The construction of the largest public cultural complex in Greece is currently being developed at an unabated pace at the Southern coastline of Attica next to Faliron Delta. Personally, I don't remember a public project progressing faster since the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. This is because the project is fully granted by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNF).
For many years, there was an imperative need for a new building to host the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Greek National Opera (GNO); and from time to time, different sites around Athens were proposed. Finally, in 2006, the Greek State decided that the site of the Former Hippodrome in Kallithea Borough should host the aforementioned cultural buildings. The site lies next to Olympic premises that have fallen into disuse after the Games, and is adjacent to a huge decrepit and decaying coastal area.
However, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation also funded the construction of a sports center for the borough of Kallithea and the preliminary studies for the regeneration of the adjacent coastal area from Faliro Delta and up to the Peace and Friendship Stadium. When completed, these projects altogether will affect a huge area of coastal Southern Attica, and will convert it into a cultural and sports pole of metropolitan importance.
The coastal regeneration will divide Faliron Bay into six different zones that will each serve a specific set of uses:
- An ecological park with mild sport activities;
- A watersports area and a marina;
- A conference area;
- An aviation museum;
- A zone with recreational facilities and infrastructures; and
- A zone of transport infrastructures.
The architect responsible for the cultural complex and the general master plan of the coastline is the distinguished Italian architect Renzo Piano. His central idea, as depicted in the renderings shown in this post, stems from his intention to bring the sea into the city and facilitate the accessibility of local residents and visitors towards a Metropolitan Faliro Park. Nonetheless, the procedures for Faliro Park have come to a halt due to bureaucratic reasons by the recent government reforming, severely jeopardizing its construction using European Union Funds.
What's your opinion on large scale urban planning and in which way do you think that projects of this size can affect people and communities in big cities?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.