Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre by Renzo Piano

Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre by Renzo PianoImage courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre by Renzo Piano

Italian architect Renzo Piano has finished a major new park, library and theatre complex in Athens, following one of the largest donations for a cultural building project in history. Located in the Kallithea district in the south of the Greek capital, the huge Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre creates new homes for the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, tucked beneath a new 170,000-square-metre sloping park and beside a 400-metre-long rectangular lake.

 

Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre by Renzo PianoImage courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop

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The brief was to transform a former parking lot left over from the 2004 Olympic Games, the abandoned stadia of which still dot the bay beyond the complex. The firm’s first move was to a create a huge artificial hill that rises towards the south end of the site, creating a view of the sea that once lapped the bay of Kallithea but which has long since been pushed out of sight by development and a major highway. The new sloping park, planted with indigenous Greek plants to designs by New York landscape designer Deborah Nevins, forms the roof of the opera house and library.

 

Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre by Renzo PianoImage courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop

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The top of the artificial hill, which rises to 32 metres, is capped by a paper-thin roof held aloft by slender columns. The 100×100 roof, dubbed the “flying carpet” by Piano, is topped by a hectare of photovoltaic panels that generate 2.5 megawatts to power the building. Beneath its shade-giving expanse is yet more sloping public space plus a large glass-walled reading room called the Lighthouse. At ground level, the opera and the library are organised around a public plaza known as the agora – a reference to the central gathering spaces in Ancient Greek cities.

 

more. rpbw.com

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