Visitors Center of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Athens, Greece

The building is Visitors Center for the construction site of Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC).

The Renzo Piano complex, houses the new National Library, the new Opera house and a large park, and will offer to the citizens the opportunity to experience the city of Athens in a radically different way. The building reveals the city’s strong relationship with the sea, as well as with the existing Attic landscape. Moreover, it essentially renews the relation of the local population to public spaces. By recognizing the effected changes, the proposal aims to redefine the relationship between public spaces in the region, and the new, changing urban cityscape. It seeks, therefore, to develop a dialectical relationship between the observer and the construction site, which is not considered merely as an exhibit, but as a stimulus for the future of dwelling in Athens.

The visitors’ center is situated on the esplanade at the south boundary of the Worksite. The building creates its own ground due to a metal platform that seems to hover upon the esplanade. The roof is a slender metal construction, that seems to suspend, as it is supported by cylindrical metal columns. The boundaries of the building are constructed using sliding, glazed, laminated surfaces, which are mounted independently of the columns supporting the roof and which provide full transparency as well as the ability of transformation from a fully to a semi-enclosed space. On the SE side, the enclosure slides across the platform over a transparent floor. The lightweight roof extends beyond the glazed enclosure, creating protected and shaded areas. At the NW and NE side of the Visitors’ Center the interior extends and merges with the outdoor platform, thus enabling the use of outdoor exhibition areas and a resting space.

The vision was to construct a mild scaled structure (by no means competing with the primary building) which will function as a light/transparent pavilion (allowing the surroundings to flow in), offering visitors the opportunity to be informed about the construction phases of the primary building within an organized area, promoting tranquility, concentration and desire for information.

The simplicity of form and the scale of this small, temporary structure, is a poetic response to the Renzo Piano complex.


1st price in panhellenic student competition (awarded by Renzo Piano)

Nominee for Mies Van Der Rohe Awards

Project Team

S. Yiotakis


Ballian Techniki S.A.


Yiorgis Yerolymbos