Student-designed Visitor Center for Stavros Niarchos Foundation now open in Athens
Renzo Piano’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is currently under construction in Athens, blending together a new home for the Greek National Opera, the 170,000 sq m Stavros Niarchos Park, and the headquarters of the National Library of Greece. Due to complete in 2015, the glass-rich design is slowly becoming a reality and this week, the SNFCC announced the official opening of a Visitor Center to educate the public about its immense €566m scheme.
The Visitor Center was designed by two Greek architecture students - Agis-Panagiotis Mourelatos and Spyridon Giotakis - and selected from a plethora of entries by the architect behind the SNFCC, Renzo Piano. The significantly-smaller Visitor Center speaks directly to Piano’s design, using large amounts of clear glass with an overhanging roof structure.
While the scheme appears to be a permanent feature of the site, it is, in fact, temporary. The recyclable structure will be disassembled in 2015 when the SNFCC is officially complete and simply offers a transient space for the public to learn about the ongoing construction works and the history of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Internally the building is split into four key areas where visitors can learn about the Greek National Opera, Stavros Niarchos Park and National Library of Greece. There is also a dedicated area for children to learn about the SNFCC through interactive installations.
Yiannis Trohopoulos, General Manager and CEO of the SNFCC, said: “If I were to describe the Visitors Center with a single word, I would use the word ‘transparent’. With a transparent design and, most importantly, transparent operation, the Visitors Center was conceived and created with a dual goal: to offer free and open access to the public, and to bring the citizens even closer to the ambitious idea of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.
“Designed by two creative representatives of our country’s new generation and managed by the SNFCC, we hope that the Visitors Center will become a friendly place of leisure for the city’s residents, a resource that will inform and raise the public’s awareness on the progress of this major project that is being constructed: the SNFCC”.