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Type: Archeological Museum
Location: Sparti, Greece
Date: 2019


Project team: Konstantinos Chadios, Dionysia Daskalaki, Ioulietta Zindrou, Naya Tritaki, Natalia Giaouri, Penny Papargyropoulou.
Collaborating architects: Manos Markakis, Angeliki Lalaouni, Evridiki Markaki, Katerina Mpoulougoura.
Consultants: Andreas Kourkoulas (architectural), Manolis Manios (structural), Maria-Niki Moutsoukou (museulogical), Aris Tsagrassoulis (environmental)


Sparta creates superheroes - "Atlantes" able to overcome natural laws and to bear the burden of both keeping the city safe from hostile intrusions and sustaining the high moral weight of the Spartan ideology. The New Archaeological Museum of Sparta is conceived as a venue that highlights the Spartan ideology and the concepts that construct and nurture the Spartan legend throughout the centuries.

Given the fact that the new museum is to be situated on a conceptually and historically significant location, where an excavation research is under way, the design proposes the universal liberation of this “sacred ground” from any form of invasive constructions. The natural terrain is scanned by a square excavation grid on the north - south axis, which allows for simultaneous research and exhibition of antiquities and renders the excavation process as the factor that determines the emergence or non-emergence of the historical element.

The liberation of the natural terrain leads to the elevation or the building volume above it as an architectural transcendent gesture. The museum is perceived as a hovering monolithic superstructure above a field of dynamic archaeological excavation and in-situ exhibition.

An incision along the natural terrain divides the elevated building structure in two prisms, while marking the visitor’s entrance, an experiential immersion from the landscape of the valley of river Evrotas to the exhibition spaces. This transitional canal under the museum’s volumes and between the museum’s storage units for antiquities, reverses the logic of concealed warehouses and reveals the process that feeds the exhibition. The entrance lobby is conceived as a “vacuum” space at the very heart of the museum between the existing and the new. The vertical movement to the exhibition floors above is facilitated by ramps that interconnect the two buildings.

The monolithic volumes of the new museum are externally disrupted from recessed walls that form triangular semi-open spaces that frame the landscape and allow viewings of the surrounding topography. The materialism of the proposed building is unified by the single use of exposed concrete with the exception of the recessed walls where chiselled concrete highlights the invasion on the building shell.

The existing industrial building designed by renowned Greek architect T. Zenetos is considered a substantial historical element of recent times. In analogy to the artifacts of the excavation process, the building is incorporated into the landscape without any claim to regain its original state. Thus, a freeze in time is proposed where the existing building shell forms a vessel for new uses placed in distinct “rooms” that allow the visitor to freely apprehend the splendor of its characteristic structure. This gesture is along the lines of T. Zenetos’ views on adaptability of the architectural shell, based on program, vision and time transformations.