It is my honest belief that Athens is going through a revival phase; this is a capital that not only has great history and culture, but it also counts many contemporary gems that have marked a new era for this city. Certainly, one of the most breathtaking new additions is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, an urban, multifunctional complex of creativity, culture and recreation that signifies civic pride at its best!
Located in the Municipality of Kallithea, in Athens, it was developed through an exclusive grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (architect of the Centre Pompidou). The grant included the construction and complete outfitting of the new facilities for the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera (both to relocate to their new premises at the SNFCC in Fall 2017), as well as the creation of the 210.000 sqm Stavros Niarchos Park.
With a plethora of pine and olive trees, as well as seasonal traditional herbs and flowers, like oregano and rose bushes, the Stavros Niarchos Park is arguably the most impressive exterior feature of the SNFCC complex. The architect Renzo Piano did not only emphasize the aesthetical pleasure of the park, but he also managed to integrate the virtues of Greece’s plentiful supply of solar power, practicality and sustainability, combined with a cultural message, as the building is entirely run by the power produced by the sun.
The Greek National Opera, on the other hand, a 28,000 m2 (301,000 sq. ft.) building , with the Lighthouse situated on the 8th floor, is an amazing multi-use venue capable of hosting a variety of performances and events. This architectural jewel will become an exciting destination for music lovers and architecture cognoscenti alike. Opera productions, musicals, concerts, theater performances, ballets, and multimedia art programs will be accomondated on its stages. Additionally, the National Library of Greece, will offer a spectular 360 view of the city, from the Acropolis, Lycabetus Hill and Tourkovounia to the Mediterranean sea, landscapes that ultimately constitute the uniqueness of Athens!
It is worth noting that all sporting, educational and cultural events and activities taking place at the SNFCC are free of charge, thanks to the exclusive support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This gives visitors from Greece and around the world the opportunity to get to know the SNFCC and its facilities, enjoy its surroundings and get introduced to the breadth of its programming potential and its role as an urban destination.
* You can find more about the February schedule of events here: http://www.snfcc.org/visitors-center/events/
*Openic Photo © SNF / Yiorgis Yerolymbos.