05 JULY 2017 / The expansion and modernization project of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum (EPMAS) is completed with a new grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, totaling €13 million

The exclusive grant of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) leads to the completion of the total renovation of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum (EPMAS). It includes completion of Building B which will be named the “Stavros Niarchos Foundation” Wing of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum and will host its permanent painting collections.

The expansion of EPMAS’ exhibition areas will allow the exhibition of more than 1,000 exhibits from the rich vaults of the museum’s collections, in contrast to the 400 pieces exhibited in the old EMPAS facilities. The project is expected to be completed in early 2019. 

With the €13 million grant and the addition of the “Stavros Niarchos Foundation” Wing, the new National Gallery will become a modern, functional and attractive museum that will be able to preserve, present and showcase the invaluable treasures of modern art, available in its vaults, responding more effectively to its social and educational role. With its inspirational design, it will not only change its operation but also its appearance, adapting to the museological and aesthetic style of the 21st century. This way, the National Gallery, with the grant by the SNF, will secure its position as an important cultural and architectural landmark in the center of the capital. 

Specifically, the grant by the SNF will cover the addition of a third floor to building B, which will also house—apart from the permanent collections—the Administrative Services, the Maintenance Workshops, the EPMAS Library, as well as a restaurant on the 3rd floor, with panoramic views. Furthermore, the SNF grant will allow for the completion of all floors, the construction of circulation ramps on the front of building B for pedestrian access to all floors, and the construction of an exquisite glass façade (planar system) of building B, so that visitors who choose to ascend via the ramps may enjoy the view of the city. It will also fund construction of all lifts in building B, as well as a spiral glass façade (planar system) at the stairwell of building C. 

The additional exhibition areas will allow the National Gallery to showcase important works from its permanent collections, which have remained in its vaults, and to develop greater flexibility in terms of a more complex museological management and presentation of the works. At the same time, new venues, such as the amphitheater, the educational program hall and the digital islands, will allow EPMAS to cultivate a wider educational and social role as defined by its statutory objectives. 

At the same time, the vendors’ premises, as well as the two café-restaurants (one on the 3rd floor of building B and one on the garden level) will give EPMAS the opportunity to secure revenue. 

Press Conference 

Specifics

With the grant by the SNF, the new National Gallery more than doubles its premises, adding 11,040 m2 to the existing 9,720 m2 building (its new total surface area reaches 20,760 m2). The Museum acquires additional exhibition grounds spanning 2,230 m2, modern artwork warehouses spanning 1,645 m2, a 231-seat amphitheater, an area for educational programs, a 910 m2 reception hall that hosts—apart from the ticket office and the cloakroom—a large gift shop and digital information lounge. Furthermore, the Museum will also provide access to people with disabilities. 

For its part, the Ministry of Culture and Sports is preparing for the relocation and smooth operation of the National Gallery, for the day after the completion of the works. For this purpose, the Ministry of Finance has secured the amount necessary for the transfer and installation of the Gallery’s permanent collection and equipment (€805,000 from the Public Investment Program). It has also recruited permanent security personnel for the smooth operation of the Art Gallery in the new building (specifically 15 people from the Hellenic Horseracing Organization), while simultaneously securing technical support of the facilities by the competent services of the Ministry. Finally, in collaboration with the Region of Attica, which approved the amount of €4,600,000 for the implementation of the project, the Ministry of Culture and Sports worked decisively to cover and complete the implementation of the museographic study, which is at the final approval stage, while the corresponding tender documents are in the process of completion.

With the present grant by the SNF, the National Gallery is set to move to its new and fully equipped home in the beginning of 2019. 

The Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foudnation, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos stated: “The SNF has steadily supported the work of the National Gallery (EPMAS), through grants for infrastructure projects and the organization of exhibitions in Greece and abroad. Today, we are glad to collaborate with the Ministry of Culture, EPMAS and the Region of Attica to complete the expansion of its premises, a project that is expected to put the National Gallery on a prominent position, on the map of international cultural organizations. The grant towards EPMAS follows a fundamental philosophy of the SNF: the effort to support organizations promoting our country’s culture inside and outside the borders, highlighting important elements of the Greek and global cultural heritage and contributing to the revitalization of communities through innovative cultural initiatives that contribute to the rehabilitation of infrastructure and have the potential to bring about wider economic growth.

* The sculpture collections of EPMAS are housed in the National Sculpture Gallery in Goudi, which was also completed with an exclusive grant by the SNF.