Kalliope Kontozoglou


Lecture | Monday 09.05.2011 | 19:00h | R211a


Lectureseries: Big! Bad? Modern:

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - the FIX Building Conversion into a Museum

The history of the Fix building and the national museum of contemporary art (EMST): In 2000, the long deserted Fix brewery, a remarkable industrial building in the centre of Athens, created by the architect Takis Zenetos,(1926-1977) a pioneer  figure of the post-war architecture in Greece, was selected as the permanent house of the newly founded EMST.  The 1957 design, stressed the horizontal aspect of the structure along Sygrou Avenue with linear glazing. With his work, Takis Zenetos wasn't merely seeking to house an industrial unit, rather, in the context of his broader philosophy, he was interested in the future functions of it under various conditions.

Despite the demolition of one part, the building offered significant unified spaces  of 20,000m2 and  a volume of 90,000m3 which allowed the gathering of the Museum's main functions, such as permanent and periodical exhibitions, administration, archives, library, an auditorium, laboratories, an art-store, cafeteria and restaurant e.t.c

 

Kalliope Kontozoglou


Lecture | Monday 09.05.2011 | 19:00h | R211a


Lectureseries: Big! Bad? Modern:

On the banks of the river Ilissus, EMST comes to inhabit the old FIX brewery. Something new is being born through such intercourse. The facades designed by Zenetos on Syggrou and Frantzi are maintained. The two new elevations of the building reveal  the forgotten topography of Athens. The "section" of  the river bed with the sedimentary bed rock  after  centuries- long subsidence  "re-emerges" from the soil and is suspended as a giant "curtain"- within its folds the Museum exhibition spaces lie hidden.  At the level of the street, a water wall slides into the vacuum between the volume of the exhibition and the ground. Today the FIX building "floats" amidst a sea of vehicles. A narrow pavement, which encircles it like  the "wake of the boat" and the Bus Interchange constitute its surrounding space. What  it lacks in space outside, it is offered inside.

 

Kalliope Kontozoglou


Lecture | Monday 09.05.2011 | 19:00h | R211a


Lectureseries: Big! Bad? Modern:

The Museum returns to the city what it has taken away: a foyer and a space of "epic" dimensions (almost 30 m high), which reveals perpendicularly inside of the building "the archaeological findings’’ of the plot: Zenetos's elevation  on Syggrou. From the top floor one can reach the first level of the flat roof and hence move up to the Sculpture Gallery. The latter inhabits the "ground" of a garden-labyrinth, which reveals furtive views to selected points of Athens.

The Museum as an edifice is not a tabula rasa where it is unimportant whether one is in Helsinki, Barcelona or London. It is a significant element of the preservation of the city's collective memory. The past, as it is maintained in the Fix building cannot naturally be kept intact; if so it would be a Fix- building museum. But the fact, that the building is now in the process of being reconstructed to serve another purpose, signifies that the space bears the memories of the period of its birth and it is hence enriched.