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At the Foot of Acropolis

Bernard Tschumi Architects - Akropolis-Museum - Athens

  • © Bernard Tschumi Architects
  • © Bernard Tschumi Architects
  • © Bernard Tschumi Architects
  • © Bernard Tschumi Architects
  • © Bernard Tschumi Architects
  • © Bernard Tschumi Architects
  • © Bernard Tschumi Architects
Good things come to those who wait. Probably there are just a few buildings onto which this saying fits as much as the new Acropolis museum in Athens.

Not only that it took 30 years from the initial idea to its completion. Additional obstacles were diggings of antique foundations at the location and a decree from the highest Greek law court against the realization of the new building. However, the concept by Bernard Tschumi Architects had what it took to overcome all obstacles and was finally realized.

More than 100 Concrete Steles

Main point for deciding in favor of the Tschumi concept was the well-made integration into the dig site. In order to preserve the antique foundations, Bernard Tschumi Architects have developed, in cooperation with archaeologists, a solution with over 100 concrete steles, placed at non-critical points within the dig site, making the new building float above the antique ground. Another point: The Proportions and materials of the Parthenon 300 meters away can be found again at the top floor of the building.

A wide projecting porch made of fair-faced concrete marks the entrance to the museum at the foot of the Acropolis. Supporting the museum’s concept, Bernard Tschumi Architects have divided the building into a first floor, a middle part and a floor below the roof. The first floor houses the entrance hall as well as rooms for temporary exhibitions and events, cutouts in the floor allow insights into the antique foundations eight meters below.

A ramp of glass, allowing a look into the diggings below Acropolis museum andsymbolizing the ascension to the Acropolis plateau, leads into the middle part. Here, you can find exhibits from the archaic era up to the late-Roman period. They stand in a ten meters high hall the mighty columns of which can be interpreted as a continuation of the concrete steles, allowing associations of a Greek temple. Above there is a middle floor with a restaurant and a visitors’ terrace.


The icing on the top of the Acropolis museum is the fully glazed roof level. It is adjusted towards the Acropolis through a 23 degree turn and has exactly the dimensions of the Parthenon, so the original Parthenon frieze can be displayed in its full length and in its original order. Nobody can say if and when the latter will be realized. Some sculptures are stored at the British Museum in London, the latter fighting against handing them over. This is why the frieze consists of the originals located in Athens and replicas of the parts in London.

The choice of materials was made, according to Bernard Tschumi, under the aspect of simplicity and plainness: concrete, marble and glass. The structure consists of pre-made concrete parts and site concrete and serves as the background for the presentation of most of the art works. Marble is used as sign posts: Black marks the tour, bright beige the exhibition rooms. (Special) glass protects the exhibits from sun rays, but also allows a view of the original up on the hill.



Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum (OANMA)


Bernard Tschumi Architects, New York/Paris mit Michael Photiadis, Athens


Completion 2009


Exhibition area: 14.000 m²
Floor area: 21.000 m²

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Show all 7 comments

Ron Thibodeau

Let's bring back the Elgin Marbles to their righful home, Greece:

1 year 1 week 1 day ago

Pablo Espinoza


1 year 1 week 1 day ago

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