ACROPOLIS MUSEUM, ATHENS
The exploitation of light, both natural and electric,
is central to the architectural design of the Acropolis
Museum, and is exemplified by the treatment of the
Parthenon Gallery. Conservation was not an issue with
most of the exhibits so daylight has been allowed to
enter the building and recreate the outdoor conditions
in which the sculptures and statues would have been
Adopting principles commonly found in the theatre,
the daylighting strategy includes continuous linear
skylights that allow daylight from above to graze over
the sculptures. This adds a dramatic effect to the
otherwise flat light from the side windows, enhancing
the modelling effects by day.
Arriving at this particular solution – creating optimum
daylighting and viewing conditions while maintaining
good thermal and visual comfort – involved
extensive testing of different window and rooflight
configurations as well as modelling the effects of
different daylight scenarios on the displays.
Daylight is the principal light source during the
day, but the electric illumination, including two-temperature fluorescent ambient lighting, has been
designed to complement the daylight by responding
to the diurnal changes through automatic dimming.
Accent light comes from tungsten halogen spotlights
that are integrated with the skylights so the visual
clutter on the ceiling is minimised and the flow of light
always emanates from the same point on the ceiling.
Warm white fluorescent wallwashers are surface
mounted in the trough to even out shadowing.
The Parthenon frieze is made up of original pieces
sitting alongside new pieces, which have been
made in a different material to ensure that they are
clearly identified. Under daylight the entire frieze is
illuminated, but under electric light only the original
pieces are lit (using extra spotlights with elliptical
lenses), reinforcing their status.