In 1983, V.K. Sgoutas Design Group led a team of interdisciplinary consultants for the complete renovation, restoration and conversion of Zappeion Palace, a listed building in the heart of Athens close to the Greek Parliament and adjoining the National Gardens, It was built in 1878 on the design of Danish architect Theophil von Hansen, who had modified the initial drawings of French architect François Boulanger.
The Zappeion conversion was carried out to meet the needs of the Greek Presidency of the EEC. The new layout included reception areas (internal and external) for the delegations, four main plenary session halls with state-of-the-art press and interpreting facilities, many smaller meeting and delegation rooms for the member country representatives, press rooms and administration areas totalling in all 8000m² of covered space including the two internal courts, one of which was turned into a garden, while the other housed television installations.
Minimal interventions were made to the facades and the internal courts, thus respecting the imposing neoclassical architecture of Zappeion Palace which is an Athens landmark. Internally, the room-in-room concept was applied in order to minimise the impact of the new works on the original architectural elements. Materials and textures were selected to be in harmony with the architecture of the original building.
The design of the semicircular part of the building, which represents over a third of the total surface area, did not adhere to this principle. With the exception of its external walls and openings which were retained intact, the inner part was totally revamped. The high ceiling height allowed for the “insertion” of a mezzanine level, its steel structure remaining visible. Bold primary colours were used throughout, contrasting sharply with the more conventional aesthetics of the areas used by state officials and delegates.
V. K. Sgoutas Design Group