Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Structural Designer

Expedition Engineering and OMETE

Client Name

Stavros Niarchos Foundation


Athens, Greece


Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architect


Arup Mechanical and Electrical Engineering design


Faithful and Gould Project management and cost consultancy


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

Images: © Yiorgis Yerolymbos, Michael Denance, Expedition Engineering


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 comment:

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.

Contact us

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7235 4535
Email: [email protected]

Social media


© Copyright 2022 - The Institution of Structural Engineers, 47-58 Bastwick Street, London, EC1V 3PS, United Kingdom
Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales No. 233392 and in Scotland No. SC038263