The construction of a new museum to house all the surviving antiquities from the Acropolis has been Greece's objective for over three decades. The existing museum on the Acropolis is too small and because of this many antiquities from the Acropolis are displayed or stored in other Athenian museums. The limitations of the existing museum, the extraordinary significance of the finds and the effort to reunify all the existing pieces of the unique architectural sculptures of the Parthenon make the construction of a new museum an imperative.
Today a new Acropolis museum is being built at a cost of approximately 130 million euro. Following an international architectural competition the design of Bernard Tschumi Architects and Athens-based Michael Photiadis was awarded the first prize for this major international project.
The 1.8-hectare site for the New Acropolis Museum is located at the southern base of the Acropolis, intersecting the ancient road that led up to the Acropolis in classical times. A short walk and within panoramic view from and to the Parthenon, the entrance and exit from the Museum is made from the cobbled pedestrian walkway of Dionysiou Areopagitou
Visitors will have the opportunity to view the Acropolis treasures exhibited in historical sequence, and clustered according to their original location on the Sacred Rock in exhibition space totaling 14,000 square metres. The permanent collections of the Museum will comprise objects from antiquity. Findings of the Byzantine and later periods will be exhibited in the temporary gallery of the Museum, together with other occasional exhibitions.
The onsite excavation has brought to light evidence of human life that dates back to prehistoric times and continues to the Byzantine period. Approximately 2500 square meters of the Athenian city will be exhibited, with the architectural remains of the different periods essentially being defined by the three ancient roads revealed on the site. A residential area will be shown, with attention being drawn to the most remarkable findings: the private houses of the early Christian era (4th-6th century AD) and a residence of the 7th century AD with a large hall and a round tower. Portable finds of the excavation, including sculptures, lamps, vases and coins will be displayed in the locations where they were found.
The base of the museum design hovers over the existing archaeological excavations on pilotis. This level contains the entrance lobby as well as temporary exhibition spaces, retail space, and all supporting facilities. The middle is a large, double-height, trapezoidal plate that accommodates all galleries from the Archaic period to the Roman Empire. A mezzanine level includes a bar and restaurant with views toward the Acropolis and a multimedia auditorium. The top is made up of the rectangular Parthenon Gallery arranged around an indoor court. The glass enclosure of the gallery provides ideal light for sculpture in direct view to and from the historical reference point of the Acropolis. The Parthenon Marbles will be displayed in the gallery so as to be visible from the Acropolis above. The design of the enclosure is conceived to protect both the sculptures and visitors against excessive heat and light, thanks to the most contemporary glass technology. The orientation of the Marbles will be exactly as it was at the Parthenon centuries ago, and their setting will provide an unprecedented context for understanding the accomplishments of the Parthenon complex itself.
Construction of the Museum is underway and it is anticipated that the Museum will be completed by spring – summer 2007.
To be honest, I don't like that kind of architecture, it seems a little old to me.
On the other hand the interior is magnificent and such a modern museum was long needed in Athens. So, it is good to see something like that emerging!