Paris-based Sane Architecture and Bucharest-based DaSein Urban Architecture have been awarded the second prize for their proposal for the Museum for Underwater Antiquities in Athens, Greece. The first prize was awarded to Antonopoulos Evangelos,Vetta Thalia, Gavalas Georgios, Riga Maria - Kiriaki, Stamouli Anastasia, Pilarinou Maria. See here for further details.
The architects created a concept based on the intention to expose the antiquities recovered from the sea bed not as meaningless, dead relics, but as objects partially recovering the original significance. The museum is structured around a strong vertical gesture, situated in a monumental space derived from the shape of ancient amphorae as well as the shape of ships.
The building is simultaneously a ship, representing the idea of the journey, and an amphora - a symbol for the idea of content. The journey is not only the one that sent the antiquities to the sea but also the one that the archeologists take to discover them. It is a trip back and forth between civilisations, in search of content. The duality of the architectural concept emphasises the two functions: a building for grain storage and a component of a transport network. The design organises the programs in the existing volumes while maintaing the aesthetics of the original use of the building.
The museum incorporates galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions, assembled in six thematic axes, a multimedia education centre and library, research laboratories as well as restoration and storage facilities. The architects focused the intervention to the interior which took its form as a monumental cut illustrating the same dual approach: targeting the city but also the sea.
The inner atrium has the proportions of a cargo whilst the escalators in the centre become a strong symbol of the journey, organising the whole building around them. At the top of the museum there is an outdoor amphitheater accessible by an exterior staircase offers a view over the city and the sea independently of the museum schedule.
The landscape project borrows new meanings from the history of the place. Mineral and vegetal lanes intersect with circular squares of different dimensions, with a slightly undulated surface that gives structure to the space and accentuates the water movement sensation. The circular squares are inspired from the Greek theatre layout, offering space for interaction.