21 FEBRUARY 2008 / Renzo Piano, internationally acclaimed architect, selected to design the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece

The Board of Directors of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has selected the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (http://www.rpbw.com), a world-renowned architectural firm, to design the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, which will include new state-of-the-art facilities for the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece, set within an Educational and Cultural Park. The public site for these three projects is near the center of Athens, Greece, adjacent to the sea, covering an approximate area of 42 acres (17 hectares, 170,000 m2).

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is to be funded exclusively by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation with an approximate budget of euro 300 million, pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding executed last summer with the Greek State. A final agreement with the Greek Government is expected to be concluded before the end of the year, upon which commencement of the work will be conditioned. Once completed, the project will be turned over to the Greek State.  
 
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center will attract patrons from Greece and around the world. Visitors, physical and virtual, will benefit from the technologically advanced library, respectful of the past and attentive to the future. In addition, the Center will provide the public with invaluable opportunities to enjoy and learn about opera and the performing arts at large. The park will offer much needed open space in the city, an ideal, “green” backdrop for the Center’s educational and cultural activities. The entire project will be designed to the highest standards of environmental sustainability.  
On behalf of his colleagues on the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Board of Directors, Andreas Dracopoulos commented, “We are delighted Renzo Piano and his Workshop will design the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. We look forward to working with Renzo and his team, offering him comprehensive support to create for our city and country a most attractive, elegant, functional, as well as internationally acclaimed, Cultural Center.”  
 
Dracopoulos further remarked, “Renzo Piano’s distinguished architecture has captured admirers around the world for more than thirty years. His creations respect a multitude of sensitivities, from local culture to consideration for the environment, and his buildings are known to achieve the often impossible balance of aesthetically captivating design and functionality. We congratulate Renzo Piano on his selection, and we are proud of his participation in this major undertaking.  We are confident Renzo’s Mediterranean roots and his deep appreciation and respect for Greece’s contributions to Western Civilization will inspire one of his most outstanding works.”  
 
For his breadth of work globally, Renzo Piano received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998 and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2008, and is known in particular for the following completed works: the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome, the New York Times Building and the renovation and expansion of the Morgan Library in New York, the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, the Kansai International Airport Terminal in Osaka, the reconstruction of the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, the redevelopment of the Genoa old harbour and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.  
 
In receiving this honor, Renzo Piano stated, “Beautiful: I have always loved the crisp light and the lively breezes of Greece: the building will have fresh air to breathe and healthy life. I grew up on the edge of the same Mediterranean sea, our pond of culture. Someone has roots in the ground. Others have keels in the water, to run. I feel home in Athens: the historical champion city of open spirit and light intelligence.” 
About Cooper, Robertson & Partners 
Responsible for managing the architect selection progress, they are a leading architecture and urban design firm.  Cooper, Robertson & Partners (www.cooperrobertson.com) is working on the Program of Requirements and a Master Plan for the project.