The Stavros Niarchos cultural center

This building was the talk of the town for a while after its completion. It has been designed by the architect Renzo Piano, the same guy who designed the Shard. The land for its construction was provided to the Stavros Niarchos foundation by the state and the building’s management will apparently be undertaken by the state following a designated period. Stavros Niarchos was a rich guy who had ships by the way.

The building includes facilities for the National Opera and National Library. Its most prominent features are the lifted metallic roof, supported on round pillars, the ‘field’, which starts on street level and goes up on an angle, serving as the roof to part of the building, the ‘lake’, which I was told is filled with sea water and the viewing platform/corridor, which was called something confusing.

The field/garden is fully made up of Mediterranean plants instead of grass and colorful flowers, which means it will survive the climate. At first sight it doesn’t look man-made. It does smell fantastic, with the scent of thyme, lavender, rosemary etc filling the air every few steps. My friend joked that she will be going there to pick up herbs for her kitchen and I said I sure hope not everyone has the same idea, cause the whole thing will be gone by the end of the month.

The field apparently includes a labyrinth and a vegetable garden-according to the map- but we were unable to find them. We asked one of the guards and he suggested that we read the map. When we insisted he said it was his first day on that post and admitted that he had no idea where anything was. My friend wished him a good start on his job- a typical sort of wish.

There is also a ‘musical garden’, which is basically an area with installations that make sounds, like tiles that give out different notes when pressed. If you are based in London, there is something similar (albeit a bit sadder) in the Joseph Grimaldi park between Angel and King’s Cross. You are literally encouraged to dance on the guy’s grave.

There was one feature of the musical park which left me perplexed and that was a massive stone rotating on it’s axis for some reason. It didn’t make any sound but you could stop it from rotating, which was not a lot of fun.

Considering the lack of decent architecture in Athens, this is a minor improvement.

 

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