V. Melas Mansion
Today the Cultural and Administrative Centre of the National Bank of
City Hall (Kotzia) Square, Aiolou-Sofokleous-Streit,
Athens 1884-87 and 1976-88
Ernst Ziller (1837-1923)
Architects of the stylistic restoration and conversion
of the building (1976-88):
The eclecticist mansion of Vassilios Melas, the largest
Athenian residence of its time, is one of the most significant works
in the architectural heritage left by Ernst Ziller. The buildings
owner, V. G. Melas called it the "Great House" and bequeathed
its revenues to fund the Melas Bequests Committee that built schools
all over Greece.
The building operated as the Athenian Club up to the end of the 19th
century when it was destroyed by fire. After it was repaired, it was
home for 72 years to the Hellenic Post Office (1900-72). Today the Melas
Mansion has been leased for 50 years by the National Bank.
The architects of the National Banks Technical Service, Dionysis
Vlachopoulos and Grigoris Tsiveriotis, besides converting the building
into the Banks cultural and administrative centre, also conducted
its stylistic restoration, as various interventions from the past had
altered its initial form.
The magnificent façade has a symmetrical three-part layout with
two small projecting towers at the corners. In terms of height, it is
divided into base, trunk and crown. The base includes the ground floor
which has openings and an entranceway flanked by columns. The trunk,
which is separated from the base by the imaginary horizontal line of
the balconies on the first floor openings, occupies the first two floors.
The crown was initially defined by the cornice and parapets, and the
corner towers rose one floor higher. Later a third floor was added between
The interior is dominated by the main hall that was initially an inner
courtyard. The area is covered by a glass roof and has an Ionic colonnade
on the ground floor and a Corinthian one on the upper floor.