Italian-born, Paris-based architect Renzo Piano—the 1998 Pritzker Prize winner—has been very busy of late: There’s his controversial, though now largely embraced, new home for New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and now come photos of the the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in Athens, Greece, the latest work by his firm, Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
Dedicated to the arts, the cultural center sits in a brand-new, 170,000-square-meter park (with artificial hill!) built over a former parking lot that once served spectators at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and reimagined by New York-based landscape designer Deborah Nevins. The whole complex was made possible by a €596 million—about $659 million—donation from the charity established by Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos.
So what’s in this whopper of a building? An opera house featuring a couple of auditoriums (one 450-seat hall and one with a capacity for a 1,400-person audience) and rehearsal and technical spaces; a library with room for what Dezeen reports is "over 5,000 manuscripts, documents;" and more.
The building, which will open to the public later this year, is targeting LEED Platinum certification, the highest available. Its soaring roof, which seems to float above the center’s main volume, comes equipped with a hectare of photovoltaic panels, which, we imagine, will help the building be the first in Greece to achieve LEED Platinum designation.