New Acropolis Museum / Bernard Tschumi Architects

© Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

Architects: Bernard Tschumi Architects
Location: Athens,
Associate Architect: ARSY
Bernard Tschumi Architects Team: Bernard Tschumi; Architect and Lead Designer Joel Rutten; Project Architect, Adam Dayem, Aristotelis Dimitrakopoulos, Jane Kim, Eva Sopeoglou, Kim Starr, Anne Save de Beaurecueil, Jonathan Chace, Robert Holton, Valentin Bontjes van Beek, Liz Kim, Daniel Holguin, Kriti Siderakis, Michaela Metcalfe, Justin Moore, Joel Aviles, Georgia Papadavid, Allis Chee, Thomas Goodwill, Véronique Descharrières, Christina Devizzi
ARSY Team: Michael Photiadis; Principal, George Kriparakos, Nikos Balkalbassis, Philippos Photiadis, Jaimie Peel, Niki Plevri, Maria Sarafidou, Makis Grivas, Elena Voutsina, Manoulis Economou, Anastassia Gianou, Miltiadis Lazaridis, Dimitris Kosmas
Structure: ADK and ARUP
Mechanical and Electrical: MMB Study Group S.A. and ARUP
Civil: Michanniki Geostatiki and ARUP
Acoustics: Theodore Timagenis
Lighting: ARUP, London
General Contractor: Aktor
Project Area: 21,000 sqm
Project Year: 2003-2009
Photographs: Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects


Located in the historic of Makryianni district, the Museum stands less than 1,000 feet southeast of the Parthenon. The top-floor Parthenon Gallery offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Acropolis and modern Athens. The Museum is entered from the Dionysios Areopagitou pedestrian street, which links it to the Acropolis and other key archeological sites in Athens.

site plan


With 8,000 square meters (90,000 square feet) of exhibition space and a full range of visitor amenities, the Acropolis Museum tells the story of life on the Athenian Acropolis and its surroundings by uniting collections formerly dispersed in multiple institutions, including the small Acropolis Museum built in the 19th century.

© Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

The rich collections provide visitors with a comprehensive picture of the human presence on the Acropolis, from pre-historic times through late antiquity. Integral to this program is the display of an archeological excavation on the site: ruins from the 4th through 7th centuries A.D., left intact and protected beneath the building and made visible through the first floor. Other program facilities include a 200-seat auditorium.

Principal Design Features

Designed with spare horizontal lines and utmost simplicity, the Museum is deliberately non-monumental, focusing the visitor’s attention on extraordinary works of art. With the greatest possible clarity, the design translates programmatic requirements into architecture.

© Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

Light: The collection consists primarily of works of sculpture, many of them architectural pieces that originally decorated the monuments of the Acropolis, so the building that exhibits them is a museum of ambient natural light. The use of various types of glass allows light to flood into the top-floor Parthenon Gallery, to filter through skylights into the archaic galleries, and to penetrate the core of the building, gently touching the archeological excavation below the building.

© Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

Circulation: The collection is installed in chronological sequence, from pre-history through the late Roman period, but reaches its high point (literally and programmatically) with the Parthenon Frieze. The visitor’s route is therefore a clear, three-dimensional loop. It goes up from the lobby via escalator to the double-height galleries for the Archaic period; upward again by escalator to the Parthenon Gallery; then back down to the Roman Empire galleries and out toward the Acropolis itself.

exploded axo

Organization: The Museum is conceived as a base, a middle zone and a top, taking its form from the archeological excavation below and from the orientation of the top floor toward the Parthenon.

The base hovers over the excavation on more than 100 slender pillars. This level contains the lobby, temporary exhibition spaces, museum store, and support facilities.

© Courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects

The middle (which is trapezoidal in plan) is a double-height space that soars to 10 meters (33 feet), accommodating the galleries from the Archaic to the late Roman period. A mezzanine features a bar and restaurant (with a public terrace looking out toward the Acropolis) and multimedia space.

The top is the rectangular, glass-enclosed, skylit Parthenon Gallery, over 7 meters high and with a floor space of over 2,050 square meters (22,100 square ft). It is shifted 23 degrees from the rest of the building to orient it directly toward the Acropolis. Here the building’s concrete core, which penetrates upward through all levels, becomes the surface on which the marble sculptures of the Parthenon Frieze are mounted. The core allows natural light to pass down to the Caryatids on the level below.

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Cite: "New Acropolis Museum / Bernard Tschumi Architects" 27 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Teo

    This is such a beautiful project, and so well executed, I would love to visit it!

  • madeleine

    i agree


    I sure would like a charcoal rubbing of those statues it’s interesting to think how a rubbing of modern arch would be far less exciting or descriptive more about material light and form a removal of human history and existence. Humanity hidden away In books secretive wonders of insight and the greatness of organized man.

  • Holger S

    This is absurd. There is a proverb in german wich says »like an elephant in an porcelain store«.
    Somebody needed to dump some concrete collums. Where is the scale?

  • Markus

    This is what started the whole economical crisis in Greece.

  • Jon

    I visited the museum in February and was very impressed. The visual connections created between the visitor and the ruins beneath the museum are both intriguing and really tie the building together vertically (one can see the ruins from the upper floors as well as the ground floor). The Parthenon gallery is what REALLY blew me away. It’s relationship with the actual Parthenon and the surrounding area of Athens is very powerful. Unfortunately, about half of the frieze is permanently in the British Museum in London in a much less impressive and effective display.

  • Nicholas Patten

    New Acropolis Museum.

  • WPstudios

    RT @nicholaspatten New Acropolis Museum.


    Well worth a visit, cheapest bottle of beer in Athens! Buildings not too bad either

  • Daniel

    This museum looks amazingly powerful in its relationship to it’s context and content. I’m very excited to see it in person in several weeks on my trip abroad.

  • fco

    This project was delayed so long that now seems obsolete

  • steve

    The reflection through the glass floors lit from above when you enter the parthenon gallery is incredible in person.

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  • roberto

    Very nice concept! Very good execution… yes some scale issues!

    I’m just very happy that it’s not another trite Libeskind project!! Does anyone else feel that way?

  • johncharlesgallagher

    Mr Tschumi has created a modern structural masterpiece that pays homage to the great golden age. One day society will be installing measures, an effort to attempt to save his work, then seen as a modern classic. A future monument we will be trying to save, and it will be worthwhile to.

  • pirate


  • Tony

    Great architecture! I’ll let all the other comments talk about the “architecture” but I’m always amazed at how some projects hide HVAC systems so well. Where are the diffusers? Where are all of the condensers on the roof? You know they’re there… I don’t see sprinkler heads either… It takes an extreme amount of coordination to integrate all of these systems in a building design and this is an excellent example of how well it can be done.

  • up_today_arch

    I visited mr Tschumi’s lecture in Moscow when it was just the project. It was brilliant idea to install columnes unregular way exactly among excavations. He is very smart person. He just doinf architecture without spurious effects.

  • tsevis

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