The architect who changed Greece

The architect who changed Greece
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Posted by Greeka on 13 Jan 2010

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He is the architect that changed the style of Athens and many other Greek cities. He first introduced central heating and artificial ventilation in Athens, the first to use iron holdings in the roofs. He signed and supervised 500 buildings all over the country, such as the National Theatre, the City Hall of Ermoupolis Syros, the Apollo Theatre in Patra and the Presidential Residence.

Ernst Ziller (1837-1923) and his designs are the objects of the new exhibition that the Greek National Gallery will organize from the end of March till September 2010. The National Gallery obtained a large part of his archives in 1961 in a fairly competitive price, as said Dr Marilena Kassimatis, who organizes the exhibition.

In the rooms of the National Gallery, visitors will see Kotzia Square with Melas Mansion, Panepistimiou Avenue with the Numismatic Museum (Iliou Melathron Mansion) and other buildings in Athens, Pyrgos and Egio. The facades of the buildings will be in almost natural size and their open doors will lead to the back side with low lightening, where the designs of Ernst Ziller will be exhibited. In the ground floor, an urban square will be set with numerous private and public buildings he designed.

Ziller came in Athens at the age of 24 to supervise the construction of the Academy of Athens on present Panepistimiou Av, invited by another famous architect, the Danish Theophil von Hansen. He soon became the favourite architect of the bourgeoisie and undertook the construction of many public and private buildings. The Neoclassical architecture had already been established in Athens by the Bavarian royals but this Saxon architect combined elements of Neoclassical, classical and Byzantine style in his designs. The exhibition also includes rare photos, letters of Ziller, designs of uncompleted works, such as studies for the lightening of the Parthenon, and a short autobiography.

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