The proposal for “Piraeus Cultural Coast – Museum of Underwater Antiquities” in Piraeus, the ancient Greek port city right outside of Athens, is an outcome of another successful collaboration between PAR Architects and ARUP. Conceived as a landmark, this iconic, world class museum’s openness activates the Cultural Coast District – the aim was to engage unexploited urban potential. In its interaction with the surrounding, the Museum offers robust public space at the rooftop, as an addition to the other buildings in the district and a continuation of plazas and pedestrian pathways. This essential component of the design visually connects Cultural Coast to Piraeus and Athens.
This unique space experience facilitates diverse exhibitions in a continuous loop, forming a spiral, from the lobby to the upper levels of public space. This organization of the exhibition venues offers great flexibility and adaptability to different requirements, leaving open possibilities for generating various contrasting atmospheres: interior and exterior, covered and open, dark and light, intimate and public. Due to the fact that the large public voids enable antiquities to be viewed from different points forces and encourages interaction between the user and the building.
Three interconnected atriums generate museum’s public space, therefore linking different programs and opening the building to the exterior. Moreover, existence of multiple circulation cores provides visitors with the opportunity to jump off the linear exhibition narrative to direct points of interest. Through the spatial inversion, architects tried to reinvent this museum space and its complex program as an ultimate cultural destination.