Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

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Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
Κέντρο Πολιτισμού Ίδρυμα Σταύρος Νιάρχος
SNFCC - logo (2011).svg
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center - 52035330487.jpg
General information
TypeCultural Center
LocationAthens, Greece
OwnerHellenic Republic (Greek State)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Renzo Piano
Architecture firmRenzo Piano Building Workshop

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (Greek: Κέντρο Πολιτισμού Ίδρυμα Σταύρος Νιάρχος) is a complex in the bay of Faliro in Athens which includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Greek National Opera (GNO), as well as the 210,000 m2 (2,300,000 sq ft) Stavros Niarchos Park. The center was designed by architect Renzo Piano and its construction was funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The $861 million project was completed in 2016, and was donated to the Greek state in 2017.

The project[edit]

Plans for a big scale donation by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation started in 1998. Initially the foundation planned to make separate donations to the National Library and the National Opera. In 2006 it was decided to build one complex for both organizations and after discussions with the Greek state the area of the former horse racing (Hippodrome) track was chosen. In 2008 the foundation chose Italian architect Renzo Piano to design the complex and in 2012 construction works started.

The building[edit]

Renzo Piano envisaged the SNFCC rising out of the ground like a dislodged piece of the earth's crust. As a result, an artificial hill is constructed and the roof of both the library and the opera house is emerging from it maintaining the slope. The library is lower and the ‘hill’ concludes with the opera house. The roof of the library will be covered with ground material [1] and planted with indigenous Greek plants.[2] On top of the opera house there will be a canopy supported on thin steel columns. According to Piano, "the canopy represents a cloud hovering over the highest point of the hill".[3][4] The roof of the building is covered with a 100x100 meter photovoltaic field, generating around 3 GWh per year.[5] The roof is suspended with dampers to increase its resilience during hurricanes.[6][7]

The design for the National Opera includes a 1,400-seat opera auditorium[8] and a 400-seat black box theatre.

The SNFCC was nominated for the international prize for architecture, RIBA International Prize 2018, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects. It is the only Greek nominee among 62 buildings in 30 countries.[9]

Other information[edit]

During his visit to Athens, Greece (November 15–16, 2016), the former US President Barack Obama gave a speech at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, covering the impact of democracy.[10][11]

Plans for the Athens Metro to reach Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center were announced in 2021.[12]


  1. ^ *(in Greek) (17 October 2013). "Κέντρου Πολιτισμού - Iδρυμα Στ. Νιάρχος: κατασκευή με τεχνολογία αιχμής". Καθημερινή. Retrieved 17 June 2014
  2. ^ "Renzo Piano completes Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center". Dezeen. 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  3. ^ Ike Ijeh (7 November 2013). Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre roof, Athens. Retrieved 17 June 2014
  4. ^ "interactive, panoramic Google Street View image of the cultural center". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  5. ^ "10,000sqm Solar Canopy in Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre". Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  6. ^ Manos, G. C.; Katakalos, K.; Kotoulas, L.; Koidis, G.; Kyprioti, K.; Kourtidis, V. (1 April 2019). "The suspended roof of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) at Athens, Greece: Laboratory tests and numerical simulations". Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering. 119: 408–421. doi:10.1016/j.soildyn.2018.03.019. S2CID 135352283.
  7. ^ ., Ike (2013-11-07). "Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre roof, Athens". Building.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Interactive, panoramic Google Street View image of the opera auditorium". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  9. ^ "RIBA reveals 62 projects vying to be named world's best new building". Dezeen. 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  10. ^ Lederman, Josh (November 16, 2016). "Obama urges nations not to give in to isolationist impulses". KWWL. Archived from the original on November 17, 2016. President Barack Obama and Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, right, greet guest as they make their way to their seats to begin a State Dinner at the Presidential Mansion
  11. ^ Maltezou, Renee (November 16, 2016). "Obama says confident U.S. will continue commitment to NATO". Reuters. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  12. ^ Newsroom. "Athens Metro presents extensions on its three lines |". Retrieved 2022-11-09.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°56′23″N 23°41′30″E / 37.93972°N 23.69167°E / 37.93972; 23.69167