Design approved for Athens’s new contemporary art museum

The first prize of the architectural competition for the development of the Fix building, the former brewery on Syngrou Avenue, has been given to plans for an ultra-modern, solid and geometric structure. The building should be able to host the National Museum of Contemporary Art by 2006. The plans that won first prize were proposed by 3sk Stylianidis Architects, Tim Ronalds Architects and I. Mouzakis & Associates Architects. The former brewery’s side facing Syngrou Avenue will maintain the lines of Takis Zenetos’s original design, with its glass and cement, while the side facing Kallirois, where the museum entrance will be situated, will be dressed in wood. It should be noted that researchers who took part in the competition worked on the building in its current form, after the demolition of one of its sections in the early ’90s, and did not take into account its original size as designed by Zenetos. The museum’s board of directors has been meeting frequently to discuss the objections that have arisen. The directors, headed by Anna Kafetsi, had been eagerly awaiting an exhibition area of 2,500 square meters to be ready by summer 2004, so as to host the «Cross-Civilizations» exhibition during the Olympic Games. The hosting of this exhibition would be of great symbolic value to the museum, since it would then be able to receive the millions of visitors in its final location. Now, however, the exhibition will have to be put on display at the Athens Concert Hall, where the third part of the «Synopsis» series of art exhibitions is already on display. Its theme is «Between Myth & Reality.» It is still unclear when the Fix building will be completely ready, but Kafetsi is hoping that by 2006 a major part of the works will be over and that the museum will be in a position to function on a full-time basis. An underground garage will be constructed on the demolished part of the factory, which will also become the starting point for a city bus route.