New Acropolis Museum

A dialogue between ancient and contemporary architecture

The New Acropolis Museum is without question one of the most demanding building projects in Greece over the last decades. The continuous visual dialogue with the ancient Parthenon was solved by Bernard Tschumi with his minimalist concept through reduction of materials used.

Context

The challenges of designing the new Acropolis Museum began with the responsibility of housing the most dramatic sculptures of Greek antiquity. The building’s polemical location added further layers of responsibility to the design. Located at the foot of the Acropolis, the site confronted us with sensitive archeological excavations, the presence of the contemporary city and its street grid, and the Parthenon itself, one of the most influential buildings in Western civilization. Combined with a hot climate in an earthquake region, these conditions moved the architect to design a simple and precise museum with the mathematical and conceptual clarity of ancient Greece.

Products used

The New Acropolis Museum is composed of three main areas: base, middle, and top. The outer of the building is composed of VARIO glass wall, which comprises a solar control insulated glass, the second inner skin is made of STADIP laminated safety glass, distanced 70 cm from the facade with glass fins and floats 2.25 m above the finished floor. The solar control of the insulated glass ensures that even with outside temperatures over 40°C, room temperature on the inner façade is kept at about 23°C. In the whole museum, but particularly in the excavation exhibits in the lower levels, glass floors using LITE-FLOOR have been extensively employed. The top is constituted of a transparent enclosure which provides ideal light for sculpture in direct view to and from the Acropolis, made with a cladding of black enameled EMALIT and using the most contemporary glass technology to protect the gallery against excessive heat and light.

Results

The collection and presentation of the antique excavations in the Makryianni area of the city was a particular challenge for the client and architect. The solution was to integrate the 2,200 square meters of archeological excavation within the museum as well as the creation of atmosphere using natural light and the acropolis. Visitors have a simultaneous view of the exhibits, the Parthenon and the Acropolis.