Winner 2016

Award for
The Award for Arts or Entertainment Structures

Project Description

A new home for the Greek National Library and National Opera, the Center has already become a hub for regeneration in south-central Athens, and features a number of engineering innovations. A super-slender, lightweight ferrocement canopy roof is raised on slender columns over the whole building, and carries a huge solar panel array – a modern counterpoint to the Acropolis. A network of seismic base isolators helps the structure survive earthquake conditions. Each isolator is so large that only one laboratory in the world could test them.

Judge’s comments

This outstanding project stood out to the Judges, with its courageous implementation of unusual construction materials and techniques. This building draws attention to its structurally expressive Acropolis-like photovoltaic-clad slender canopy, covering new facilities for the Greek National Opera and National Library. The Judges were particularly captivated by the engineering solutions required to solve challenging seismic requirements, whilst also aiming for high socio-cultural ambitions and achieving exemplary sustainability credentials

Project overview

Structural Designer

  • Expedition Engineering and OMETE

Client Name

  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation


  • Athens, Greece


  • Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architect

Principal Contractor

  • Impregilo–Terna (Joint Venture) Penelis Main contractor’s structural engineer

Year Submitted

  • 2016

Submitted By

  • Expedition Engineering and OMETE Images: Yiorgis Yerolymbos; (2,4,5)