An exhibition at the Acropolis Studies centre in Athens at the front of the site of the New Acropolis Museum offers an interesting insight into the new museum before it is completed. Not only does it show models & information about the museum itself, but also exhibits some of the artefacts that will be displayed in the museum as well as the new & innovative way in which the artefacts will be exhibited.
Although the Parthenon Marbles are the centrepiece around which Tschumi’s design for the museum is based, they are only part of a much larger collection of artefacts from a range of periods that will be on display there.
Monday, November 29, 2004
The New Acropolis Museum – Designing a New Approach
ATHENS, GREECE.- A new museum at the foot of Acropolis, to hold all the incomparable material found on that venerable site -sculptures, inscriptions, architectural fragments, portable antiquities and others- is being designed for a long time. It’s the New Museum of the Acropolis. Not long before this ambitious plan becomes an accomplished fact, the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum shows a little something of what we’ll see and presents a model of the Museum, along with 34 original works, which are going to be accommodated in it. The exhibition lasts until December 31, 2004.
The international competition for the selection of proposals for the work began in 2000. The selected proposals were these of architects Bernard Tschumi and Michalis Fotiadis. According to their plan, the building develops on a base, body and a crown that forms a rectangular transparent hall for the Parthenon Marbles in the shape, dimensions and orientation that is in the same proportions to the monument it refers to, the Parthenon.
The body is made of glass drapes, protected by metal blades in the East and West side. Therefore, the solution takes the visitor out of the enclosed core of the conventional museum where major exhibits are usually placed and takes him up to a transparent space.
The New Museum of the Acropolis is expected to become one of the most important museums in Europe. The main purpose of its creation is to offer the visitor the possibility to simultaneously view the Parthenon sculptures in the New Museum and the Parthenon on the Acropolis.
The archaeological excavations are integrated into the museum, so that the architectural findings become part of the exhibition. Moreover, a pioneer thought lead to the extended use of natural light: most exhibits were placed in open-air. So, the designers wanted to replicate that and created the sense of being outdoors.
The relieved sculptures of the frieze that are now in the Museum of Acropolis will be put into large, numbered alcoves. Some of them will remain empty. In the future, the parts of the frieze that now belong to the British Museum will be put there.
Apart from the models of all the halls of the Museum, the exhibition also includes twenty original works, sculptures, brass exhibits and vases. The sculptures come from the already existing museum on the Acropolis -the one that will be replace by the new one- and the brass exhibitis from the National Archaeological Museum.
Some of them are exhibited for the first time in the city of Thessaloniki. Among them, the marble bust of Alexander the Great, which Leochares created and a sculpture presenting Athena Nike -dating from approximately 410 B.C- with half-open wings stand out.
The same exhibition was presented a little time ago at the Telloglion Foundation of Thessaloniki (December 12, 2003-February 8, 2004) and was the first effort to get a first idea about the public’s response to this new enterprise. However, the present exhibition in Athens includes 14 more exhibits and two vinyl models of the New Museum of Acropolis.