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Antiquities Museum of Piraeus

The new Antiquities Museum of Piraeus is conceived through a spatial inversion, this industrial typology is reinvented as a cultural destination. The architect’s interest lies not only in the complex program of the museum, but in the site’s unexploited urban potential as a civic link. Transformed into an iconic, world class museum, the building’s openness activates the Cultural Coast District.

Architects: PAR
Engineer: ARUP
Location: Piraeus, Athens, Greece

Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Transverse section
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Longitudinal section

A system of void spaces introduces a spatial configuration that brings daylight to public areas whilst engaging the surrounding urban context. Selective erasure ensures that treasured qualities of the concrete silo structure will be retained and adapted into the new use. At moments of subtraction, the cartesian grid of the silo building translates into a new contoured geometry expressing the old in a new way.

Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Floor plan ground level
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Floor plan second level
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Floor plan fifth level
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Floor plan seventh level
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Solar access and daylighting
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Water harvesting + reuse
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Ventilation
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Materials + energy
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Pool above entry

Interacting with its surroundings, the new museum opens up to the eastern plaza and pedestrian pathway. As an addition to the other buildings in the district, an essential component of the design involved creating a robust public space at the top of the museum—visually connecting the Cultural Coast to Piraeus and Athens at large. The roof is activated by a reflecting pool suspended above the eastern entrance. Seawater from the pool doubles as a passive cooling element as its circulated within towers integrated into the original grain silo structure.

Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Plaza at night
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Event on the plaza
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Roof terrace

The museum’s exhibitions are combined in a continuous loop which spirals from the lobby to the upper level public space. This organization provides many possibilities for different exhibition spaces and techniques: interior/ exterior, covered/ open, dark/ light, intimate/ public. The large public voids enable antiquities to be viewed from differing vantage points stimulating visitor interaction.

Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Lobby
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Grand void
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Grand gallery

The museum program is concentrated in three program blocks: exhibitions, curation and administration. The programs are linked by three interconnected atriums which shape the museum’s public space whilst opening the building to it’s surroundings. Monumental vertical circulation is integrated into the existing structural grid along the east elevation. Multiple circulation cores provide shortcuts for visitors to jump off the linear exhibition narrative to direct points of interest.

Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Three program blocks: exhibitions, curation and administration
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Three interconnected atriums
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Exhibition axes
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Exhibition axes are combined in a continuous loop which spirals from the lobby to the uppel level public space.
Exhibition and visitor circulation
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Process models
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Aerial site plan
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
Linking East and West since ancient times, Athens continually renews by influence of the travellers.
Antiquities Museum of Piraeus
The museum will represent the transition from Piraeus' industrial past to a more culturally focused future.
The Piraeus Cultural District is part of the reintegration of the coastline within the city.

Project data

Client: Piraeus Port Authority & Ministry of Culture
Status: 2012 competition
Area: 14,000 m²
Environmental: ARUP, Russell Fortmeyer

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