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First “Green” Museum in Greece at Plato Academy in Athens

 Plato's Academy green museum in Athens
Model of the Museum at Plato’s Academy in Athens which will be Greece’s first “green museum”. Credit: Ministry of Culture

Greece’s first “green museum” will be embedded within the Plato Academy in Athens. The museum will engage with the surrounding landscape, seamlessly blending with the existing terrain to create a harmonious integration that combines architectural elements with the natural topography.

In August 2022, Athens municipality launched a competition for a new archaeological museum in Plato Academy Park, aiming to create Greece’s first green museum.

Tsolakis Architects won the competition with a design that embraces the contrast between the urban cityscape and the enclosed park, harmoniously blending the two elements together.

Greece’s first green museum to open in Athens

The Ministry of Culture and the City of Athens first unveiled plans for the creation of a green museum earlier this year in March. The winning design retains some of the open-plan ideas of the academy, incorporating greenery and public spaces.

According to the latest report on the project, the design by Tsolakis Architects “supports the innovation of the specific museum, as it highlights the topography, urban planning, and public archeology, creatively integrating both the axes of the landscape and the urban planning of the city, while incorporating the archeological findings within the space.”

The design is said to take into account that the Greek capital is “a living organism” and features “alternation between closed and open spaces.” Visitors will be able to admire the interior of the museum from a myriad of different angles and perspectives.

City officials previously explained that the project aims to reflect the spirit of the location – Plato’s Academy. Consequently, the architectural design for the museum is open-plan and has long-term sustainability in mind.

Plato’s Academy

Plato’s Academy, or simply, ”The Academy,” was a famous school in ancient Athens founded by Plato in 387 BC, located on the northwestern outskirts of Athens, outside the city walls. The site acquired its name from the legendary hero Academos.

Plato is the one figure who must receive the credit for giving birth to this unique institution. He first acquired the land on which the Academy was eventually built and began holding informal gatherings there to discuss philosophical issues with some of his friends.

The gatherings included thinkers such as Theaetetus of Sunium, Archytas of Tarentum, Leodamas of Thasos, and Neoclides. These meetings and discussions continued for years but it was not until Eudoxus of Cnidos arrived in the mid-380s BC that Akademeia was recognized as a formal Academy.

Plato’s Academy was not an educational institution as we know it in modern times, but because it had the characteristics of a school and covered a wide variety of topics such as philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, politics, physics and more, it is considered to be the first university in the entire world.

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