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.
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.