02 November, 2015

Archaeological Museum in Paroikia of Paros

This thesis is about the creation of an archaeological museum-research center in Paros, that will include sufficient study, preservation, storage and exhibition spaces for the rich archaeological material that the island, as well as the wider area of Antiparos-Despotiko, provides.

Greek version

Student: Messini Katerina
Supervisor: Charalampidou Sonia
Advisor: Vasilatos Panayiotis
School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens
Presentation date: April 2015

Paros is the third biggest island of Cyclades with 13.710 citizens. Its relatively fertile land and strategical geographical position in the middle of the Aegean Sea, was crucial for the long-term development of the island, already from the prehistoric era.
Today Paros ‘s economy depends almost fully on tourism, and, as a result, the historical wealth of the island is presented via an entirely commercial approach. Contrary to this tendency, this thesis suggests not only the creation of a museum, but also of a multi-functional space that will promote a scientific approach to the island ‘s history, addressing residents and tourists alike.

Paroikia is chosen as target area for the project, as it is the capital and main port of Paros, but, moreover, because of its abundance of evidence from multiple historical layers. As the ancient city of Paroikia spread from the prehistoric dwellings on Kastro hill, the early-modern city emerged in successive rings from the Venetian medieval fortress on the same location. The contemporary urban expansions are taking sprawl forms and the commercial peripheral road with southwest direction can be considered as limit of the main city.



Our study area is tangent to this peripheral route and well located in relation to the main pedestrian route of Ekatontapiliani Church. Thus, it can be easily approached by foot or vehicle and is at close distance from the city ‘s center and main landmarks. Also, it is adjacent to large free spaces and building complexes of different proportions than the traditional settlement forms, which allows the smooth incorporation of a large scale project as the one we are proposing. Most of Paroikia ‘s main archaeological sites are also at close distance from the study area and it is possible to form a network of paths for their interconnection.



The study area consists mainly of municipal property, where a public cultural center was to be built (1984 project). During the excavations, remnants of houses of the hellenistic period were found and further research was conducted, but it was never completed. Today, although part of it is officially recognized as an archaeological site, the area remains largely neglected and is being used as a parking lot.

Due to the confirmed existence of more antiquities in the area, we are setting limits to our intervention, defining a zone of protection of the historical layer. Apart from the existing archaeological excavations, we presuppose that further archaeological studies would precede our project. So, we intend to create an archaeological park including existing and arbitrary-hypothetical areas where the historical layer will be revealed inside or outside the museum building. In the process of designing the whole complex, a variety of views to specific spaces of historical interest, local landmarks and sites of natural beauty was taken into account. Talking advantage of the elevation of the site 's terrain, we propose a large pedestrian route on the building ‘s roof, that will make these viewpoints possible.The key design axes were given by the extension of the Ekatontapiliani Church pedestrian route and the view to Paroikia ‘s Castle hill.



The building is situated spirally around a courtyard and consists of three main sectors: exhibition, research-preservation-administration facilities and multi-functional spaces for the public. The storage-research facilities are designed to provide some kind of visual contact with the visitor, so that the procedure of the "production" of the exhibit is conceived in its entirety. Our main construction material is reinforced concrete, while corten steel is being used on roofs, lofts and certain surface coverings.


The main exhibition area lies in the museum area that is partly covered by the hill. In this way, we take advantage of the darker interior areas on the east side, where smaller findings, that necessarily need artificial lighting are exhibited, mostly in display cases. On the contrary, larger exhibits, mostly statues, are situated on the west side, where natural light comes in from wide transparent surfaces on the walls and roof. On the same side we have arranged the outdoor exhibition, visible also from the interior, next to the glass aisle, where the historical layer is revealed. The visitor ‘s course takes a spiral form, starting from the loft and proceeding to the ground floor, while it follows a clear chronological order with some topological sub-sections.


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