Press conference of the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis and the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni, for the presentation of the winning designs in the architectural competition for the construction of the Archaeological Museum of Athens at Plato's Academy, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Vasilis Rebapis)
ATHENS – The largely unkempt site of the ancient Plato’s Academy founded by the famed philosopher 2300 years ago on the outskirts of Athens will feature Greece’s first so-called “green museum” part underground with grassy roofs.
Six months after a competition was announced, the Greek firm Tsolakis Architects has won for a design that incorporates the green surroundings that have seen little maintenance into housing the museum, said Design Bloom.
The area is a favorite of residents and others for walking and one of the few spots in the dense, working-class of Kolonos and left on its own despite the fame of being a center of critical thinking in ancient times.
“Today, the archaeological site of Plato’s Academy is in a sad state of neglect: trash, eroding walls, rusty fences or no protection at all, and only very few informational sign boards,” wrote Rainer Ebert, a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Houston wrote in 2015, and it’s still much the same.
Design Bloom said the design focuses “on the harmonious symbiosis of two opposing forces in the region – the impenetrable mass of the city and the enclosed grove of the park containing the archeological excavations.”
It noted most of the museum’s surface is developed underground, creating smooth outcrops and pits that enhance the character of the site. The museum interacts with the existing terrain and is harmoniously transformed into a solution that serves as a hybrid of architecture and topography.”
The design by Tsolakis Architects supports the innovation of the museum by highlighting the topography, urban planning, and public archaeology, creatively integrating the landscape and archaeological significance, it said.
The layout creates a rectangular gap in the center that divides the space into four distinct wings. The roofs rise from the ground to form sloping, accessible surfaces that extend the grove’s existing planted area while providing comfortable conditions for natural lighting and ventilation for visitors and workers.
“The cleanliness and flexibility of the exhibition spaces take into account the basic principle that the city is a living organism that is constantly changing. The alternation between closed and open spaces, the possibility of viewing the interior of the museum from different angles and to different degrees, aim to create a relationship of intimacy between the museum and the visitor that will make even non-visitors feel comfortable walking through the doors of the museum or sharing its messages,” the report said.
It will be a 14,326 square-meter (154,591 square feet) building that will be bio climatic and leave no environmental footprint while providing seamless access for people with disabilities.
The surrounding area will have an open amphitheater with 500 seats and the green space will be spruced up and include recreational sports areas and encourage participation by visitors.
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