The 1961 chancery building in Athens was designed by modernist architect Walter Gropius. The steel and concrete structure, a square with center courtyard, includes white, black, and grey marble sourced from Greece. A state department document states, "The Athens Chancery remains a fresh and optimistic bow to the classical ideal and one of the most prominent Bauhaus buildings in Greece."
The Boston firm selected for the renovation, as Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson wrote in ARCHITECT in 2011, "is known for dusting off forgotten buildings and marshalling them into the present day." The state department press release announcing the selection stated that ABA "conveyed a sophisticated understanding of the issues involved in renovating historically significant buildings and experience with rehabilitation of complex mid-century modern structures."
ABA was selected from a design competition shortlist that also included DesignLab Architects, Machado and Silvetti Associates / Baker, and Mark Cavagnero Associates, out of 56 initial accepted entries.