History of the building 

 

In 1864, Ioannis Fix constructs his first beer factory in the district of Kolonaki. In 1893, after his death, his son Karolos Fix, in an effort to expand his business, constructs a new and large, by the standards of the time, factory in the same area where the present building is standing, at the west bank of Ilissos and the south, not far from the Olympieion columns. At the time, the area was undeveloped. The vicinity at the south of Acropolis, which includes the specific area, started to develop after 1900 - 1910.

 

The success of Karolos Fix's business during the first decades of the 20th century resulted in the continuous expansion of the factory until 1920, always in the same location.

 

By the mid-1950s the urban web of the town had gradually expanded, now covering the area surrounding the plant. However, the area continued to maintain a low density of construction with one- and two-storey houses, before the mass practice of land counter - prestation in exchange for appartments, a system which would utterly change the character of the area in the years to come.

 

In the mid-'50s, a time of industrial reconstruction for the country, the Fix family decides to radically renovate and restructure the factory and entrusts this project to the Architect Τakis Zenetos (1926-1977), a pioneer figure of the post-war architecture in Greece. The 1957 design of the FIX building by Zenetos, stressed the horizontal aspect of the structure along Sygrou Avenue and Kallirois Avenue by using horizontal linear glass. 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 function of the building under various conditions in the next eras.

 

The relation of the new Building to the residential surroundings during its construction period as well as the sociological dimension of Zenetos' work are elegantly described by the director of the Department of Byzantine Monuments of the Ministry of Culture, Isidoros Kakouris, in the speech he gave at the meeting of the Central Council of Modern Monuments in 3-2-1995.

 

In the late 1970s, the brewery factory was transferred out of Athens and the whole building, although it was in perfect condition at the time, was abandoned. In the course of time, the signs of desertion and aesthetic decay of the building started to show, with advertising boards hung on the faces and obvious damages in the interior and the outer shell of the Building.

 

In the following years the issue of the use of the site instigated much discussion and various alternative proposals were presented. One of the best founded proposals, was the one which suggested the Preservation of the Building and its operation as a Contemporary Art Museum.

 

Since December 1994, the former FIX brewery building has become the property of Attiko Metro S.A. through obligatory ablienation for reasons of public benefit, namely the Metro works in Athens. Upon the completion of the partial demolition of the Building for the needs of the Athens Metro works, proceeded and completed the Athens Metro station and the underground tunnel. In early 2000, the company started operation of the Metro.

 

In February 2000 the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with Attico Metro SA and the Tsarouchis Foundation, organized the major exhibition Yannis Tsarouchis: Between East and West in a part of the ground floor, dedicated to this event. This exhibition was the first of many of the activities that would follow and which aimed at finding a home for the newly founded National Museum of Contemporary Art (ΕΜΣΤ), in June 2000.

 

Two years later, in October 29, 2002 a 50 year leasing agreement was signed between Attico Metro and the EMST, in order to make the necessary interventions to the building so that it can house the National Museum of Contemporary Art. While the actions regarding the housing of the EMST were in progress, Attico Metro proceeded to certain actions in order to exploit the site of the Building and constructed a Transit Station, as provided for the optimization of the Metro network operation. The total site of the Transit Station includes underground 6-storey parking garage with at least 650 parking spaces, Transit Station/ Bus terminal for four bus lines amounting to 2,400 square meters, green park covering 2.200 square meters, shops and commercial uses in part of level -1 of the underground parking, direct underground connections with the tickets area and the platforms of the Athens Metro station.

 

In September 2003, EMST left the temporarily established exhibition space in the Fix building and transferred its services to a neighbouring building, at 14, Frantzi str., so that the reconstruction and refurbishment works of the former brewery could begin. 

 



© ΕΜΣΤ 2009