New Annex of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Location:Vas. Sofias Av. & Academias Str., Athens
Client:Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Images:Dimitris Kalapodas
Collaborators: Pavlos Michaleas
Sector: Offices & Administration

The new annex of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a block building in short distance from the existing neoclassical ex-Syngrou Mansion designed by Ernst Ziller. In the void between the two buildings there is the ramp leading to the underground parking spaces. The building consists of seven typical offices floors and a two-storey ground floor in recess, with a foyer for officials by the narrow façade, an auxiliary entrance for the personnel and a library-reading room on the mezzanine, facing the foyer. On the first basement level there is a large amphitheatre.

Architecturally, the new wing relates to the neighbor building with the recess of its façade at the height of the old mansion. The set backs on ground level and on the last floor form the base and the crowning respectively, in relation to the spirit of the Ziller building. The order and strict structure of the annex, as well as the rhythmic repetition of the pillars and the curtain wall mullions, emphasize its public character. The dramatic contrast between the black and white tone, intensified by the structural innovation of the direct joint of the glasspanes and the marble plates on the exterior, (by which the metal frame supporting the windowpanes is rendered invisible), underlines the initial intention for a “Doric” result, an austere and frugal approach to the treatment of the façades.
The eclectic reminiscence of classical patterns on the treated ceiling panels and the crowning cornice, the surrounding portico and the third floor recess describe an attempt to create a building as “contemporary” as possible, and at the same time “classical”, but without capitals, pilasters and pediments.

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