The Acropolis Goes Modern


After inevitable delays — including the discovery of an ancient Athenian city under the building site — The New Acropolis Museum is open for business, packing in visitors to the historic but semi-rundown neighborhood of Makrygianni in Athens. The thoughtful design by former Columbia architecture dean Bernard Tschumi and team positions the 226,000 square foot museum over the footprint of the long-ruined city; the exhibition space — ten times larger than that of the previous edifice — provides what could someday be a permanent home for the hotly contested Elgin Marbles and other looted artifacts. Hellenic architecture porn after the jump.

Bernard Tschumi Architects won the bid in 2001 in a design competition chaired by Santiago Calatrava; their winning plan “created a deliberately non-monumental structure whose simple and precise design invokes the mathematical and conceptual clarity of ancient Greek architecture” while establishing a dialogue between the museum’s exhibition spaces and the existing Acropolis buildings.

More than 100 concrete pillars support the building over the remains of an ancient Athenian city, discovered during pre-construction.

The entrance of the museum correlates to the pedestrian walkway of Dionysiou Areopagitou. Both the interior and exterior spaces of the Acropolis Museum highlight archaeological excavations below.

Gallery of the Acropolis Slopes. The circular holes promote function as much as form, providing soundproofing for the space.

Exterior detail: “Reflections of the Attica sky are visible on the glass surface of the Parthenon Gallery.” The gallery parallels the orientation of the ancient temple on the rock.