Gallery: Renzo Piano Unveils Green-Roofed Stavros Niarchos Foundation C...

The top of the complex emerges from a hilltop and cantilevers out over the slope. It is covered with a large green roof that connects directly to the park.

The cultural center has been in the works since 2009, but the final plans were only just revealed at the end of June. The SNFCC overlooks the Athens’ waterfront and will house a new opera house for the Greek National Opera, as well as the state-of-the-art headquarters for the National Library of Greece. The cultural center will sit on the site of the 42-acre Stavros Niarchos Park, also designed by Renzo Piano, to provide green and recreational spaces for the city. Paying homage to the historic culture and architecture of Athens, Piano has designed the complex as a contemporary Agora.

The top of the complex emerges from a hilltop and cantilevers out over the slope and is covered with a large green roof that connects directly to the park. One of the goals of the complex is to achieve LEED Platinum certification, making it the first to do so in Greece. As part of its sustainability plan, the SNFCC features a canal that functions as anti-flooding protection for the site, as well as a water recycling system that provides for on-site irrigation. A green roof above the structure offers shade and cooling, and a 2.5 acre solar photovoltaic system will be set atop to generate power for both the library and opera.

Construction is expected to start later this year and be completed in 2015, when the government will assume control of the center.

Privately funded, the US$803 million cultural center is expected to be a world-class cultural, educational, and recreational destination and a new urban symbol of 21st century Athens.

+ Renzo Piano Building Workshop

+ Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Via Architectural Record


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  1. Kon Sevastopoulos August 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Excellent news Athens needs as many green parks as is possible, let’s hope this is just a start…..

  2. svolosjohn October 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    After almost two centuries of modern free-state life (1830-2012), and almost four decades of post-military-regime (1974-2012 democratic political life during which Greek cultural life had turned increasingly populist, Athens is about to be given a proper opera house and a proper national library, both of which will be housed in an edifice whose plans are signed by a real international architect. At last a no “no-name” architectural landmark for culture! This will not be just another convention center. What will happen when it is delivered to the Greek State in 2016 or 2017 is another discussion which is too untimely to begin. Culture and aesthetics of public space are no luxury.

  3. lazyreader July 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Niarchos famous shipping business was responsible for the development of the oil supertanker. I wonder how many spills he may have caused for not double hulling his tankers. I thought Greece was totally broke. 803 million? When the government assumes control of the installation, it’ll just be another mouth to feed out of the expense of the Greek tax payer. It’s nice to know private funds payed for it so why don’t they maintain it? Because it’s too expensive to operate and clean a largely idle facility which is essentially a convention center for the few who can play instruments or paint or act. The effect is similar in America. This is just another example of convention center madness; cities all over the U.S. building newer and bigger convention centers, and since there is a surplus of convention center space then there are actual conventions and surprisingly not enough anime fans and Trekkie’s to fill em all. Overall the demand for convention centers is declining because business are now hosting conferences on site, or outdoor fair’s or pavilions which can be set up cheaply, quickly and easily in and around shopping malls or parking lots. Hotels have ball rooms or entire floors devoted to conferences so you don’t need 2 million square feet of precious downtown space (which is where new convention centers are often built) to attract the next Comic-Con. City governments should get out of the convention industry and let the private sector handle it the way they do so well……profitably. I’m happy the Greeks have a sophisticated culture, but this is not the time for spending money for such extravagance. Why not let user fees fund the center for shows and plays and concerts and if they revenues don’t pay for the centers upkeep maybe they should downscale the center.

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