Plans for Athens cultural center unveiled, despite country's uncertain future

In the midst of much chaos in the Greek capital Athens, plans have been revealed for a huge new cultural center described as "a beacon for a brighter future."

Architects and developers unveiled the final designs for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, which has been months in the planning, June 29 and promised that the finished product would be a new urban symbol of 21st century Athens.

The design, completed by Renzo Piano, will offer residents and visitors to the Greek capital a "world-class" opera house, the new home for the Greek National Opera, and a new building for the Greek National Library.

In a bid to increase the amount of green space available in Athens, the cultural center will include a new 170,000 square meter National Park, with open views of the sea.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation says that the project, situated some 4.5 km from the city center of Athens, aims to be the first LEED (environmental leadership) certified building in Greece and the first for a project of such a scale in Europe.

Although the project, set to be one of the largest construction projects in recent Greek history, will be operated by the state when it opens in 2015, the building has been fully financed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, a philanthropic organisation.

See the new video introducing the center: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO0UQNl4JbM

http://www.snf.org/snfcc/snfMain_en.html

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