Renzo Piano to design Athens opera house

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Renzo Piano to design Athens opera house

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:37 am

Renzo Piano to design Athens opera house

Athens -- Award-winning Italian architect Renzo Piano has been selected to design Greece's new national opera in a plan bankrolled by one of the nation's top shipping families, the Niarchos Foundation said yesterday.

Piano, co-designer of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, will also create a broader cultural complex surrounding the opera on Athens's Faliro southern beachfront including a park and a national library.

The new 17-hectare complex will be built on the site of Athens's former racetrack.

The project is expected to cost around €300-million euros ($448.8-million), the foundation said in a statement. The foundation was created from the estate of shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos.

Piano, 70, who in 1998 won the Pritzker Prize, the so-called Nobel of Architecture, said the complex will "live and breathe clean air and health."

"I have always loved Greece's clear light and vivid 'meltemia' winds," he said.
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