The building was designed by the French architect Albert Galleron. It was build between 1886 and 1897 on the site of a little park called Episcopal Garden, belonging to noble family Văcărescu. The building was officially inaugurated 1888, on February 14.
Initially, the Romanian Atheneum housed the Art Gallery of the State. The pictures which were exhibited there are now at the National Romanian Museum of Art.
The Athenaeum looks like an ionic temple, with six front and two side columns. The entrace has the same proportions as the entrace of the Erechteion Temple on the Acropolis. Today, the Romanian Athenaeum is a representative building for architecture in Romania.