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New Athens Opera House’s Prelude

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The architect Renzo Piano has been chosen to build a cultural park in Greece that will house the country’s new Opera House and National Library. Piano designed the New York Times Building, co-designed the Pompidou centre in Paris and left his mark on Berlin’s Potzdamer Square, the Paul Klee Centre in Bern and Osaka’s international airport. The internationally acclaimed architect arrives in Athens on January 24 to present his project to the public, and will deliver a lecture on the same day as part of the “Megaron Plus” series. Piano aspires to take advantage of the country’s gift of sunlight, combined with the element of water. The complex will be built on a former race-course in the southern suburbs of Athens and will be funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation through an exclusive sponsorship of €300 million.  

Admire the Propylaea after Restoration

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Propylaea, the 5th-century BC gateway to the Athens Acropolis has its own architectural significance and a long, stormy history that easily match that of the famous Parthenon. More than 16 years ago, a restoration project of the West Hall of the Propylaea began, and now visitors to the Acropolis can admire the structure, as the work is finally finished. Built by the architect Mnesicles beginning in 437 BC, the Propylaea’s construction was stopped five years later by the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. Mnesicles is remembered as an innovative designer, whose construction, although never completed, continues to impress with its combined Doric-Ionic style, multi-level arrangement and unique symmetry. The function of the Propylaea changed later on, and underwent several changes, structurally. Now, after the intervention by state-of-the-art techniques, more than 1,200 fragments have undergone meticulous examination and repair, the scaffolding has been removed, visitors may admire the fine Ionic ornament. Athens Plus: Propylaea begins to emerge from restoration  (p. 12)

Athens’ Facelift: A High-tech Tribute to Arts and Letters

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The outline of his plan for the new opera house and the new national library was recently presented by the Italian architect Renzo Piano to Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. Commissioned by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, the new complex worth €300 million will be located at the Faliron Delta site. Explaining his vision to the premier, Piano was proud to announce that the new opera house will be “a jewel” and emphasized the importance of quality over size. As for the new library, Piano promised to deliver a new-generation library which will be connected to the biggest and most famous ones in the world, such as Harvard and Cambridge. 2010 is the most probable date for the commencement of the construction and the project is due to 2015.  Kathimerini daily: Renzo Paino’s vision of high-tech ‘jewel’