the winning entry by chipperfield architects


The National Archaeological Museum of Athens has selected David Chipperfield Architects as winner of an international competition to design its highly anticipated expansion. The largest museum in Greece and perhaps among the most important in the world, the original neoclassical building was constructed at the closing of the nineteenth century and housed a humble collection of excavations mainly from the immediate region. Over the next two centuries, the place has grown to store and showcase a vast archive of findings from across the Greek world. 


With over eleven thousand exhibits, and hundreds of thousands of annual visitors, an expansion of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is long due. The winning design by Chipperfield Architects and local firm Tombazis & Associates has been selected ahead of ten competing teams including SANAA, Herzog & de Meuron, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Adjaye Associates, OMA, Atelier Jean Nouvel, and Kengo Kuma & Associates.

archaeological museum athens chipperfield
visualization of the winning entry | image © Filippo Bolognese Images 



a subterranean expansion of the athens archaeological museum


The architects led by David Chipperfield, together with local practice Tombazis & Associates, proposes an expansion of the plaza fronting the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. New exhibition spaces will be subtly housed beneath the plaza, while a contemporary and new facade will present a sensitive new face for the museum alongside a grand stair, expanding the neoclassical architecture without obstructing or mimicking it.

chipperfield wins competition to expand national archaeological museum of athensimage © George Girnas



Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni comments: ‘The proposal by David Chipperfield and Alexandros N. Tombazi’s offices illustrates the vision, creates a unique landmark in the urban fabric and is people-centred. It showcases the national dimension of the National Archaeological Museum, which connects it to the global scene. I would like to point out that all the proposals submitted are of high quality, aesthetics and vision, and fully meet the specifications we have set.


‘I would like to thank all those who participated, Greek and foreign architects. We want a museum that is outward-looking, in constant dialogue with society, with a dynamic look towards the future. The expansion of the National Archaeological Museum contributes substantially to the regeneration of the wider area of the historic centre of Athens.’


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project info:


project title: Renovation of the National Archaeological Museum | @namuseumathens

architecture: Chipperfield Architects and Alexandros N. Tombazis & Associates