Furneax Stewart plans for Acropolis Museum

Furneaux Stewart this week presents design concepts for the Acropolis Museum in Athens, as the project moves from its architectural phase towards design implementation.

The London consultancy was appointed by the Greek Government as part of a broader consortium, which includes architect Bernard Tschumi, in November last year.

The museum is situated on an ‘architecturally sensitive’ site at the base of the Acropolis and will house sculptures and friezes currently held in the smaller existing Acropolis museum, according to Furneaux Stewart design director Laurie Stewart.

Furneaux Stewart has been tasked with developing a strategic approach to the ‘visitor journey’, an interpretative strategy for the galleries as a whole.

The consultancy will work with local groups in delivering a ‘cohesive design’ for identity, signage and wayfinding, and interiors, Stewart adds.

‘We are at the early stage of developing the interpretative strategy. We’re looking at the visitor journey, how people approach different galleries and how to help visitors understand what period of history they are looking at and its context,’ explains Stewart.

The group is also working closely with the architect to deliver a solution that is ‘sympathetic’ to the architectural style of the museum.

‘The architect is creating Parthenon-like dimensions and using natural daylight to show the exhibits in the way they may have looked in the past.

‘We want people to look with wonder at the sculptures. The last thing that we want is to crowd galleries with information,’ Stewart maintains.

Appealing to a broad audience ranging from families to academic groups and dealing with multiple languages are two of the other key challenges, she adds.

The museum is scheduled to open in summer 2004 to coincide with the Greek capital’s hosting of the Olympic Games.

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