Submitted by WA Contents
David Chipperfield Architects extends National Archaeological Museum with rammed-earth walls
Greece Architecture News - Feb 17, 2023 - 15:31 1413 views
David Chipperfield's Berlin studio was unanimously selected by The International Evaluation Committee a shortlist of 10 proposals in the competition.
The proposal was presented in the presence of Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Developed as part of a refurbishment and extension plan, the team envisioned a proposal that dissolves in the history of the museum, while bringing a sensitive approach and harmony with rammed-earth walls, pure and modest volumes.
The museum, located in the Exarcheia district of Athens, houses one of the world’s most important collections of prehistoric and ancient art.
The original neoclassical building was built by Ludwig Lange and Ernst Ziller between 1866 and 1874. The museum has been supplemented with additional buildings over time.
With the new refurbishment plans, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is aimed to be modernised "to meet today’s standards of quality, openness and sustainability."
"The re-birth of the National Archaeological Museum, which stands as a powerful link between modern Greeks and their heritage, also symbolises the strengthening of the Greek cultural offer for international visitors following a year in which a record number of tourists came to the country," said David Chipperfield Architects Berlin.
The extension plans, covering a roughly 20,000 square meters of additional space and a lush green park on the roof, will reference to the essence of Lange’s original design, exploring "a romantic philhellenic idea of an urban landscape, articulated through lush open areas within the dense city grid."
The new plans will take the monumental building as a starting point and frame it with nature.
David Chipperfield Architects Berlin extends the plinth of the existing building all the way to the street to provide a new setting for the historic landmark building.
The new, low-rise volumes are enriched with subterranean galleries and reach up to two levels. The roof of these galleries is topped with a lush green park that is accessible to all.
Respecting to the historical value of the museum, the studio emphasized that "the extension does not aspire to compete with the existing architecture, but forms a harmonious ensemble of spaces, finding a balance between old and new."
The design layout follows the existing topography of the site: "an imposing neoclassical building facing a vast green plaza."
The museum’s main public functions such as ticket desk, shop, restaurant, auditorium and permanent and temporary exhibitions spaces are designed in the new extension.
Those functions are organised symmetrically, acknowledging the historical architecture, according to the studio.
The studio brings the main entrance forward to street level, creating a strong connection with the museum and the city.
Through a new façade the museum is aimed to communicate openly with its urban surroundings, offering passers-by views into the new exhibition spaces.
Upon entering the museum, visitors walk through two floors of continuous, flowing exhibition space that leads them to the existing building.
For material approach, the studio prefers to use a refined architectural language composed of pure and clear volumes. While these volumes enable to provide diagonal views, they are made of rammed-earth walls contrasting with the historical spaces.
Through their sensitive harmony, the volumes have a precise play of light and shadow, and according to the studio, "this evokes the feeling of subterranean caverns, forming a sensitive setting for exhibiting artefacts and sculptures from the collection."
The museum garden will provide a cool, quiet public space elevated above the bustling city. According to the studio, "it echoes the ancient Greek ideal of a public gathering space for all citizens."
The landscape of the garden, designed by the Belgian landscape architects Wirtz International, will explore texture and monumental trees. "The volumes on the lower level allow for the planting of monumental trees on the roof," said the studio.
"Lavish gravel spaces and paths, lawns, groups of Umbrella and Aleppo pines with evergreen Holm oaks and tailored shrub massings reference 19th-century parks."
While the park is accessible from all directions, and a sunken, sheltered inner courtyard at the heart of the complex binds together the old and new, providing an attractive meeting place for museum visitors and Athenians.
Sustainability is at the core of design
The team follows two distinct concepts for sustainability strategy: "the new museum extension as high mass, low-energy architecture enhanced with green and public infrastructure, and a historic museum that is gently revitalised and upgraded in terms of energy use, taking advantage of the natural climate where possible."
The design is also envisioned to preserve the existing museum building "so that it can remain a clear urban focal point, which perpetuates the essence of the building instead of erasing it – an important factor for social sustainability."
With the use of reinforced rammed-earth walls, which allows naturally controlling humidity in the exhibition spaces, is used to reduce embodied carbon.
The team implements a new MEP infrastructure that will make the existing building more efficient, by using a hybrid ventilation strategy.
This ventilation strategy combines both mechanical and natural ventilation, depending on the weather. Mechanical systems will draw energy from an electric system, enabling a fossil fuel–free development.
David Chipperfield Architects Berlin and Arup revealed design for the new Santa Giulia arena in Milan which will initially serve as a venue for 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
David Chipperfield Architects was founded by David Chipperfield in 1985. He has developed a design methodology that is now used across four offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai.
Client: Ministry of Culture and Sports, Greece
User: National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects Berlin
Partners: David Chipperfield, Martin Reichert, Alexander Schwarz
Project architect(s): Annette Flohrschütz, Franziska Rusch
Competition team: Bernhard Danigel, Anke Fritzsch, Kolja Hein Graphics / Visualisation: Ute Zscharnt
Executive architect: Tombazis and Associates Architects S.A., Athens
Structural engineer: wh-p GmbH Beratende Ingenieure, Stuttgart
Sustainability & Building Services: Werner Sobek, Berlin
Landscape architect: Wirtz International Landscape Architects, Schoten
Exhibition design consultant: Atelier Brückner, Stuttgart
All images © Filippo Bolognese Images.
All drawings © David Chipperfield Architects Berlin.