The Historical Building on Bouboulinas Street

The building situated at 20-22, Bouboulinas Street behind the National Archaeological Museum is definitely impressive as it takes up an entire neighborhood block, but besides the obvious architectural interest, it has a rather bleak and dark past. This apartment building was used during the axis occupation for various atrocities that mainly took place on the rooftop, where inmates were regularly tortured. Today the building houses the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The building was built in 1932 based on architectural plans by Kyprianos Biris, who later on became a professor at the National Polytechnic University of Athens. The building towers over the museum at 5 floors tall and has two arcades including 3 indoor atriums helping sufficient light and air flood in and reach the 46 apartments in total. It was also one of the first buildings to have the so called “Erker” forms with linear windows that protrude in a box like manner from the façade and when opened give off the impression of a balcony. The apartment building is situated on the crossroads of 3 streets, Bouboulinas, Kountourioti and Zaimi. A good example of early modernism in architecture which blossomed during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, using simplified architectural lines, minimal shapes, clear forms without any unnecessary details. Spaces are created to cater to the needs of the modern urban dweller without any stylistic exaggerations adopting a “form follows function” dictum that accentuates the actual utility of form over superfluous design. Early modernism in architecture was characteristically expressed by Le Corbusier in France , Constructivism in Russia, Bauhaus architecture in Germany with Walter Gropius as the founder of the Bauhaus school in Berlin that was shut down during the rise of Hitler in the 1930’s.

 

 

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