Construction and engineering wonders

Stavros Niarchos was a multi-billionaire Greek shipping tycoon and art collector.  Starting out in 1952, he had the world's biggest supertankers built for his fleet.  Propelled by both the Suez Crisis and an increasing demand for oil, he became a  giant in global petroleum shipping. He died in Zurich in 1996, and a large part of his  fortune is administered by his foundation. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is  one of the world’s leading private, international  philanthropic organizations,  supporting arts and culture, education, health and sports as well as social welfare.

National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera and the Stavros Niarchos Park

The Foundation’s largest single gift is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens. The project’s total cost was €630 million. The SNFCC was designed by the renowned architectural firm Renzo Piano Building  Workshop, and includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, as well as the Stavros Niarchos Park, covering a total area of 210,000 m2. On February 2017, following the handover, the SNF announced its commitment to continue supporting the Center for the next five years,  through grants totaling up to $53 million (€50 million). The grants supportthe implementation of public  programming and help cover part of the Center’s operating costs.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop was to plan the new projects

In 2006, the SNF announced its plans to fund the development of the SNFCC, a  project that includes the construction and complete outfitting of new facilities for  the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, as well as the creation of the 210,000 m² Stavros Niarchos Park. In February 2008, after a closed  international architectural competition, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Board of Directors unanimously announced its decision to choose the renowned Renzo Piano Building Workshop as the architectural design office.  

One of the most important cultural and educational projects ever undertaken in Greece


The project site is located 4.5 km south of the center of Athens on the edge of  Faliro Bay, and the Center is designed as a multifunctional arts, education and  entertainment complex. The Cultural Center is the first private-public partnership of its type in Greece, and one of the most important cultural and educational projects ever undertaken in the country.  


The new National Library of Greece covers almost 24,000 m2

The new building for the National Library of Greece will modernize an institution founded in 1832, allowing it to strengthen its research role while at the same  time expanding its focus from that of an exclusive research facility to an  all-inclusive public resource. In its new and enlarged role, the Library will support patrons of all ages and educational levels, from academic researchers to children and young adults destined to become the next generation of users. Covering  almost 24,000 m2, the state-of-the-art building combines tradition with technological innovation, and conservation with information and communication. The flexibility of its design  ensures that the National Library can respond effectively to ever-changing needs  and the challenges of the digital age.  
Linked to the Library and the Opera by an ecological concept, physical topography  and functionality, the Stavros Niarchos Park is a vital green space, a breath of life for Athens and an important addition to the city with the least amount of green  space per capita in Europe.
A respite from urban concrete, the Park provides  opportunities for learning, recreation, rest, and new experiences.