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Benaki Museum (Pireos St.)

Contemporary building of Benaki Museum on Pireos Street.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    2004 Inaugurated.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

The former Lada industrial building of the 1960s has been transformed into an 8,500 sq.m. museum with 3,500 sq.m exhibition spaces and belongs to the Benaki “family” of museums. Its architecture follows the logic of an introverted- ark building. It includes art, lecture and concert halls, a bookstore, a shop and a central atrium, around which the spaces of all floors are developed. The perforated metal entrance door, the wooden protective shutters and the metal balconies on the atrium facades give flexibility in the use and role of the spaces. On the external facades there are only the necessary openings, while on the atrium facades, there is complete transparency, and the layering of materials (blinds, balconies, glazing with metal mesh) gives depth to the volumes. The periodical exhibition spaces are highlighted and the building is crowned by a large multi-purpose hall with a cylindrical roof. The building is clad in red marble from Iran. The “Wind Signals” (2006) by TAKIS, a self-taught sculptor, pioneer of kinetic art, inventor and innovator of sculpture internationally, dominate the pavement of the museum’s entrance. His works can be found in most contemporary art museums in the world. The sculptures are metal poles, on top of which are hemispheres that rotate with the wind, like anemometers. The flat surface of the hemispheres is striped in black and white or red.

What I can't see

Although it is called a museum, it does not have a permanent collection. It hosts cultural events of various categories, such as music, dance, art exhibitions, films, theatre, concerts and often conferences are held. It is a “restless” cultural space with state of the art technology. The museum was designed by Maria Kokkinou and Andreas Kourkoulas. Access to the exhibition spaces is possible in several ways, so that many events can take place at the same time. The 850 sq.m. atrium often hosts outdoor exhibitions and other events. The museum also houses historical, neo-hellenic architecture and performing arts archives.



Yohalas T., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing the city guided by history and literature], ESTIA Bookstore


Doumanis O.V., (2004), ΜουσείοΜπενάκη, σύγχρονο πολιτιστικό κέντρο 2001- 04, [Benaki Museum, contemporary cultural centre 2001-04] in Architecture in Greece, v.38, p.p. 73- 77, NTUA


Lymberopoulos D., (2004), (ed.), Οδός Πειραιώς 138, το νέο κτίριο του Μουσείου Μπενάκη, [138 Pireos St., the new building of the Benaki Museum], Athens: Benaki Museum


Filippidis D., (2006), Αρχιτεκτονικές Μεταμορφώσεις, Ι. μητροπολιτικά κέντρα, [Architectural Transformations, I. metropolitan centres], Melissa


Collective work, (2014), Navigating the routes of Art and Culture, Part 1, Athens, Ministry of Culture and Sports