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Cyprus launches contest for Nicosia archaeological museum

Cyprus museum image by george g
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The Republic of Cyprus has launched an open international competition for a £43 million archaeological museum in Nicosia

The two-stage competition, to be judged by Archigram founder Peter Cook, seeks concepts for a new landmark museum on the site of the Nicosia Old General Hospital.

The New Cyprus Museum will replace the island nation’s existing, 131-year-old archaeological museum (pictured) which lacks enough space for its growing collections.

First opened during the British occupation in 1882, the Cyprus Museum in central Nicosia holds the world’s most extensive collections of Cypriot antiquities with only a fraction of items currently on display.

The Neoclassical building, designed by N Balanos, features 14 chronological display halls surrounding a central block containing offices, a library and laboratories.

The new museum will be constructed on the site of the Nicosia Old General Hospital, which was controversially demolished in 2010. The Bauhaus-inspired city centre complex, designed by Polyvios Michaelides in 1936, closed 10 years ago and was replaced with a new suburban hospital.

The New Cyprus Museum project was first announced by president Nicos Anastasiades last summer as part of a £150 million programme of schemes intended to boost economic activity in the Cypriot capital.

The commission comes four years after a devastating financial crisis which saw Cyprus shut down its second-largest bank in return for an £8.6 billion EU bailout.

The Cyprus Architects Association has received a petition, featuring 74 signatures, calling for changes to the competition rules, which potentially exclude local firms.

Second stage competitors must have at least 12 years’ professional experience and have completed a similar project worth at least £6.9 million. The petition argues that Cypriot practitioners, who have faced a shortage of public cultural commissions following the financial crisis, would therefore unfairly fail to qualify.

In response, the association argued the concerns were ‘completely wrong’ because experienced team members are only required in the second stage, and young architects are free to compete in the first open around on their own.

Up to eight shortlisted teams will receive around £21,500 each to participate in the second stage. As well as Cook, judges include Greek architect Elias Zenghelis, and permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Work Alecos Michaelides.

The winner will receive approximately £86,000, while there will also be a second place prize of £60,000 and third place prize of £34,000.

The deadline for submissions is 1pm local time on 9 January.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Elena Kyriakou Georgiou
Public Works Department
165 Strovolos Avenue
2048 Nicosia
Cyprus

Tel: +357 22806715
Email: egeorgiou@pwd.mcw.gov.cy
Fax: +357 22498937

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I know this information comes from Greek Cypriot sources, but I think your copy editor could have revised the word occupation. It was a British colony not a British occupation. There is a fundamental difference.

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