​Greek and foreign architects

In the 19th century a large number of Bavarian engineers and craftsmen, who brought neoclassical elements from the West, settled and worked in Athens and Piraeus. Greek architects are influenced by them, incorporating their own particular elements into their designs.

Foreign architects

Carl Friedrich Schinkel, 1781-1841

He was born in Neuruppin, Brandenburg (Germany). He was the most important architect of Neoclassicism in Prussia. He studied at the Berlin Academy, under Friedrich David Gilly. He was a supporter of the Greek Revival. He was distinguished for his theoretical work, as well as for his architectural drafts – unprocessed designs of many buildings. Among them is his proposal for the conversion of the Athenian Acropolis into a royal palace for the new Kingdom of Greece. His most famous buildings are located in the Berlin area: the Neue Wache, the National Liberation Wars Memorial, the Schauspielhaus on the Gendarmenmarkt, which replaced the previous theater destroyed by fire in 1817, and the Altes Museum on Museum Island, etc.

Ernst Ziller, 1837-1923

He was born in Radebeul, Saxony. His family was wealthy and ran a construction company – out of his nine siblings, his four brothers also worked in the field of architecture. After graduating from the Royal Polytechnical  School (Dresden Academy of Fine Arts) in 1858, he was employed in the office of Th. Hansen in Vienna, where he worked for about a year. In 1861 he traveled to Athens along with Th. Hansen, in order to take charge of supervision of the Academy building. He returned to Vienna in 1864, but in 1868 he permanently went back to Athens to work as an independent architect, taking on a large number of commissions for the construction of public buildings as well as private houses and mansions. At the same time, he was engaged in archaeological excavations and studies, from which the decorative elements for his residences were inspired. In the period 1872-1883 he taught at the School of Arts, occupying the Chair of Architecture. In 1875, he bought a -then- uninhabited area in Kastella (Piraeus), where he built the “Ziller Quarter” or “Mansion Quarter” for exploitation. Its architecture left its mark in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Among his most representative works are: the current Presidential Palace, the Iliou Melathron, residence of Eric Schliemann (currently the Numismatic Museum of Athens), the Royal Theater (currently the National Theatre), the Stathatos Palace, the Nikolaos Thon Mansion, the Mela Mansion on Aiolou Street, the Old Chemistry Laboratory, the German Archaeological Institute, the Austrian Archaeological Institute, the “Megas Alexandros” and “Bageion” hotels, the Patsiadis Residences in Alexandras Square, the Spyridon Metaxas Residence in Piraeus, his residence on Mavromichali Street, etc.

Theophil Hansen, 1813-1891

Theophil Hansen was born in Copenhagen (Denmark). Younger brother of Christian Hansen. He studied at the Academy of Architecture in Copenhagen under Karl Friedrich Schinkel. In 1838 he came to Athens at the invitation of his brother. He designed two of the three buildings of the Neoclassical Athenian trilogy, the Sinaia Academy (Academy of Athens) and the Vallianeios National Library (the University of Athens was the work of his brother Christian Hansen), the National Observatory of Athens, the Demetriou Palace (present-day Great Britain) , etc. Appointed professor at the School of Arts (1840-1843). He was also awarded for the restoration of the Lysicrates monument. In 1846 he permanently left Athens for Vienna, where he became particularly known for works such as: the Parliament, the Academy of Fine Arts, the History-Military Museum, the Stock Exchange, etc.

Christian Hansen, 1803-1883

Christian Hansen was born in Copenhagen (Denmark). There he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts since 1816, aged just 13. He participated in architectural competitions, where he was honored with a gold and silver prize. In 1831 he won the First Prize, where the Gold Medal from the Academy was for a foreign scholarship. He begun with a trip to Italy first, where he stayed for two years, while in 1838 he arrived in Greece, to study the monuments of antiquity and the Middle Ages. He taught as a professor at the Polytechnic School of Piraeus Street (1837-1843). He left Greece for good in 1850. In 1857 he settled back in Copenhagen, where he assumed the position of professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, while at the same time working as an inspector of public buildings. During the years of his stay in Athens, he prepared the studies for important public buildings, such as the University in Athens, the Ophthalmology Clinic, the Kantakouzinou Mansion in Metaxourgeio and other public and private buildings, as well as monuments (Al. Ypsilanti in Pedion tou Areos, N. Douka in Rizareiou park) etc. Among other buildings, the Copenhagen Municipal Hospital was built in his hometown based on his designs.

Eduard Schaubert, 1804-1860

He was born in Bresslau/Wrocklaw where southwestern Poland is now located. There he began his studies, and proceeded in 1825 at the Architecture Department of the Royal Technical Academy of Berlin (Bauakademie), where together with Stamatis Kleanthis he studied alongside Karl Friedrich Schinkel. After his graduation (1829), he traveled to Italy and shortly after was hired along with St. Kleanthis by I. Kapodistrias as architect of the Government. They undertook the drafting of the Plan of Athens, which however was revised by L. von Klenze. Together with St. Kleanthis he also planned out the urban development plan of Piraeus and Eretria. In 1834 he ceased his collaboration with St. Kleanthis and assumed the position of director of the Athens Architectural Department of the Ministry of the Interior (1834-1843). He was then hired as an employee by the Royal Museum of Berlin in Athens as chief of excavation and restoration projects at the Acropolis, until 1850, when he returned to his birthplace.

Leo von Klenze, 1784-1864

He was born in Bocla, Lower Saxony. He studied Architecture in Berlin under Friedrich Gilly, and apprenticed in Paris under Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine. In 1816 he began working as an architect at the court of Louis I, redesigning the center of Munich with classicist morphological elements. Among those are the Glyptothek, the Alte Pinakothek, the Residenz – Königsbau palace, the Monopteros in the Englischer Garten, the Propyläen, as well as the Walhalla temple near Regensburg. In 1834 he was commissioned by Otto to revise the city plan of Athens (in replacement of the urban plan of Kleanthis and Schaubert). Among his realized work is the church of Saint Dionysios the Areopagite. The interest in the recording of the antiquities of Greece, as well as the start of the restoration work on the Acropolis are attributed to him. Besides an architect he was a painter & a writer, representing the romantic expression of Historicism (focusing on the revival of the ancient Greek order).

Friedrich von Gärtner, 1792-1847

He was born in Koblenz (southwest Germany). A few years later he moved to Munich (1804), where he received his first lessons in the study of Architecture from his father, who was also an architect. He was then trained by K. von Fischer (1808–12) in Munich, Weinbrenner in Karlsruhe (1812–13), and Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine in Paris, where he went in 1812. Two years later he traveled to Italy, where he devoted himself to the study of antiquities (1814-1817). In 1820 he was appointed professor at the Architectural Academy of Munich and since 1842 director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Gärtner represented German Historicism under Ludwig I of Bavaria (1825-1848). He implemented a series of projects along the central Ludwigstrasse in Munich influenced by medieval Florentine architecture and Italian Romanesque architecture, combining classical elements. He traveled to Greece together with Ludwig (1835), where he drafted the grid plan of Syntagma Square and presented the proposal for the neoclassical palace of Otto, today’s Hellenic Parliament (1836-1841).

François-Louis-Florimond Boulanger, 1807-1875

He was born in Douai (France). He studied Architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts (1830-36) in Paris. In 1836 he was awarded first prize in a student competition, winning a scholarship (Grand Prix de Rome) to the School of Rome. He traveled to the Italian capital, where he dealt with plans for impressions, excavations and restorations of ancient monuments. In 1845 he moved to Athens, where he remained for about 30 years. Among his first projects is the restoration of the church of Sotira Lykodimou together with the military engineer Tilemahos Vlassopoulos. In the period 1866-67 he was involved in the restoration of the Lysicrates monument in collaboration with Th. Hansen. He also contributed to the completion of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, which had been founded based on the plans of Chr. Hansen. Boulanger designed, among other projects, the original plans for the Zappeion Megaron, which were however modified by Th. Hansen, as well as the Queen’s Tower (of Queen Amalia) in Tatoi, and a Gothic style building, which resembles the palace of Otto’s brother in Hochenschwangau (Germany).

Wilhelm von Weiler, (~1800-?)

Little information is known about his year of birth and death. Bavarian soldier, captain of the Engineers of Otto’s entourage, one of the first to staff the newly established architectural department of the Ministry of the Interior in Athens in 1834. He first drew up plans for the surveying of the new capital. Among his works are the first military hospital on Makrygianni street (Weiler building), influenced by German neo-romanticism, the building of the sanatorium in Syros, as well as the grid plan of Ermoupolis (1837), and port works. In addition to the architectural projects he designed, his paintings are also preserved.

Greek architects, who incorporated Neoclassicism in their works
Ioannis Lazarimos, 1849-1913

He was born in Piraeus, although his family came from Hydra, where they were among the wealthiest in the local community. He studied Land Surveying at the School of Arts in Athens and then Architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris with a scholarship and later on in Germany (Munich/Berlin). In 1877 he returned to Greece and initially worked as a temporary engineer in the Municipality of Piraeus and at the port of the city, while later he was promoted to the position of Municipal architect. Among the important works he implemented in the style of Classicism, are the Municipal Theater of Piraeus, the churches of Agios Konstantinos and Eleni in Korai Square and the church of Agios Nikolaos of Hydra, school buildings (Piraeus High School, Zanneio Boys’ Orphanage), port works, squares (Korai Square) etc. In 1878 he was appointed professor of Topography at the Polytechnic School (then School of Arts and later School of Industrial Arts), a position he held until his death, while between 1888-1902 he was also deputy director.

Stamatis Kleanthis, 1802-1862

He was born in Velvendo, Kozani. He initially studied at the Velvendo Community School, but as a teenager he moved to Bucharest (Romania), where he completed his general studies at the Greek School (1821). In the same year he joined the Sacred Band of Al. Ypsilantis. After the extermination of the army, during which he was captured by the Turks, he fled to Vienna and then to Leipzig. He enrolled at the School of Architecture, but transferred to the Academy of Architecture in Berlin, which was under the supervision of Karl Friedrich Schinkel. In 1828 he traveled to Greece with his colleague Ed. Schaubert, as the governor Ioannis Kapodistrias commissioned them as government architects to draw up the urban development plan of New Athens (May 1832). The plan was submitted a year later, but was not finally implemented because it was considered too costly and was later modified by Klenze, Hoch and Gärtner. In 1834, together with Schaubert, they drew up the urban development plan of Piraeus and Eretria. Kleanthis designed a large number of private residences and public buildings in a simple neoclassical style, such as: the palace of the Duchess of Plaisance alongside Ilissos river (now owned by the Byzantine Museum), the tower of the Duchess of Plaisance in Penteli or “Castle of Rododafni”, his own house in Plaka designed by himself, the Gothic church for the Anglican parish on Filellinon street, etc.

Lysandros Kaftantzoglou, 1811-1885

He was born in Thessaloniki to a prominent family. In 1821 at a young age, he fled to Marseilles (France) to escape the persecutions against the Greeks. Later he traveled to Italy, where he studied Architecture at the Academy of Saint Luke (1824 – 1836), winning important prizes. In the years that followed he distinguished himself as an architect, becoming a member of the Academies in many European cities. He returned to Greece and settled in Athens in 1843. A year later he assumed the position of Director of the established School of Arts at the Polytechnic University, until his resignation during the eviction of Otto (1862), of whom he was a follower. His works are characterized by strict Classicism, while the care he showed for Byzantine Architecture was special. Among them are: the Metsovio National Technical University of Athens on Patision Street, the Athens Ophthalmology Clinic on Panepistimiou Street (in original plans by Th. Hansen), the Arsakeion, the church of Agia Irini on Aiolou Street, the Catholic Church of Agios Dionysios the Areopagite, the church of Agios Konstantinos on the homonymous street, the church of Agios Dionysios the Areopagite, the old church of Agios Andreas in Patras and other private works.

Panagis Vretos Kalkos, 1818-1875

He was born in Athens. In 1837 he went to Munich, where he studied at the Architecture Academy with a scholarship provided by King Otto (1837-1842), while afterwards he continued his studies in Paris. Upon his return to Greece, he was appointed to the Ministry of the Interior and participated in the construction of the Old Royal Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens and other works, while he also carried out impressions on Erechtheion in collaboration with the Archaeological Society. He was a member of the committee formed in 1860 at the initiative of the Municipal Council of Athens for the drawing up of a topographic plan of the capital. Among the buildings he designed are the Varvakeio High School (boys’ junior high school), the mansion of ancient Parliament (today’s National Historical Museum), the original building of the old Acropolis Museum, the Athens City Hall, the Municipal Nursery, the National Archaeological Museum, etc.

Greek architects, who used elements of Eclectic format in their work
Panos Karathanasopoulos, …-1925

Little information is known about P. Karathanasopoulos. We do not know the date of his birth, while his death is estimated in 1925. He was a student of E. Ziller. He was active in Athens at the beginning of the 20th century, designing a series of magnificent buildings within the capital, but also in other cities: the “Aktaion” hotel in Faliro, designed based on the morphological characteristics of the Viennese School of Renaissance Classicism, following the standards of the “Palace” of European spa towns, the “Proia” building of I. Pesmazoglou, on the ground floor of which was located the Dambergi pharmacy – famous for its wood-carved linings (at 39 Panepistimiou Street, now demolished), the Margarita villa in the Gothic style ( at the intersection of today’s Vas. Sofias and Mesogeion streets, also demolished), the neoclassical Agora of Argos, etc.

Alexandros Nikoloudis, 1874-1944

He was born in Leros. He studied Architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, from where he graduated in 1905. The academicism and aristocratic approach of the Art, that defined the School, had a decisive influence on his later career. A faithful follower of the French neo-baroque, he practiced the profession of architect in Greece with a firm adherence to the European standards of his studies. He combined four roles inextricably linked to authority, that of the freelancer, the professor (he was appointed a regular professor at the Department of Architectural Composition and Decoration of the NTUA School of Architecture in 1918), the businessman and the state adviser, developing a close relationship with Eleftherios Venizelos. He made a decisive contribution to the residential physiognomy of Athens during the first quarter of the 20th century, in a period of transition from Neoclassicism to Modernism, successfully expressing the demands of a rising middle class in Greece. Among his works, characterized by their eclectic format are included: Livieratou Mansion (Patision and Ipirou Streets, Athens), “Attikon” Cinema, Sarogleio Mansion (Armed Forces Officers’ Club) (Vasilissis Sofias and Rigillis Streets, Athens), International Hotel “Vattis  Mansion” (Miaouli Coast and Bouboulinas Streets, Piraeus), Nikoloudis Gallery (gallery between Panepistimiou and Stadiou Streets, Athens), as well as the development plan of Psychiko, the layout of the Hippodrome in Faliro, the Garden of Heroes in Messolonghi, etc.

Nikolaos Zoumboulidis, 1888-1969

He was born in Sinasos of Cappadocia. He studied at the Imperial School of Fine Arts of Constantinople, where he graduated in 1908 as an architect. Shortly afterwards he traveled to Berlin, where he attended courses at the Technische Hochschule (1910-1912). In 1915 he returned to Greece, where he initially worked as an engineer in the Municipality of Volos (1915-1917), while in the following three years he participated as an assistant to Aristidis Balanos in the projects of the National Bank of Greece (NBG) and ‘Evangelismos’ Hospital (1917-1920 ). In 1920, he was appointed to the Technical Service of NBG, which he directed from 1927, designing branches in the context of the big construction program of the National Bank during the interwar period throughout Greece. He participated with A. Evans in the archaeological excavations in Crete, incorporating decorative motifs of the Minoan and Mycenaean culture in buildings he designed, along with elements of the Classicism of the early 20th century. He was one of the founders of the suburb of Filothei and also designed the Saronida settlement in Anavyssos. Among his projects are NBG branches in Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Volos, Ioannina, Nafplio, Mytilini, Bank of Greece in Athens, etc

Vasilis Tsagris, 1882-1941

He was born in Nafplion. In 1901 he settled in Athens, as he was admitted to the Civil Engineering Department of the Metsovio National Technical University of Athens. Graduating in 1904, he was hired in the Technical Service of the Municipality of Athens, working at the same time in the office of P. Zizelos. In 1910 he moved to Vienna, where he worked in an architectural office, coming into contact with Jugendstil and the architecture of Otto Wagner, influences that would be evident after his return to Greece (1920). His works are characterized by the transitional morphology/rhythmology of Eclecticism, shortly before the appearance of the modern movement in the Neo-Hellenic architecture of the interwar period. He is considered the creator of a particular architectural personal style, the so-called “Tsagris style”, which characterized buildings of the 1920s in Athens, representing urban Athenian society and its connection to Paris, Vienna and other capitals. Among his projects are the Foreign Press Association (23 Akadimias street), the Ephesiou Mansion (28 Stadiou street), the Stavrakos Film School (26 Ioulianou street), the Highlife cinema in Piraeus, etc.