New Archaeological Museum in Chania
The New Archaeological Museum in Chania is an exhibition space for antique artefacts, and a pole for producing and advancing culture. The result was shaped by conceptual considerations, the terrain features, and the program, technologies, and materials.
The building site is in the historical Chalepa district, with a sea view, relatively close to the Chania Old Harbor. The main idea was to create a building shell with an atrium; adapting to the site was the main consideration in the design.
The limited field of view from the site entrance led to a reduced building height for the overground part, to secure the horizon view beyond. From the entrance, one has an immediate perception of the entire circulation network and wayfinding to the exhibition halls, the museum shop, the amphitheater, and the restaurant. Spaces are demarcated by clear surfaces, to create an appropriate environment for exhibitions.
The need for a recognizable Museum, given its public, cultural character, was also a key consideration in the design. Through the composition and form of the volumes, as well as the texture and color of the cladding materials, a discrete yet identifiable shell was created, as a contemporary building, expressive of its time, yet designated for accommodating past civilizations. The linear, geometric shell aims for a timeless aesthetic, through expressive restraint; this is inscribed in the volumes, surfaces, materials, and the main façade, which is flat and defined by a trapezoidal shape, dominated by the main entrance.
Natural lighting penetrates the building from its sides, controlled in a way that prevents excessive reflection. The openings are not immediately visible, and their role is confided to creating the proper exhibition atmosphere. Exhibits benefit from artificial lighting.
The architectural design created the potential for alternative activities and exhibitions at the new museum and designated their interactive character. The result is a timeless building.