing so in an overwhelmingly historic and monumental setting," explains Tschumi. "The site at the foot of the Acropolis confronted us with the Parthenon itself, one of the most influential buildings in Western civilization. At the same tie, we had to consider the sensitive archaeological excavations, the presence of the contemporary city and its street grid, and the special challenges of the hot climate in Athens and an earthquake region."
The museum is articulated in three layers, a base, a middle zone, and a top. The musuems' entrance is in the base, where glass floors hover over the excavation site on more than 100 concrete pillars, placed so as not to damage the remains. A glass ramp leads to a the middle section's double-height space, featuring the musuem's permanent collection galleries from the Archaic to the late Roman period, and a public terrace. This space is topped by the Parthenon Gallery, a glass-enclosed rectangle that is rotated 23 degrees from the rest of the building in order to align with the Parthenon. The gallery boasts 360-degree views of the ancient temple and features its frieze on a concrete core at its center.
Images courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects.