Emblematic landmark, has stood out for over a century in the Athenian scene.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST) is situated in the old FIX brewery, an Athenian landmark with distinct architectural and sociological significance.
Ιn the late 19th century, the FIX brewery was moved to a new location, between what is now Syngrou Avenue and Kallirois Avenue. In the still unstructured area, a new factory was built on the west bank of the Ilissos river. In the years that followed, the building underwent gradual transformations to meet the growing needs of the FIX brewery.
The year 1957 is a milestone in the history of the building. The Fix family decided to modernize the brewery and entrusted its redesign and renovation to the architect Takis Zenetos, one of the most significant representatives of post-war modernism in Greece, in collaboration with Margaritis Apostolidis. Zenetos, without interrupting the operation of the factory, integrated all the existing buildings in the new design and created an extroverted, flexible construction, capable of being transformed and of adapting to diverse circumstances in future use. The renovation was completed in 1961. Zenetos’ industrial building is considered to be pioneering for its architecture era and imposed on the post-war urban landscape with the dynamics of its form, size and elongated shape.
The building was abandoned in the late 1970’s. Damage along with the installation of advertising panels distorted its character. There were intense and long lasting concerns regarding its preservation and utilisation. In 1995, part of the northern section of the building was demolished, despite the reactions of the Greek and international architectural community.
In 2000, the ground floor of the building was temporarily given to the newly established EMST, while two years later, it was decided that the Fix building would become the permanent home of the Museum. This gave way to a new creative metamorphosis. After winning the architectural competition (2003), the bidding partnership 3SK Stylianidis Architects, in collaboration with Kalliope Kontozoglou, I.Mouzakis & Associates-Architects Ltd and Tim Ronalds Architects undertook the design development of the building.
According to the architects, the two façades of the building found on Syngrou Avenue and Frantzi Street formed the main axis of the reconstruction as they were to be preserved and remain intact, while the main entrance on Kallirois Avenue marked the new Museum. The Ilissos river trail inspired the design of a large vertical surface of roughly-hewn marble that lean against an aquatic wall – waterfall. The fourth side of the building was approached as an unfinished structure awaiting for its completion after the demolition. Today, the building expands 18,142 m² on a 3,123 m² plot of land, although lacking external space, it provides the city with an internal public area inside the building. The top floor offers visitors a panoramic view of the cityscape from the Acropolis to the south seaside.
The long history of this emblematic building, intertwined with the history of the city, its inhabitants and the many different people who are connected to it, is multidimensional recalling intense memories. Today, the Fix building bears the collective memory of the city, while at the same time hosts the present and the future of contemporary art.
FIX BUILDING TIMELINE
As part of its expansion, the FIX brewery relocated to the current Syngrou Avenue. +
In the context of the country’s industrial reconstruction, in the mid-1950s, FIX brewery managed to flourish after the difficult years of World War II. In order to meet the needs of the ever-increasing production, the FIX brewery decided to reconstruct the factory.
Ο ανασχεδιασμός και η ανάπλαση του κτηρίου ανατίθενται στον αρχιτέκτονα Τάκη Ζενέτο, έναν από τους σημαντικότερους εκπροσώπους του μεταπολεμικού μοντερνισμού στην Ελλάδα, σε συνεργασία με τον αρχιτέκτονα Μαργαρίτη Αποστολίδη. +
The Zenetos’ industrial building was complete, a pioneering factory, both in design and equipment. +
In the late 1970s, the building was left idle. In the ensuing years, the Fix building remained unused. +
In December, a compulsory expropriation on public benefit grounds brought the building under the ownership of Attiko Metro S.A. Despite the strong reactions of the Greek and international architectural community, its northern part was demolished.
In February, following conversion work on the building’s ground floor, the Ministry of Culture and the Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation organized the exhibition Yannis Tsarouchis, Between East and West. The same year, this facility turned over to the newly-established National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST) as a temporary venue.
It was decided for the remaining part of the old FIX brewery to become the Museum’s permanent home, and a 50-year lease signed between Attiko Metro S.A and EMST. +
The first prize of the Architectural Tender was awarded to the bidding partnership: 3SK Stylianidis Architects, in collaboration with Kalliope Kontozoglou, I. Mouzakis & Associate Architects, Tim Ronalds Architects, Studies of Technical Projects, Pan. Babilis and Associates LLC, INSTA.
EMST and the bidding partnership of the first prize of the Architectural Tender signed the Design Development Contract.
In March, the First Stage of the Architectural Design (Initial Design) was submitted. +
ΜIn accordance with the decision of the Board of Directors of EMST, the following ten construction firms were designated to participate in the Second Stage of the International Restricted Procedure Tender for the award of the Contract for the “Construction of the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens” Project: +
On May 2, according to the Letter of the European Commission at the present stage, “there were no sufficient clues to prove the violation of the European Union law on Public Contracts, regarding the issues of the complaint”. +
On February 29, works for the removal of hazardous materials began. +
By the end of July 2009, the tardy progress of the Project by the Contractor resulted in the executed works being less than 10% of the anticipated by the Contractual Issues. +
On January 18, a hearing of the Contractors Temporary Injunction against EMST took place before the Single-Member Court of First Instance. +
The signing of the Contract for the Project: Construction of the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens between EMST and the construction company AKTOR S.A.
On May 29, “Certificate of Completion of Work of the First (1st) Stage of the Project Implementation” was issued by the Project Manager. On December 30, the “Certificate of Completion of the Limit Test Conditions, Tests and Measurements of the Second (2nd) Stage of the Project Execution” was issued.
On April 21, the Protocol for the Consignment of the Acceptance of the Project “Construction of the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens” was signed between EMST, the Contractor, and the Project Manager. On May, 7 and 8, EMST moved its administrative offices and its equipment to the first floor of its new building.
In May, the Council of Museums approved the new Museological and Museographical Studies. In July, the Final Acceptance of the building was fulfilled and in September, the “Design, Construction and Equipment of the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST)” at the NSRF was completed.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens is now open to the public. Ready to welcome its visitors with its permanent collection, exhibitions, and activities.
Takis Zenetos was born in Athens in 1926. He was one of the most important representatives of post-war architecture in Greece, designing some of the most beautiful buildings during the late ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1945 -1952). He returned to Greece in 1955 and, along with Margaritis Apostolidis, started an architectural firm. Their early works include the factories FIX and APCO, houses in Kavouri, the block of flats in Amalias Avenue, the homes in Glyfada and Psychiko, the open-air theater in Lycabettus, and the round school in Ag. Dimitrios. Zenetos completed 120 works in total, including the Regional development plan of the Greater Athens area, many industrial buildings, noteworthy houses, and blocks of flats. His work was published in many European magazines. He died in 1977.
Margaritis Apostolidis was born in Athens in 1921. He was a Greek modernist architect. He studied architecture at the famous École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the atelier of Otello Zavaroni, where he completed his dissertation entitled “Aquarium in Athens”. Returning to Greece, he opened a joint office with Takis Zenetos and collaborated on all the major projects of the 1956-1965 period bearing their signature. Part of the archive of the works of Margaritis Apostolidis is in the Archives of Modern Greek Architecture of the Benaki Museum. He was married to the actress Anna Kyriakou with whom he had a son, the civil engineer Christos Apostolidis. Additionally, for 40 consecutive years, he offered his services as a technical consultant to the “Asylum for the Infirm”. He passed away on January 16, 2005.
3SK STYLIANIDIS ARCHITECTS
3SK Stylianidis Architects are based in Athens. They have realized projects of high specifications and they are active nationwide and abroad. The group focuses on creative design and has great and acknowledged know-how of materials and construction. Their projects cover design as a whole: public buildings, cultural centers, theatres, museums, offices, shops, working spaces, banks, hotels, and big tourist entities, as well as private houses and residential complexes. The group has considerable expertise in handling complex design projects, which are particularly demanding, as far as time is concerned.
BArchHons, AADiplHons, RIBA III, ArkUK, TEE. She collaborated with Tim Ronalds (1982-1988). Her last project, the Jacksons Lane Theatre, won, in 1988, The Sunday Times-RIBA Community Award, sponsored by the Prince of Wales. Upon her return to Athens (1989), she joined T.Spanomaridis and I.Zachariadis as a partner for a year, before starting her own practice, Axis Mundi Architects. In 2003 she formed, with A. and B. Stylianidis and K.Sionis, 3SKStylianidis Architects. Since 2010, she has been operating as a freelance architect, both in Greece as well as abroad. She has been teaching design at numerous universities, 1982-today (AA, GSD-Harvard, UBC-Canada, Academy of Fine Art-Vienna). Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at UWA, where she teaches the Athens Studio (1994-today).
TIM RONALDS ARCHITECTS
Tim Ronalds Architects are renowned in Great Britain due to their many distinctions, as well as the high-quality work they provide. The studio specializes in composite constructions and reconstructions of existing edifices: buildings for the arts, theatres, and cultural centers. Some of their recent works are The Landmark, a building – museum for a wider area in Ilfracombe comprising a theatre and a visitor’s pavilion (RIBA, 1999), the Mick Jagger Arts Centre, the Brighton College Arts Centre (1st prize), the restoration and reconstruction of Hackney Empire Theatre, London, the new musical stage in Watford, Salisbury Cultural Centre etc.
I.MOUZAKIS & ASSOCIATES-ARCHITECTS LTD STUDIES
I. Mouzakis & Associates-Architects Ltd Studies is comprised of architects, who have worked since 1972 providing architectural services in a wide typological range and large scale of building constructions. Its architects have great experience in complex and special projects, both in the public and private sectors, in every phase of study and realization of the undertaken works. Their experience covers the fields of Residence, Education, Industry, Office and Administration, Hospitals, Tourist and Sports Facilities, Solar Energy Applications, Research, and Air stations.