Rebuilding a Lost Wonder of the Ancient World

THESE WALLS CAN TALK

A team of European architects and engineers is hoping to restore the Colossus of Rhodes, one of Greece’s lost wonders of the ancient world.

The original Colossus of Rhodes—a 100-foot bronze statue of Helios, the god of sun in ancient Greek mythology, built around 280 B.C.—once stood in the old town of Rhodes, but was destroyed by an earthquake just 60 years later. Today, the team behind the Colossus of Rhodes Project is not merely hoping to replicate the ancient statue, but to build a new one that “will leave its mark in modern history.”

“The purpose of the project is to arouse the same emotions that visitors [originally] felt more than 2,200 years ago,” says Ari A. Palla, an architect and engineer with the Colossus of Rhodes Project, in an interview with Blueprint, presented by CBRE.

The new Colossus will stand taller than its ancestor—150 meters tall, to be exact—and will be used as a cultural center, library, exhibition hall and lighthouse.

Colossus of Rhodes Project by Colossus of Rhodes

In an age where supertalls are commonplace throughout the world, the designers of the structure want to replicate the same sense of wonder Greeks originally felt upon seeing giant statues in ancient times, hence the new Colossus’ ambitious height.

“Being able to recreate these emotions needs much more than [building] a bigger sculpture,” says Palla. “It should have characteristics never seen before in the modern world.”

The new statue will be built with sustainable materials, including an exterior “skin” of solar panels—a fitting nod to Helios, the statue’s ancient inspiration. This is to demonstrate “that we can and must change our behavior and attitudes in order to respect our planet,” says Palla.

Colossus of Rhodes Project Construction by Colossus of Rhodes

The project also promises to give Greece a much-needed economic boost by creating an estimated 15,000 construction jobs and attracting more tourists year-round.

“We will show that if people share their dreams and work together, [then] everything is possible and we can stand again on our feet,” says Palla.

To gather the estimated $280 million needed to finance the project, the group hopes to raise money from a combination of private investment and crowdfunding.

If successful, the group—which consists of architects, civil engineers and economists from across Europe—estimates it will take four years to complete the new Colossus of Rhodes.

Adds Palla: “This new Colossus will be a lighthouse of inspiration and hope for future generations.”

 

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