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Renzo Piano designs the cultural centre named after Stavros Niarchos

07 October 2012 / 09:10:21  GRReporter
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At a press conference on 4 October, the "Stavros Niarchos" Foundation for Culture said it is beginning the project for the "Stavros Niarchos" Cultural Centre in Faliro and it will be ready by the end of 2015. Until now, excavation works have been carried out as well as an archaeological survey of the terrain. Photographer George Gerolimpos presented the development of the work at the press conference. The series of images describing the nature before and after the start of construction aims at keeping even the smallest traces of the big changes which will happen in this place.

The photos show the gradual transformation of the space from an empty space into a developed centre. An asphalted parking lot for buses in the morning and a place where young people show their driving skills in the evening, no nice view, with a few eucalypti, this was the original form of the site in June 2007. According to surveys by the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, who will design the centre, the site will be raised by the creation of a hill, which will offer views over the sea and Athens, it will restore vegetation, it will bring water back into the space, it will turn away from the noise of the coastal roads and will reinstate the person in the centre of environment. The centre will offer a permanent exhibition of the finds discovered during the archaeological excavations of the site, after consultations with the Commission of ancient discoveries.

The hill will be created in 12 months, and in 22 months - the substructure of the complex will follow, and the photovoltaic roof will also be ready in 18 months. The project will include the super-modern buildings of the National Library and the Greek National Lyric Stage, as well as a park of 170 acres. Once it becomes ready, the Cultural Centre will be submitted to the Greek state which will administer it. The centre is the largest donation of the "Stavros Niarchos" Foundation which fully funds the research, construction and furniture worth 556 million euro. The construction will be under the control of a commission, in which representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister, the Greek National Lyric Stage, the National Library, the Municipality of Kallithea and the Ministries of Environment, Finance, Culture and Education will take part.

According to Yiannis Trohopoulos, executive director of the centre's board, it will be a victory for the creative forces of this place. He stressed that there are many hard working people in Greece who are able and talented, and ready to create. This centre will be for them and for the Greeks, who need hope and vision for the future. The Managing Council is already examining what activities the centre will host, what free programmes it will offer, and how new audiences will be attracted.

According to the foundation's surveys, the centre will bring the following benefits:

- Annual employment of 1,500-2,400 workers in the construction

- 1 billion euro of short-term and medium-term economic activity

- The centre's annual contribution to the economic activities of the area is expected to be 160 million euro

- The creation of the park will double the green spaces of the neighbouring municipalities.

At the press conference journalists asked about the survival of the centre after 2015. According to George Agouridis, Chairman of the Management Board, the Greek state will be responsible for the Centre, however, the Foundation will set the conditions for its operation, and the centre is expected to have all kinds of revenue, necessary to partially cover its needs. The "Stavros Niarchos" Foundation will provide donations when needed but it will not interfere in the programme of the Lyric Stage or in the responsibilities of the National Library. The supervision of the centre's activities will be provided by the "Stavros Niarchos" Organization Centre for Culture in which members of Foundation will also participate.

Tags: Cultural Centre Stavros Niarchos Foundation Faliro National Library Lyric Stage
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