The article deals with the "Pavillon de la Grèce": a modern building inspired by Byzantine architecture, designed by French architect Lucien Magne for the Paris 1900 Expo and shortly afterward transferred to Athens, where it functioned as a church. The transfer of this pavilion signaled a key moment in Greek architecture's transition from a Neoclassical paradigm to one based on the country's Byzantine heritage.
The text will mainly focus on the pavilion's design and construction in Paris, its reception in the French and Greek press, and, finally, the circumstances of its transfer and reconstruction in Athens. To contextualize this within a broader historical perspective, it also touches upon the building's roots in the preceding French archaeology in Greece during the nineteenth century, as well as its current situation and perception in contemporary Athens.
By examining a series of material and cognitive transfers of Byzantine heritage between France and Greece of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, this essay argues that xi this Neo-Byzantine pavilion, although modern and subversive in its conception in Paris, was eventually received in Greece as traditional, a renaissance rather than a break with the past.