Intervention in the Listed Historical Building Complex of the Benaki Museum Vasilissis Sophias & Coumbari 3 in Central Athens.
This project involved the conversion of the listed central building complex of the Benaki museum, including the high-rise wing still under construction (architect A.S.Calligas) into a fully functional contemporary museum.
The museum had been closed to the public for several years, with the listed complex in urgent need of structural restoration in order to make it suitable for use as a museum, in need of new electromechanical installations and major intervention in several spaces to accommodate for the new use. The works involving building additional basement storey below the 1929 wing, to serve as an expanded library, replacement of the structural system covering the first floor, and major conversion of various spaces to accommodate new uses and installations, were so major that only the masonry walls were left standing in a large part of the building complex.
The project of the re-design of the exhibition space of the whole museum complex, as well as re-arrangement of office-space and library expansion, project which involved incorporation of the spaces recently offered by the new-wing at the rear of the plot, as finally implemented after intervention by the state. The project also critically proposed the creation of the central two-storey reference space for visitor orientation, (architect Stephanos Calligas, through assignment to Synthesis Architectural Design Ltd), and the conversion of several spaces to meet requirements of the specific exhibits. It was presented in 1989, met with approval by the museum and then the relevant authorities at the Ministry of Culture and was implemented until 1996. Finally, as-built drawings date from 1998.
From a technical stand-point this was a major and very delicate project, involving very rough structural work, the delicate handling of historical building without affecting its original core but with the requirement of housing a new demanding function and very advanced technologically exhibition requirements.
Specific additional interior projects with particular requirements, commissioned separately in 1995:
The two-storey library project, including overall-design, fixed and movable prototypical classical furniture, granite finishes-movable racks at second basement level (architect Stephanos Calligas)
The ‘Chapel’ exhibition space for Christian art. (architect Stephanos Calligas)
The arrangement, size location and design of exhibition surfaces of the free-standing exhibition cases, either centrally placed or protruding from the wall, (architect Stephanos Calligas, contractor selected for implementation: Glasbau Hahn)
Τhe arrangement-design of the fixed-bookcases in the office-area at first basement level. (architect Stephanos Calligas)
The museum shop furnishings. (Architect Α.S.Calligas)
The furnishing of the office-spaces at the first basement level. (architect Stephanos Calligas-Project NOT Implemented).