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The Gallery Building

The Moschandreou family deemed Messolonghi to be the best place to establish a museum. The family's aim was to create a space to host their collections that would be open to the public and in direct dialogue with the undeniable historical character of the city. A surviving neo-classical house of the 19th century is now the seat of the Moschandreou collections. The building has been restored and reshaped into an exhibition area. It is the ideal location of this building in the historic city center, opposite the sacred metropolis of St. Spyridon, that transformed it into a landmark for the city and its inhabitants.

From 1993 to 1997, the Moschandreou family undertook a large scale restoration project, covering the entire cost using private funds. Τhe project's goal was to transform the neo-classical building into a modern museum that embodies current exhibition standards. The necessary restoration of the building facades was carefully accomplished while absolutely respecting the building's traditional architecture.

The openings in the building’s façade are adorned with frames while the façade itself is decorated with plaster elements. Carved marble corbels support the balcony. The most distinguishing feature of the building is its exterior, which functions as an outdoor exhibition of Greek sculpture and Greek contemporary art. Among these great sculptures, the Kerdoos Hermes of Alekos Fasianos stands out.

The interior was designed according to the idea that its design should serve the needs and support the functions of this innovative cultural institution. The space of the main exhibition on the ground floor, which hosts temporary exhibitions and often educational programs, has been arranged to highlight both the exhibits and the building's internal details. The decorative elements of the building’s ceiling are remarkable and well preserved. The floor is made of marble, which though preserved, was partially restored to add vividness to the elegance and the timelessness of the building. Two central arches divide the ground floor into two areas (lobby and main area), leaving large openings for the public to pass through.

Upstairs, there are four exhibition rooms that extend the gallery’s function. These house the Gallery’s library, which boasts more than 3000 book titles, including rare documents from the 1821 era, handwritten letters, volumes that date back to 1825, and newspapers and publications of this period. These are all elements that underline the Gallery’s social contribution.

The restoration of the façades and the configuration of the interior were done in a way that gives deference to the building’s history and its components. Τhe result of this project is an uncomplicated, elegant and functional museum. This "transformation" in fact, inspired the painter Maria Pop to paint the Gallery’s building. Also worth mentioning is the contribution of Alekos Fasianos to the reconstruction and configuration of the building. The door that marks the entrance to the Gallery’s courtyard is his design.

 Alexandra Kontouli
Architect- Engineer

 

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