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Culture with a Sea View

Alaana Fitzpatrick visits this Athens project by Italian architect, Renzo Piano.

Culture with a Sea View


October 8th, 2009

Only 3km south of central Athens, a new cultural centre – gifted to the city by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation – is set to combine education, culture and public space with utter respect for the environment.

Italian architect, Renzo Piano has been enlisted to expose the full potential of the area, which was used for parking during the 2004 Athens Olympics. His holistic solution for the new complex will build the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera into a destination of their own, and link the two via a number of cascading outdoor spaces.

Piano has re-established the relationship of the site with the Faliron Delta by excavating an artificial hill to provide a prime vantage over the water and using transparency as a major feature in the structures. A canal will run along the main pedestrian strip past the library and opera house and up to the northern most tip of a vast park.

A 10,000m2 sloping roof, which will shelter the library’s generous reading room, is to be covered with photovoltaic cells to assist the complex’s target for zero emissions and energy self-sufficiency – also supported by systems of natural ventilation and progressive environmental technologies.

However, the success of the 166,000m2 project relies upon Kallithea’s proximity to the Greek capital combined with the incredible outlook over the sea. And with over 120,000m2 of green space to make the most of the stunning location, this will no doubt become yet another key drawcard to Greece’s culturally-rich capital.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop



















All Images: Copyright RPBW

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