Goulandris museum at Hellenikon

The administration of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation’s Contemporary Art Museum has accepted a proposal from the Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works (YPEHODE) for the construction of the museum on the site of the former Athens airport in the Hellenikon park. The 25,000-square-meter museum will be on the east side of the park, near Vouliagmenis Avenue If architect I. M. Pei, who designed the museum, gives his approval, planning will take around a year then construction can begin. In the past, Pei had raised objections to locating the museum anywhere outside central Athens. The museum’s board of directors met YPEHODE Minister Giorgos Souflias last Tuesday to accept the proposal. The museum will have four floors above ground and five below. There will be rooms for permanent collections, and for temporary exhibitions of painting and sculpture, as well as areas for study and recreation, including a library of European art, lecture rooms, restaurants, cafes and stores. Pei drew inspiration from monuments of antiquity and neoclassical architecture for the complex of geometrical shapes around a tower. When the new environment ministry splits off from YPEHODE, it will have a new building of its own at Hellenikon, Souflias announced. The intention, explained the minister, is not only to bring together the ministry’s offices, currently scattered over 47 locations, but also to supervise the operation of the park.