New Archaeological Museum of Sparta
The architectural project for the New Archaeological Museum of Sparta (NAMS) attempts to highlight the history and cultural landscape of Sparta through an architecture of minimal design elements. The overall design is based on the initial master plan for the gradual expansion of the juice factory (1958). The main objective is to create a flexible building complex that adopts principles of industrial architecture both in the structure of the spaces and in its morphology. The layout follows the rational grid of the old industrial complex which allows for the adaptation of the plans until the finalization of the museological study, and in the future after the completion of the project. At the same time the space around the museum is designed as a landscape-in-motion as the recreation activities and the outdoor exhibition of mosaics unfold around the ongoing excavation research. The NAMS building design is a composition of stereotomic volumes made of rough materials. The main lines and proportions are determined by the geometry and industrial character of the listed building while the morphology of its facades follows the architectural characteristics of the old factory. The building consists of three main parts: the preserved shell is a public free-access building that hosts the visitor service activities; the two lower floors of the extension include the warehouses, laboratories and administrative - scientific support offices; while the highest level of the new building houses the permanent exhibition. The concrete coffered ceiling which spans the entire exhibition space is extended over the listed building connecting thus the old building with its extension. In addition to the above, the in-between space of the central entrance articulates both functionally and symbolically the three main parts of the NAMS. As the most important public building in the city, the NAMS aspires to become a public nucleus of attracting different visitors to the exhibitions, open-air spaces and promenades to the landscape of Evrotas, the ancient Acropolis and modern Sparta. The connection between the NAMS and its locus is defined by the direct view to the historical landscape of Laconia and the special light of the place. The building composition reveals different views of the surrounding landscape. At the same time, the museum design gives visitors the opportunity to admire the exhibits under the light in which they were created, while perceiving changes in weather and the circular time.