In 1861 a young German architect arrived in Athens accompanying his teacher,Th. von Hansen, who was erecting public buildings in this city. His name was Ernst Ziller, and he was the descendant of a family of masons. His intellectual development had been influenced by the humanistic and philhellenic spirit of Dresden. He had also learned much during his stay in Leipzig, one of the chief centers of ancient Greek studies and publications.

Although he had won the first prize in an international architectural competition for the design of buildings to be constructed in Tiflis, Caucasus, he accepted his former teacher's proposal to work as an architect in Athens supervising the erection of Hansen's buildings, mainly of the Academy and of the National Library.

He dreamt of beautifying Athens and of initiating his contemporaries to the meaning of classical-romantic architecture. In order to realize these aspirations as perfectly as possible, he traveled to Italy and Austria. In Rome, Florence, Mantua and Verona he studied the Renais*sance architecture of these cities and made drawings of the decorative motifs used. Afterwards, in Vienna, he attended the Akademie der bildenden Kuenste (Academy of Fine Arts), where he completed his architectural studies and perfected his technique in painting.

In 1864 he returned to Greece and started producing his own creative work. The ancient ruins with their clarity of form and perfection provided the ideal environment in which to create the buildings of classical-romantic Athens. As a result, the sense of pride inherent in the ancient marble masterpieces and the spirit of freedom prevalent in the country after the Greeks' struggle for independence from the Turks were transmitted to many of the new country's buildings.

Ziller's architectural out-put was quite varied. His most inspired work is manifested in pub*lic buildings, churches, monuments, houses and villas. However, the buildings that changed face of the city more than any others were the hundreds of houses he designed, which were a harmonious blend of originality, consciousness of contemporary trends and respect for the environment. "Ilion Palace" (Schliemann's house), the German and Austrian Archaeological Institutes, the Palace, the National Theatre and the Central Post Office are considered to be classic examples of Ziller's work.

Ziller's facades are dominated by a classical Greek revivalist style, particularly admirable in the facade of the National Theatre (1894), which creates an impression of spatial independence and seems to express national pride. The exterior and interior are in close harmony (orchestra, stage and balconies). Ziller transported here the auditorium of ancient Greek theatres. Inside, the corridors, the staircase, the clearly but lightly defined seats and perfect acoustics make this edifice one of the best examples of European theatrical architecture. Equally noteworthy are Ziller's other theatres: those of Zakynthos (1871-1872) and Patras (1888), and the Municipal Theatre of Athens, which was later demolished.

Ziller's churches are in an entirely different style. Nineteenth-century romantic literature had filled artists with a medieval spirit and had sparked a sudden admiration for Gothic architec*ture. Ziller was not indifferent to these tendencies. As a Protestant, he saw the church not only as a profound religious and ethical symbol, but also as an architectural form readily influenced by contemporary European tendencies. For Ziller, the church was both a place for the worship of God and the temple of a new art which was making its first appearance in Greece.

His first church, combining theory and reason, was the church of Velio which has the least number of Renaissance elements of all his churches. It follows Byzantine tradition except that its dome is higher and narrower than the domes of most post-Byzantine churches. On the other hand, the Church of Phaneromeni in Aigion is a distinct example of Renaissance tradition, with its high dome soaring skyward and framed by four belfries. Its doors and windows are slightly reminiscent of Gothic architecture.

The Church of Eisodia in Aigion and the church of Villia have many Renaissance and Gothic features, including their staircases, the decorative elements of their small towers and their high imposing domes.

With St. Athanasios' Church in Pyrgos, Ziller returned to the simpler form. The last church he designed is Trinity Church on Piraeus Street, Athens. Here there is no front exterior stair*case leading to the part reserved for women.

Another type of church is that of the church-mausoleum. Two typical examples are the Church of St. George of the Hatziconstas Orphanage and the project for the Church of St. George on Lycabettus Hill.

At that time in Western Europe a new kind of building complex had become fashionable, bringing together libraries, museums, theatres, monuments and other cultural buildings. Ziller designed such a complex to crown Lycabettus Hill (1885). It consisted of a church, fountains, pavilions, a restaurant, a cafe, a library, statues and monuments. Here he tried to combine European architectural style with the local spirit, in the aspiration of presenting the "new" Athens to its inhabitants from an embellished Lycabettus Hill. However, his dreams were not to be rea*lized.

The architects Gilly, Schinkel, Klenze and Hallerstein had based their design of
Germanys National Monument on the ancient Greek temple. Following their example, Ziller designed the monuments of the union of Crete with Greece and the monument of Mytilene using the monument of Lysicrates as a model.

While observing the development of architectural trends in Germany, Ziller noticed that in Athens, too, the number of houses built for the rich was increasing. The contemporary Athenian had certain demands as a result of new living conditions, and also a certain tendency towards ostentation. Aware of this, Ziller created luxurious houses with arched doors, Ionic columns, towers, balconies and statues on their parapets. Examples of this type of building are the Melas house (now the Central Post Office), the German Archeological Institute, the highly decorated Vougas residence, the branch of the National Bank in Piraeus and the Stathatos mansion. Their design is typical of that which was to prevail for two generations: two-storied facades with columns below and half-columns above, and groups of paired figures. There are features of ancient Greek, Roman and Renaissance styles, imitated in neo-classical architecture.

Meanwhile new methods in European architecture and the facilities offered by industry paved the way for the "new architecture" towards which Ziiler's work leaned from the be*ginning of the present century. This tendency towards a simpler, less pretentious structure was also the result of the occurrence of earthquakes. After the destructive earthquakes of 1894, Ziller faced the problem of producing structures which would withstand earthquakes. Con*sequently he devoted his talents to serving contemporary needs. The Pesmazoglou mansion is a typical example of this new style. It has many entrances with independent staircases leading to separate apartments. The elaborately decorated facades, which created an impression of movement in Ziiler's earlier designs, have now disappeared. The clear lines of the Pesmazoglou mansion form the outline of a cube. This is Ziiler's new architectural style.

With the urban expansion of Athens many small private houses were constructed. Mostly two-storied, with bright facades, clarity of form and a few simple decorative elements, they were erected alongside the imposing public buildings.

Ziiler's villas and country houses, however, are quite different. Here the Saxon tradition is apparent. Wooden gables, small exterior staircases and iron railings recall the country houses of Saxony.

All the decorative and functional elements of Ziiler's houses were imitated from Renaissan*ce and mannerist European houses. Inhisdiaryhe himself wrote that the houses of Venice were his models.His main decoration symbol was Swastika; until today we can observe this holy symbol on ironwork and roofpaintings of Ilion House ( the residence of Erich Schliemann in centre of Athens). In a series of water-color paintings, Ziiler's talents both as an artist and as a decorator are apparent.The combinations and evolution of his colors are based on Hittorf's famous book Architecture polychrome chez les Grecs. The warm colors which cover the walls of the study of Schliemann's house are separated by decorative friezes resembling those of ancient Greek art. In his decoration of walls and ceilings, Ziller was inspired by the first and second Pompeian styles, but the clarity of the light of Attica led Ziller to use brighter hues. These works are im*pressive for their precision and thoroughness.

Detailed drawings and the adaptation of the interior of the house to the needs of its occupants characterize Ziiler's furniture designs. They were inspired by the rich vase painting of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. Combining ancient Greek and Roman styles, his doors and screens

became elements of interior decoration. The ancient throne, seat of the gods and of the dead, is represented in the mannerist Baroque style, white the design of the back of another throne reveals all the festive majesty of this ceremonial seat.

Besides being a school-architect, Ziller was also an archaeologist. The essays he published in several journals, his excavation and restorations of ancient monuments demonstrate his erudi*tion, his humanistic education and his sensibility as an archaeologist. He had a profound know*ledge of his subjects, as is seen in his restoration of the cella of the Parthenon with the statue of Athena and his notes on the colors of the entablature of this temple and of the Propylaea. He was responsible for discovering the stadium of Athens, and was also the first serious student of the ancient theatre of Dionysius. He was also the first excavator of Troja, before Schliemann.

His technical knowledge brought him a professorship at the Athens Polytechnic School. He continued to work for the Modern Greek Renaissance and embellished the city with the most beautiful houses Athens had seen since the liberation from the Turks.

However, the two Balkan wars had already influenced Greek architecture. Now the engineer began to play a more important role. In addition, the arrival of 300,000 refugees from Asia Minor created enormous urban problems. In 1923 the curtain of the Athens Municipal Theatre fell for the last time. This theatre was to provide shelter for the homeless. At the end of the same year Ziiler died.

Ziller, the scholar architect, was a worthy imitator of the purity of form and balanced recti*linear outlines of ancient Greek architecture, with its subjectivity, concept and eloquence.

The brilliance of Ziller's architecture and the extent of his work resulted from his study of contemporary European architectural and social trends and their adaptation to the Greek style. He created the modern Greek Renaissance, combining two phases of architectural history: the ancient Greek and Roman styles.