Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Athens, Greece

This new 535,000 square foot facility is home to the Greek National Opera and National Library and features two performance venues. In the opera house, the audience is stacked vertically on four balconies, pulling the spectators intimately close to the stage. The room features flexible staging, forestage extensions, demountable orchestra shell, and state-of-the-art lighting and AV equipment. Backstage, the theatre features motorized, programmed batons and 12 self-driving wagons, which are powered by inductive loops built into the flooring and guided by wifi and GPS. With the wagons, the user can exchange three full sets in the course of an opera.  The other performance space, a flexible theatre, has a wrap-around balcony, adjustable seating, and flying bars and bridges subtly integrated into the ceiling. The LEED-platinum complex includes a 43-acre public park with an outdoor amphitheatre, man-made canal, and public gathering and athletic areas.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
Credit: Michel Denancé
Credit: Michel Denancé
Credit: SNFCC/George Dimitrakopoulos

The Greek State | Client: Stavros Niarchos Foundation


Renzo Piano Building Workshop (design architect) | Betaplan (executive architect)


Arup Acoustics


Greek National Opera, Greek National Library

Seat count

475, 1400

Construction type

New construction

Theatre type

Arts center, Flexible theatre, Opera house


Masterplanning including needs assessment study, programming, concept design, theatre planning, and performance equipment design and specification



Venue website

Credit: SNFCC/Yiorgis Yerolymbos
Credit: Theatre Projects

Related articles