PRN: During Dire Times in Greece, a Beacon for a Brighter Future is Unveiled
During Dire Times in Greece, a Beacon for a Brighter Future is Unveiled
ATHENS, Greece, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- THE STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION AND RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP PRESENT THE FINAL ARCHITECTURAL PLANS FOR THE STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTER
Months in the planning, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Renzo Piano Building Workshop unveiled today the final designs for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) - a world-class cultural, educational, and recreational complex/destination and a new urban symbol of 21st century Athens. Construction is expected to start later this year, with a completion date of 2015.
"The project is very important in terms of aspirations for Greece and its people, especially during this difficult economic period," stated Stavros Niarchos Foundation Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. "The SNFCC symbolizes progress, development and innovation, but it is also a transformational project, with significant environmental, educational, cultural, economic, social, and civic consequences."
Designed by world-renowned, Pritzker Prize-winning, "Mediterranean" architect Renzo Piano and his Building Workshop, the SNFCC will enrich the daily lives of Greeks, and millions of visitors from around the world. It will include the 170,000 m2 (42-acre) Stavros Niarchos Park, a state-of-the-art headquarters for the National Library of Greece, and a new opera house for the Greek National Opera.
Overlooking the Athens waterfront, 4.5 km south of central Athens, the SNFCC honors the namesake of its surrounding community, Kallithea ("beautiful view"), by restoring open views of the sea. The Stavros Niarchos Park will comprise 85 percent of the SNFCC site, making it one of the largest green spaces in Athens, which currently has the lowest per capita green space in Europe. It will gently grade to a 32 m-high hill leading to the summit where an extension of the Agora, a glass-walled multifunctional Reading room, will facilitate the visual connection between sea and city - past, present and future. In so doing, it will also connect visually the Bay and the Acropolis, paying homage to the classical icon rising above it.
Underneath the Park, two buildings have been 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 wall of books, a functional and welcoming symbol of accessible learning, defines the character of the new National Library of Greece, which will expand its focus from an exclusive research facility to an all-inclusive public resource. The Greek National Opera will offer technological sophistication and world-class acoustics that will accommodate the most demanding productions including concerts, ballets, musicals, and more intimate solo performances. Â
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 a Canal which functions as additional anti-flooding protection for the site, to the photovoltaic solar energy canopy which produces energy for the two buildings' needs and will contribute to low building emissions. The project aims to earn Platinum or Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the first such designation in Greece and the first for a project of this scale in Europe.
The approximately euro 566 million (US$803 million) project is representative of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation's commitment to the culture, prosperity, and future of Greece, and it is developed on a site owned by the Greek State. When completed, it will be fully operated and controlled by the State, the first public-private partnership of its kind in Greece, and the largest cultural/educational project ever undertaken in the country. As one of the biggest 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.
A study of the economic and social impact of the SNFCC, conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and commissioned by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, estimated the following benefits to the project, among others:
About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation
The Stavros Niarchos FoundationÂ (http://www.SNF.org) is one of the world's leading international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and medicine, and social welfare. While prominent in its support of Greek-related initiatives, the Foundation's activities are worldwide in scope. To date, the Foundation has provided total grant commitments of euro 928 million/US $1.3 billion through more than 2,000 grants to nonprofitÂ organizationsÂ inÂ 95 nations around the world.