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  • The New Acropolis Museum by Tschumi

    Posted on September 17th, 2009 Vernelle No comments
    The New Acropolis Museum

    The New Acropolis Museum

    The New Acropolis Museum originally uploaded by RobW

    The New Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects with Michael Photiadis of Athens as local associate architect was opened this June 2009. It is located on the southeastern slope of the Acropolis Hill, at the entrance of a network of pedestrian walkways that link the key archaeological sites and monuments of the Acropolis. The New Acropolis showcases and protects the sculptures of the Acropolis and what remains in Greece of the Parthenon frieze from the pollution of the open air. It also aids in convincing the British government to return the Athenian artworks to their place of origin.

    New Acropolis Museum

    New Acropolis Museum

    The New Acropolis Museum originally uploaded by RobW

    There were three concepts for the generation of the museum; the concept of light, movement and a tectonic and programmatic concept. The concept of light comes from the conditions within which the museum is placed; and the importance light plays in showcasing the sculptural objects. The second concept of movement is seen in the three-dimensional loop circulation through the museum. The collection is installed in a chronological sequence. Beginning with the archaeological excavations, visible through the glass floor in the entrance gallery, the Parthenon Gallery at the top of the building against dramatic views of the Acropolis, and then loops down to finish in the Roman Empire galleries below. A tectonic and programmatic concept was a driving factor in the architectural promenade and enclosure of the museum. The museum’s façade of black fritted glass provides ideal light for the sculptures. The Parthenon Gallery’s glass outer walls allow 360-degrees of uninterrupted views of the ancient temple and its surrounding city; with direct view to and from the Acropolis. The Parthenon Marbles are visible from the Acropolis above.

    New Acropolis Museum

    New Acropolis Museum

    The New Acropolis Museum originally uploaded by RobW

    I really like this project. Why? Projects which find their place and grounding from the architectural archaeology of a site is always powerful to me; projects which pay attention to the genius loci of their sites. Firstly, Tschumi rotates the Parthenon Gallery 23 degrees from the rest of the building to align with the Parthenon. By doing this, he pays homage to the Parthenon. Two Architects who stick out in my mind for “grounding” their buildings are Richard Meier and Caribbean Architect, Colin Laird. The Atheneum and the Museum for Applied Arts in Frankfurt, Germany are just two examples. The National Library by Colin Laird in Trinidad &Tobago is another example of the proper grounding of projects (stayed tuned).

    New Acropolis Museum

    New Acropolis Museum

    The New Acropolis Museum originally uploaded by RobW

    Tschumi did not attempt to copy classical elements into his design. He paid homage to Greek culture and their legacy of architecture, philosophy, science, and mathematics in this museum. The sharp, clinical, sleek facade of the museum cast against the rich textures of the Acropolis is just wonderful. He does what I referred to in my previous blog post on The Interlace by OMA, there was a correct use of history in his design. Constraints present us with opportunities to innovative, and create solutions; this is one such case. The sheer history and power of the Acropolis can be intimidating, but Tschumi made it work, and created what I think is a winning design. What are your opinions of the New Acropolis Museum?

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  • Renzo Piano\’s Cultural Center in Greece: The genius and The genius loci

    Posted on August 4th, 2009 Architempo 1 comment
    Sketch
    Sketch

    Renzo Piano (RPBW) has been chosen as the architect for a new cultural center in Athens, Greece, which will house a National Library and Opera House. The Stavros Niarchos Foundational Cultural Center (SNFCC) will fund the $580 million building, expected to open in 2015. The SNFCC will honor Greek culture by enabling both Greek and global visitors to experience art, education, and green space. The site is approximately 187,800 square meters.

    Site Model

    Site Model

    “We were extremely honoured by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s invitation to play a role in such a generous gift to Greece,” noted Renzo Piano. “The Cultural Center’s proximity to water, and the natural warm breezes and light of Athens were particularly inspiring during the design process. It was immediately clear that we must take advantage of all these elements to ultimately design a zero emissions building that expresses movement and energy.”

    WorldArchitectureNews.com

    Site Section

    Site Section

    Section

    Section

    It was the SNFCC and RPBW’s mission to create an emissions neutral facility, with the highest standards of environmental sustainability. Again, the roof is the key element in the environmental control system – a series of interconnected photovoltaic cell panels which will cover the structure’s needs, taking advantage of the pure “green” solar and wind energy.

    I have always appreciated the work of Renzo Piano having studied his work and visited some of his projects including Potzdamer Platz. He is a master of finding that balance between history and invention as well as strengthening the sense of place. Piano starts his projects from sociology, and anthropology, not architecture. Not from the form, but from the life…creating places for people.

    Building Section

    Building Section

    His sensitivity reminds me of many Caribbean Architects, including Colin Laird (Trinidad & Tobago) who lets the genius loci (spirit of place) of a site inform his architecture. Laird often mentions the palimpsest; defined as a manuscript, usually written on papyrus or parchment, on which more than one text has been written with the earlier writing incompletely erased and still visible. Architecturally speaking this means seeing the previous life and history of a site, especially as there is always one.

    I congratulate Piano for another winning design, and congratulate numerous Caribbean Architects who design with similar sensitivity and mastery of the genius loci and the environment. Stay tuned for my post on the National Library of Trinidad & Tobago.

    See photos of Piano’s Potzdamer Platz Project in Berlin (see Flickr album).

    To contribute your Flickr images:

    References

    Baird, George. The Architectural Expression of Environmental Control Systems. London: Spon Press, 2001.

    Webb, Michael. “Required Reading: With Extensive New Accommodation, above and below Ground, Renzo Piano Brings Unity and Order to the Morgan Library.” The Architectural Review June 2006

    Grenier, Cynthia. “Architecture Renaissance Man: An Interview with Renzo Piano.” World and I Oct. 1998

    http://archrecord.construction.com/news/daily/archives/090727piano.asp

    http://www.nytimes.com

    http://www.arcspace.com/architects/piano/snfcc/snfcc.html

    http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11041


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