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From FIX brewery to The Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)

EMST


Maybe you recently ordered a FIX beer in Greece? There are plenty of beers to choose from on the Greek market (Mythos, Alfa, …), but let’s have a look at the Fix beer, with its very interesting history, as well as its own building in center of Athens!


Since October 2016, the former Fix brewery building opened its doors again as the “Athens Museum of Contemporary Art”. The Fix beer itself is on the market again since 2010, but brewed in another plant. Here are some interesting facts.

Fix beer: when and how it all started?

1850 Ioannis Fix started making the first beer in Greece.

1864 The FIX beer gained popularity among Greeks, became fashionable and started expanding all over Athens

1893 The business was very succesful and the space was no longer sufficient. Ioannis Fix decided to move his residence and shop to Syggrou Avenue (the same address as where the building is now). His son joined and a few years later the building became a steam-powered plant, which was equipped with the best beer-making machinery for that period.

1900 – 1922 FIX became the synonym of beer in Greece and was present everywhere.

1957 The “predominance” of FIX continued and architect Takis Zenetos was entrusted with the refurbishment and expansion of the plant in Syggrou Avenue.

1961 The brand new brewery in Syggrou Avenue was ready. It was a state-of-the-art plant both in terms of equipment and design. The ground floor, for example, was totally covered with glass allowing people passing by from outside to see the beer making process!

1982 Due to political conflicts and the intense competition of new beers that were introduced into the market, the plant closed down, putting an end to the production of the FIX beer. For the following years the Fix building remains unused.

1994 A compulsory expropriation on public benefit grounds brings the building under the ownership of Attiko Metro S.A. The northern part of the building is demolished to make room for the subway construction works, and the adjacent FIX metro station is built and opened in early 2000. (Red Metro Line)

2000 The facility is turned over to the newly-established National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) as a temporary venue. It is eventually decided for the building to become the Museum’s permanent base.

2009 Three Greek businessmen took over the company Ολυμπιακή Ζυθοποιία (Olympic Brewery) as well as the trade mark of the oldest Greek beer, FIX Hellas. And that is how its story of beer restarted…in another building though!

2016 The new EMST Museum opened its door in the redesigned Fix building. You can find our source and more detailed info about the Fix beer and building at the following websites (in English and Greek): http://www.fix-beer.gr/en/history and http://www.emst.gr/en/museum/the-fix-building

What happened with the Fix building between 1982 and 2016?

The “old FIX brewery”, designed by the innovative architect Takis Zenetos (1926-1977), is an example of post-WWII modernism and always stood out. Due to its location, situated between two of the city’s main streets (Syngrou and Kallirois Avenues ), this building could never go by unnoticed. For the people of Athens, it served as the most famous abandoned building in the city for decades!

Fortunately, from 2000 onward, the building was completely redesigned in order to house the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST).

After more than 12 years in planning and construction, the museum was completed in 2014 but has largely remained closed because of financial and bureaucratic obstacles.  However, this €37 million project has certainly been worth waiting for. The reconstruction was completed in February 2014.

The first exhibition was inaugurated in 31.10.2016 in the temporary exhibition spaces of EMST.

“We are talking about a building that covers a space of 20,000 sq. meters and lives up to the highest European standards” Ms. Anna Kafetsi , director of the EMST , stated in regards to the reconstruction project.

The museum has eight levels. Three of these will be used to house the permanent collections, while the others will be reserved for the periodical exhibitions. The eighth level has amazing capabilities for outdoor multipurpose use during the summertime. The restaurant, which features an amazing view of the Parthenon, will be a reason alone to visit the museum. (Note: at this moment, not all levels are in use yet.)

The EMST will host the Documenta’s main exhibition in Athens, from April till July 2017.

Omilo regularly has visited the museum with its students. Have a look at our photo-album.

Of course it is also possible to visit the EMST on your own. It is easy to reach, since it is located exactly at the FIX metro station (Red line) or at 15 minutes on foot from the Acropolis Museum. Click here for opening hours and directions.