Renzo Piano Designs Massive Cultural Facility
Slated for completion in 2015, the project comes with an approximate price tag of nearly $600 million.
Nicholas Tamarin -- Interior Design, 2/13/2009 12:00:00 AM
Greeks are famous for tragedies, but certainly no tears will be shed over Renzo Piano Building Workshop's impressive plans for the Stravros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, a 2-million-square-foot-plus building and park that will house the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera.
Funded by the eponymous foundation of the late Greek shipping magnate, the center will be located on the sea in the Faliron Delta area of Athens. RPBW's design calls for a canal to run parallel to the site's existing esplanade, providing both flood protection and a scenic backdrop for an outdoor gathering space.
The center’s roof will be covered in a series of interconnected photovoltaic cell panels that harvest solar and wind energy, a move that is expected to help make the facility emissions-neutral, and contribute toward LEED certification. Once completed in 2015, at an approximate price tag of nearly $600 million, the center will be turned over to the Greek state.
"The Cultural Center's proximity to water, and the natural warm breezes and light of Athens were particularly inspiring during the design process," says Renzo Piano. "It was immediately clear that we must take advantage of all these elements to ultimately design a zero-emissions building that expresses movement and energy."
But before the Athens groundbreaking, Piano has an opening to attend on these shores: the May 16 debut of his design of the Art Institute of Chicago's new modern wing, the largest addition in the institution's history.