In the summer of 2000 we commenced a two stage tender process to seek the design that would satisfy our requirements for a museum worthy of the masterpieces it would contain and the monument to which it refers. Our tender specifications provided clear challenges to the twelve final candidates: a new approach was required to integrate the almost 2,200 square meters of 3rd, 4th and 7th century archaeological excavations on the building site into the fabric of the museum as an extended exhibit; the replication, as far as possible, of the natural light and atmospheric conditions within the Museum as existed for the exhibits in their original; location on the Acropolis; the achievement of balance between the Museum's architecture and that of the Rock of the Acropolis, the heritage Weiler Building and the facade of the neighbouring Acropolis Metro Station and finally and most critically, the capacity for visitors to simultaneously view the Parthenon sculptures and the Parthenon and the Acropolis. In this regard the tender envisaged an appropriate space to house the Parthenon frieze, metopes and pediments, incorporating both the architectural sculptures held in Greece and those currently exhibited in the British Museum, which constitute the basis for Greece's demand for their unified presentation.
The tender process culminated in September of 2001 with the evaluation of the proposals from the twelve finalists by an international evaluation committee based on the criteria identified in our tender brief.
Just as our tender brief challenged the designers, so too was the Evaluation Committee challenged by the divergent solutions provided. Each proposal provided different approaches, interpretations, perspectives and opportunities. However, through a rigorous and sometimes gruelling process, the Members of the Evaluation Committee were able to arrive at a unanimous decision on the awarding of the first prize and the placement of the second and third prizewinners. In recognition of their special contribution, the Evaluation Committee also felt compelled to recommend two further designs for Special Mention.
The Board for the Organisation for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum is both satisfied and confident that with the awarding of the first prize to Prof. Bernard Tschumi, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Columbia University, New York, and Athens based architect Michael Photiadis, the New Acropolis Museum will meet the expectations of the international community and the individual visitor. It will provide an environment that is in accord with the beauty and classical simplicity of its exhibits while ensuring a museological and architectural experience that is relevant today and for the foreseeable future.