The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center: Three Years of Progress
27 October 2009

On October 29th, 2006, while celebrating a 10-year presence in the Greek and international philanthropic community, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation announced its intention to proceed with the Foundation’s largest individual grant, a project of national significance.

On October 29th, 2006, while celebrating a 10-year presence in the Greek and international philanthropic community, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation announced its intention to proceed with the Foundation’s largest individual grant, a project of national significance. The project, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), would provide full funding for the design, construction, and equipping of new buildings for the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera and for a metropolitan educational and cultural park to house the cultural institutions, the Stavros Niarchos Park, which would cover more than 150,000 m2.

Since that fall date three years ago, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has taken important steps to ensure the project’s successful implementation. The Greek state, the ultimate beneficiary of the grant, has been a close partner during the planning process. A dedicated Government Committee and close collaboration with the local Municipality of Kallithea have been valuable in facilitating the smooth and timely progress of the project.
 

This three-year period has seen the achievement of many important milestones in the planning of the SNFCC.  In chronological order, the Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Greek state to mark the commencement of the SNFCC project. It then proceeded to undertake various pre-studies, including a needs analysis, building program drafts, and field studies to ensure that the SNFCC could indeed be developed as envisioned on the particular site in question. The Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) was selected as the architect for the project, signaling the Foundation’s intention to build a Cultural Center consistent with the world’s highest standards of aesthetics, quality, and environmental sustainability. In cooperation with Piano, the Foundation conducted a Feasibility Study and presented it to the Prime Minister and representatives from applicable Ministries and agencies, as well as at a public event notable for the Greek people’s warm and enthusiastic embrace of Renzo Piano’s vision. At the event the brand identity for the Cultural Center was introduced, combining the colors of Greece, the Greek Seas, and nature.

 

The Schematics Design phase has now been completed.  The project’s numerous consultants are proceeding to the next stages of design development. The signing of the contract with the Greek State and its ratification by the Parliament have paved the way for the smooth and timely implementation of the SNFCC project. 

 

The SNFCC site is already significantly altered, having been cleared and cleaned in preparation for the start of construction after completion of the technical studies. 

 

Soon, Athens will have a vast Park that will significantly improve the lives of all those residing in the capital, Greece will possess state-of-the-art Library and Opera facilities for the first time, and the world will cherish another architectural achievement.  After three years, the realization of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is many crucial steps closer. The Foundation remains even more committed to deliver to Athens, the country and the world a venue of unparalleled value, elegance, and functionality.