THE PREMISES

Stathatos Mansion

The Stathatos Mansion houses temporary exhibitions and the offices of the museum. The building is accessible both from the corner of Vasilissis Sophias Avenue and Irodotou Street, and from the Main Building, via a closed passageway leading from the atrium.

Work of the Bavarian architect Ernst Ziller, the mansion one of the most important extant examples of Neoclassical architecture in nineteenth-century Athens. It was built in 1895 as the residence of the family of Othon and Athina Stathatos, to whom it belonged until 1938. It subsequently housed diplomatic representations of various states.

In 1982 it was purchased by the Greek State and was restored and refurbished by the architect P. Kalligas, with a view to its use as accommodation for VIP guests of the State.

For various reasons this plan was abandoned and in 1991 the building was leased to the MCA, in order to cover its increased needs for exhibition space.

In 2001 the Greek State decided to concede its use for another 50 years to the N.P. Goulandris Foundation, to facilitate the operation of the museum.

Images

The Stathatos Mansion gracefully combines elements of Greek and Roman architecture with the canons of Romantic Classicism, prevailing in nineteenth-century Europe. The building is articulated with two virtually identical fronts, which meet at a monumental porch of Renaissance form. The entrance is emphasized by an arched facade supporting a balcony on the first floor, as well as by two female statues -goddess Athena and Nike- crowning the roof.


A marble staircase leads up to the elevated ground floor of the mansion, to the dining room and the main drawing room, as well as a cast-iron rotunda axial to the entrance. No alterations have been made to these rooms, which have retained their original gilded stucco mural decorations, chandeliers, and fireplaces (during exhibitions parts of these are covered by wooden revetments).


A grand staircase leads to the first floor and what were originally the bedchambers. Today these rooms have been appropriately arranged to host temporary exhibitions, while the fireplaces and other decorative features have been covered with movable wooden panels.


The basement of the mansion, which once housed the kitchen and ancillary rooms, now accommodates the offices and services of the MCA. At the far end of the garden, to the right of the main entrance, is an out-building which was the carriage house, stable, and servants’ quarters. This property does not belong to the MCA and houses public services.


Ziller’s original signed plans of the Stathatos Mansion are kept in the National Art Gallery in Athens, while facsimiles are part of the MCA collection.