Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center Handed to Greek State

The foundation donated €617 million to support the state with the center's maintenance.

Renzo Piano, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (rendering). Photo: Renzo Piano.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) has been officially handed over to the Greek state in a ceremony on Thursday, February 23.

The Foundation announced it will continue to finance the cultural center for several years, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed the donation.

“The 617 million euros is a generous donation which gains even greater significance as it was made in conditions of major practical difficulties,” Tsipras said at yesterday’s ceremony, according to Greek newspaper Ekathimerini.

The marble, steel, and glass complex is home to Greece’s National Library and National Opera House along with a park that offers views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Acropolis.

Designed by Renzo Piano, the SNFCC was opened in June 2016 after five years of construction, and was built on the site of the abandoned parking lot for the 2004 Olympic games.

Joining the celebrations via video, the Italian architect said it was a “great day” as the institution was handed over to the “community.”

Acknowledging concerns over the state’s maintenance of the cultural institution, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that any failures on the state’s behalf “will not be a breach against the donors but against culture itself.”

“However, it is not right to create the impression that the state and citizens are not in the position to keep this jewel, to make use of it and to make it into something even better,” continued prime minister Tsipras on the matter.

The move emphasizes the SNFCC’s community and public oriented values and as the director of the Foundation, Andreas Dracopoulos, stated, the center has been “embraced” by Greeks with 760,000 citizens having visited it since its opening. 

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