CULTURE

New museum planned in Patras

As part of its preparations as European Cultural Capital in 2006, Patras, in western Greece, will be getting an impressive new museum to house the Achaia region’s rich history. The new facility, to measure a total of 7,500 square meters, will replace the city’s existing smaller museum, which has been housed in a three-story neoclassical building since 1938. All the old museum’s exhibits will be transferred to the new venue, while additional items – which until now have been locked away as a result of a lack of space – will finally go on display. The increased capacity will enable its curators to bring out elegant items dated back to the Roman period, for which the region is renowned. During Roman times, Patras served as a stopping point for travelers coming from the west. The time period to be represented by the prospective Patras museum will range from the Paleolithic period to post-Roman times. The new museum’s architectural plans envisage exhibition halls laid out over 3,500 square meters of floor space, as well as a function hall, while the draft also leaves open the prospect of future expansion, if it is ever needed. The complex’s interior will be minimalistic in design, and some halls will be as much as 9 meters high. According to the prospective museum’s architectural plans, which were recently ratified by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), permanent exhibitions will be housed in three halls, while a fourth will be available for temporary shows. These will be developed on the ground floor, while the museum’s administration will be situated on the upper level. The project’s construction is expected to cost 15-18 million euros. An older, far more ambitious proposal that had been forwarded by the Culture Ministry’s current director for archaeological matters, Lazaros Kolonas, was ultimately rejected by the ministry’s leadership as too ambitious for its budget. That plan, for the development of a 16,000 square-meter museum, would have cost approximately 80 million euros. The project’s design has been awarded to an architectural firm run by the architect Theofanis Bobotis. One of the project’s team members, Dimitris Zacharias, described various details in comments to Kathimerini. He noted that the entrance’s cover would feature a suspended metal pylon. «It’s important to note that, if all goes well, it will be Greece’s first building equipped with titanium» for the ellipsoid’s cover.