Opposition to Acropolis Museum

Protests by architects and citizens have intensified ahead of the planned demolition of two listed buildings blocking the view of the Parthenon from the new Acropolis Museum in central Athens. The owners of the two buildings on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street – one a prime example of art deco architecture and the other an impressive neoclassical structure – have the backing of architects and representatives of cultural organizations who may seek legal action. Protesters are outraged as, they say, authorities had promised to protect the two structures. But the buildings have to be removed in order to provide the desired «optical connection» between the new Acropolis Museum and the Parthenon, Cultural Ministry sources have been quoted as saying. The new museum, which is to open its doors to the public next year after long delays, currently has its view of the Parthenon obscured by the rear side of the two buildings, which are run down, unlike their impressive facades. Protesters have proposed a series of alternatives to demolition, including renovation of the buildings or the planting of tall trees between the structures and the museum. The museum’s designer, Swiss-French architect Bernard Tschumi, has not commented on the protests but suggested that the view between the museum and the Parthenon be uncluttered. «The new museum is about interrelation. It is there to show on the inside what also belongs to it on the outside,» he said last week in Athens. The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage last week threatened to appeal to the Council of State against the decision by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) to bulldoze the structures.

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