New Acropolis Museum | Notes of Interest

Located in Athens’s historic Makryianni district, the New Acropolis Museum stands less than 1,000 feet southeast of the Parthenon, at the entrance of a network of pedestrian streets that link the key archaeological sites and monuments of the Acropolis.

The site presented unique challenges, such as the need to accommodate a large existing structure, the 19th-century Weiler Building, as well as Athens’ largest ongoing archaeological excavation and the nearby entrance to the city’s subway. Additionally and importantly, the site is located in a hot climate in a major seismic zone, requiring state-of-the-art technology to protect visitors, staff, and the irreplaceable artifacts of the Museum collection.

The building was designed in three layers, two of which follow the city grid and existing and ancient pathways. The top-floor Parthenon Gallery, designed to display the Parthenon sculptures, is rotated 23 degrees and dimensioned to approximate the size, orientation, and viewing conditions of the historic Parthenon.

The Parthenon Gallery’s glass outer walls allow visitors uninterrupted, 360-degree views of the ancient temple and the surrounding city. Its transparent enclosure provides ideal light for sculpture in direct view to and from the Acropolis, using the most contemporary glass and climate control technology, engineered with a view to sustainability, to protect the gallery against excessive heat and light. One of the goals of the topmost gallery is to eventually reunite the elements of the Parthenon Frieze, currently dispersed among several world museums.

The New Acropolis Museum is surrounded by 75,000 square feet of landscaped green space. Other program facilities include a 200-seat auditorium, a café overlooking the archeological excavation, a store, and a museum restaurant with a public terrace commanding views of the Acropolis. The Museum is fully accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Additional Credits

New Acropolis Museum

Jury Comments

The building rotates in plan to fit the site while the archeology still remaining does not try to be an overstatement and compete with the Acropolis.

Not a light building – it is very contextual and powerfully respectful of the urban fabric of Athens while doing a dance around the ruins.

The sculpture from the old museum is much more dramatic than in the old setting with the screen walls and slab edges remaining contextual to the neighborhood and city.

2011 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • David Miller, FAIA, (Chair)
  • The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
  • Seattle
  • Ashley Clark, Assoc. AIA
  • LandDesign Inc.
  • Charlotte
  • Curtis Fentress, FAIA
  • Fentress Architects
  • Denver
  • T. Gunny Harboe, FAIA
  • Harboe Architect, PC
  • Chicago
  • David Neuman, FAIA
  • University of Virginia, University Architect
  • Charlottesville, Va.
  • Louis Pounders, FAIA
  • ANF Architects
  • Memphis
  • Sarah Snodgrass, AIAS Representative
  • Parsons The New School for Design
  • New York City
  • Allison Williams, FAIA
  • Perkins & Will
  • San Francisco
  • Jennifer Yoos, AIA
  • VJAA
  • Minneapolis

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