Work begins on new Acropolis gift shop

Work begins on new Acropolis gift shop

A pine tree will elegantly penetrate the roof, providing ample shade, while visitors will have the pleasure of leisurely exploring the spacious interior adorned with a distinctive floor and ceramic walls, where they can choose their souvenirs after taking in the Acropolis. Young visitors, too, will have their own dedicated space within the establishment.

This is what the Acropolis gift shop will look like upon its completion, when it will be operated by Greece’s Cultural Resources Management and Development Organization (ODAP). A small construction site was set up to work on the shop a few days ago at the end of the pathway designed by the renowned architect Dimitris Pikionis, which leads to the ticket booths and the entrance to the Propylaea.

“The central concept revolves around creating a lightweight structure that exists in harmony with the landscape, drawing inspiration from the surroundings. The cluster of trees in front of the gift shop served as a wellspring of inspiration,” said architect and set designer Eva Manidaki from the Flux office, the team entrusted with designing the gift shop. A distinguishing feature of the establishment will be the integration of outdoor and semi-outdoor spaces, a design approach that gives the entire structure an additional purpose, enabling visitors to sit or relax in the shelter of the zinc-roofed structure and the surrounding trees. Internally, the walls that delineate the space will be adorned with custom-made ceramic tiles exclusively fashioned for the gift shop. “Ceramics will constitute a significant portion of the merchandise, and we sought to establish a connection between the space and these products. Moreover, the ceramic tiles boast a distinctive, handcrafted design, color and texture, capturing the passage of time. In other words, they will age gracefully,» Manidaki said.

Strategic placement of glass panels will ensure visibility of the exhibits whether visitors are inside or outside the gift shop, simultaneously serving as showcases when the establishment is closed. The floor of the gift shop possesses its own peculiar feature – it will be crafted using compressed earth, treated meticulously to further accentuate its integration with the ground and the surrounding landscape. With the expanded size of approximately 100 square meters compared to the existing Acropolis store, the new gift shop will showcase an array of additional merchandise, including high-quality replicas and memorabilia.

The architects and Culture Ministry officials both wanted to minimize extensive excavations and mitigate any disruption to the ground. Recent excavations at the site unveiled 19th-century pathways, which required approval from the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) for their dismantling, thereby facilitating the construction of the gift shop.

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