The School of Athens

“The School of Athens” is an ambition; a utopian vision of a free, open, informal, and common space for learning. It is an in-between space. Neither inside nor outside, not quite a room, but also not simply a space for circulation. It is monumental, but also generous, and almost casual. It is not a classroom, and yet we see scholars and students debating, teaching, and studying. Although we typically think of learning taking place in the classroom, educators and architects have recognized for thousands of years that learning also takes place in the space between; in the hallways, on the stairs, at the café, in the quad. Socrates taught in the Agora. Plato founded his Academy in the olive grove outside of Athens and often taught while walking. Medieval colleges were organized around a communal courtyard. 20th century universities are filled with informal learning spaces often associated with circulation, and today there is a particular fascination with designing staircases, or stepped seating spaces, as the main architectural feature of an academic commons.

Inspired by Raphael’s famous fresco, “The School of Athens” exhibition at the Greek Pavilion considers these academic common spaces as architectural specimens; objectively identified, classified, and made legible for analysis, comparison, and debate. Specifically, the exhibition showcases physical models of fifty-six different academic common spaces from across history and around the world, both realized and unrealized. By no means canonical, complete, or definitive, this selection is simply meant to provide a diverse and representative sample of compelling projects.


The National Pavilion of Greece
at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale Di Venezia

May 26 – November 25
Giardini della Biennale


Eirini Klampatsea – Ministry of Environment and Energy

Xristina Argyros & Ryan Neiheiser

Panayotis Tournikiotis, Danae Haratsis, Eleni Vagianou, Giorgio Piscitelli, Eirini Sapka, Francesco Zuddas, Bryce Suite, Typical Organization for Standards & Order, Students from the Architectural Association, Students from the National Technical University of Athens

Student Collaborators:
Nena Aru, Aggeliki Asimakopoulou, Niccolo Cesaris, Ryan Mujung Chiu, Aggelos Chouliaras, Ioannis Georgaklis, Gianna Gkioni, Theodora Giovanazzi, Alexandros Gravalos, Alexia Haluli, Grace Jeong, Xara Kaika, Penelopi Karalis, Lito Karamitsou, Georgia Kestekoglou, Kevin Larson, Nicholas Lin, Charalampos Marangos, Grigoris Mathioudakis, Christina Melissourgou, Atiyeh Naghavi, Katerina Papadopoulou, Olga Psarri, Heliciane Rallis, Panagiotis Soteriades, Maria Nefeli Stamatari, Evangelos Stampelos, Elaine Skoufi, Marianna Tsapepa, Aggeliki Tsilidi, Qiuyu Xiong, Aijie Xiong, Tommy Hexuan Yu, Chris Zhongtian Yuan, Stavros Zotos

Project Credits:
Construction – Labadarios Construction
Lighting Design – Bright Special Lighting
Typographic Design – Typical Organization for Standards & Order
Photography – Ugo Carmeni
3D Printing – Hellas3d, 3DHub

With the co-financing of Greece and the European Union

Grand Sponsor: Onassis Culture

Sponsor: Bright Special Lighting, EOT (Greek National Tourism Organisation)

Supporters: Outset Contemporary Art Fund (Greece), NEON Organization for Culture and Development, Aegean Airlines, Alpha Bank, Kraft Paints, Archeiothiki, Ancient Kallos, Hellas 3D, Anek Lines, Superfast Ferries, Domaine Evharis, Enteka S.A.

Under the Auspices of the:
Hellenic Institute of Architecture