Today we are providing our ArchDaily readers with an update for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architects. The sustainable arts, education, and recreation complex aims to enrich the everyday lives of its surrounding community and attract millions of visitors from around the world. As we previously shared the project will be financed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and has an anticipated 2015 completion date.
The striking ecological and architectural achievement includes the 170,000 m2 (42 acre) Stavros Niarchos Park, a state-of-the-art, new building for the National Library of Greece (NLG) and a world-class opera house for the Greek National Opera (GNO).
Overlooking the Athens waterfront 4.5 km south of central Athens on the edge of Faliro Bay, the SNFCC site honors the namesake of its surrounding community, Kallithea (“beautiful view”), by restoring the original open views of the sea. The Stavros Niarchos Park knits the surrounding neighborhoods back together, reflecting their street grid in its design. The Park gently grades to a 32 m (105 ft.)-high hill leading to the summit where a glass structure, the Lighthouse/Reading Room, facilitates the visual connection between sea and city, past, present and future.
Renowned architect Renzo Piano has designed an icon that represents the aspirations of Greeks in the third millennium by incorporating essential elements of the national ecology – the sea, sun, stone, and earth. A beacon of sustainability is borne out in every aspect of the design—from the Park, which also functions as a green roof for the National Library and Greek National Opera, to the canal which can also function as an additional anti-flooding measure to the whole site, to the photovoltaic canopy which produces energy for the two buildings’ needs and contributes to the goal of low emissions.
The approximately €566 million (US$803 million) project is a culmination of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s commitment to the culture, prosperity, and future of Greece. This is the first public-private partnership of its kind in Greece, and the largest cultural/educational project ever undertaken in the country. When completed, it will be fully operated and controlled by the Greek State. As one of the largest construction projects in recent Greek history, the Center will have an immediate impact on the local economy, providing jobs and infusing capital into a challenging economic climate.
Intrinsically designed to draw visitors, the SNFCC extols the public benefit of community and of urban civic spaces. Tree-lined side streets entice visitors into the Park. Once visitors are inside the Park, a host of spectacles and access to arts and educational programs entices them to explore, discover and learn.
Underneath the Park, two buildings have been brilliantly combined into one fluid, glass-walled structure, sculpted to include an urban Agora – both a gathering place and a portal to the National Library and Greek National Opera. An iconographic tower of books, a functional and welcoming symbol of accessible learning, defines the character of the new National Library of Greece, which will offer a plethora of public services and will include a lending library, while serving as a center of research and scholarship. The Greek Na- tional Opera will offer technological sophistication and acoustic perfection that will accommodate the most demanding productions including ballets, concerts, musicals, and more intimate solo performances. A world-class cultural resource, a gift to a community, a beacon of sustain- ability, a tribute to a legacy, a symbol of the future… WELCOME TO THE STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTER.