National Greek Opera
(c) Renzo Piano Workshop

In Athens, the construction of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) at the Athens Faliron Delta is proceeding well. The Center will house the Greek National Opera (GNO), the National Library of Greece (NLG), and the Stavros Niarchos Park (SN Park). The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is donating over € 550 million to build the project designed by Renzo Piano. With approximately 170,000 square meters of green space, more than a thousand trees, and thousands of shrubs and bushes, the former horse racetrack site will be transformed into a unique and aesthetically pleasing environment with significant benefits for the local community. As part of the complex, the Opera will have 1,400 seats in the main auditorium. The entire project is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2015.

Though nobody has doubts about the commitment of the Niarchos Foundation, some see dark clouds about the new Cultural Centre since, once construction will be completed, SNFCC ownership will be fully transferred to the Greek State.

On the other hand, experts have calculated that approximately €1 billion of total economic stimulus will be derived from the upfront donation for the construction of SNFCC, with effects observed in the short- to mid-termhorizon. The combined effects of operations and visitor spending associated with SNFCC activities will generate approximately €160 million of economic activity throughout the local community, Athens, and Greece in the first full year of operations.

As one of the major operators of the new cultural center, Greek National Opera is not totally out of the debt zone. Even though the former  accumulated debt of 17 million euros has been reduced to 4,7 million euros,reduction in the governmental funding is a serious problem for the opera house.

SNFCC looks like a modern Greek temple in the Niarchos Park (c) Renzo Piano Workshop

SNFCC looks like a modern Greek temple in the Niarchos Park
(c) Renzo Piano Workshop

  • Pizzicato

  • Archives