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History of the School of Architecture and the NTUA

1.1. Architectural Studies in the 'Technical School' (1836-1864)

The NTUA developed out of the former "Technical School" which was founded on 31-12-1836, just after the nomination of Athens as the new capital of Greece. Since its foundation, the 'Technical School' focused on architectural education considering "the influence which architecture has on political life in general " (as it is underlined in its founding Decree), at a time when the new state was being constituted.

Famous European architects like Christian and Theophil Hansen were invited to teach Architectural and Free Hand Drawing as well as Elements of Architectural Design during the first years of the 'Technical School', that is until 1843, when a state reform prohibited foreigners from state services. Lysandros Kaftatzoglou (1844-1862), the most creative architect of the first period of classicism, was appointed Head of the 'School of Arts' by King Otto. Kaftatzoglou, a typical representative of European academic architecture, found problematic the low level of higher education in Greece. However, he was aware that an overall upgrading of architectural studies demanded a very high standard (complete knowledge of ancient orders, history, philosophy, etc.) which was hard to achieve.

In this context the educational limitations of the 'School of Arts' could not grant to its graduates the title of architect, but only that of 'prototect' (or foreman) who would supervise large scale public works. Thus, until the beginning of the 1860s priority was given to 'practical' rather than 'academic' training of architects, with an emphasis on drawing courses, along with a curriculum rich in art courses, such as statue drawing, painting, plastic arts etc, taught by exceptional professors. The first 'Art School' and the 'Art Gallery', already established in 1840, became relatively autonomous and were combined with the establishment of the 'School of Fine Arts' during the reorganisation of the Polytechnic in 1863. The following period, coinciding with the early reign of King George I, was an important one for the advancement of architectural studies in Greece.

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