The new, unique Cultural Center of Athens is located in the residential area of this city, Kallithea. Founded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and built on the site of an old horse racetrack, it is called Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. The concept of this place is really special and was greeted warmly by the Greeks.
The Center designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano is ultra-modern. It was built with the use of marble, iron and glass in a thoughtful way, without making a bulk impression. The area of the place is extensive, and in the middle, there is a canal with sea water of 100 square meters. This element is unique for three reasons: firstly, the view makes a great impression, secondly, the presence of water refreshes, and thirdly, the smell of seawater in such a place is surprisingly relaxing. What’s more, it aims to symbolically bring the Athenians closer to the sea. Water in the canal, is filtered before coming back into the sea.
Another amazing element is the garden that begins at the foot of the centre and ends at the rooftop of the building. It was planned in a way that, being on the roof of the building, you can go down by an artificially built, inclined about 5% green slope, walking around the aromatic herbs and olive trees.
The cultural centre is a combination of the Greek National Opera and the Greek National Library. Renzo Piano collaborated with specialists and architects around the world when designing the interior. Thanks to this cooperation, for example, both the National Library and the National Opera have attached on the ceiling works of the Japanese artist, which are set in motion by people strolling along the corridors. Rest furniture, geometric in shape, and surprisingly comfortable, were produced by a Dutch company.
The Opera House is impressive. The impression is made both by the amazing refinement of details and the functionality of the place. Many stages allow for various configurations of space use, and numerous rehearsal rooms well adapted acoustically, enable for multiple rehearsals simultaneously. The main auditorium fits 1,400 people, and the small alternative stage 400, bringing two completely different experiences.
The new National Library will gather collections for each age group. For children, a special, separated educational space has been prepared. For teenagers and adults, a zone for expanding knowledge solely or in cooperation with others was designed. Numerous stations with computers, laptops and a wireless Internet connection have been put into public use. Such a modern solution provides access to knowledge in printed collections as well as online. In the National Library, you can also find an academic center with access to over 4,500 manuscript codices from the 9th to the 19th century and a rich variety of important historical documents and archives.
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