The Acropolis of Athens is one of the most important monuments of world culture. A living symbol that has stood the test of time, and one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.

On the 30th of September 2020, the new lighting of the Acropolis and its monuments, funded and supported by the Onassis Foundation, was unveiled to the world.

We approached the monuments first with respect and before applying our thoughts on paper we observed the characteristics of this unique place, its history, the forms and materials, the visibility from different places of the city and the significance of this important landmark.
Our philosophy was applied to the lighting of the Sacred Rock, the fortification walls as well as the 17 monuments including the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus, the Stoa of Eumenes, the Shrine of Dionysus, Aphrodite’s Cave, some of them illuminated for the first time.

Our design approach was to distinguish for the first time the sacred rock from the walls and the monuments through lighting, by the use of different color temperature and intensity differentiations. Moreover we wanted to accentuate the 3Dimensionality of the scupltures and columns to highlight all the details of the monuments and create depth of field to make the different volumes distinct from far away. Each bears the symbolism of its time and purpose and that inspired us to create those lighting layers.

The process consisted of multiple tests on site and photorealistic calculations on 3d models, in order to achieve the most appropriate light for the Parthenon and the rest of the monuments, as well as for the Sacred Rock and the Walls.

From a technical perspective, the new lighting scheme required a customized type of luminaire with a maximum enhancement of luminosity and tunable white light from 2700K to 5000K. We used 12 slightly different and harmonious shades of white for the monuments and the installed DMX control made possible to control each luminaire independently in terms of intensity and color temperature. The specified high CRI of the fixtures, created the optimum illumination to highlight the color and texture of the Pentelikon marble and the stone.

The new electrical system controls simultaneously the lighting at all points of the installation. Via an astronomical clock there will no longer be a need for individual timers and daytime running sensors for fade-in and fade-out. Control can be achieved both on site or remotely by a web server. This state-of-the-art technology used for the new lighting scheme, improved the energy efficiency by reducing power requirements by 60%.

Closing, we would like to share the words of the head designer of the project, Eleftheria Deko: “It is not our artificial light that illuminates the Acropolis, it is its own internal light of the Monument, that brightens the ones who want or are ready to see their own truth. And that light cannot be other than white!”.

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