When architect first visited the area where the Stavros Niarchos park was to be built, he immediately realized that the link between the urban and the natural landscapes had been cut; that the coastal avenue had separated the neighborhood from the sea.
Renzo Piano was inspired by the name of the local area (Kallithea, which means "beautiful view’’) and decided to give back to the local people the beautiful view towards the sea.
This idea was implemented conceptually most simply and effectively by lifting one side of a piece of paper and showing the gradual rise of the land towards the sea.
This park is home to a rich variety of flora, including olive trees, evergreen shrubs, carob trees, laurels, cypress trees, as well as an extensive selection of indigenous Greek aromatic plants.
Greece’s strong horticultural tradition is celebrated in the open, sunlit Mediterranean Garden.
The plant palette alone makes the garden a destination: evergreen and other endemic plants such as boxwood, coronilla, cistus, and lentic, salvia, oregano, thyme, lavender, rosemary, roses, and euphorbias – all add to the sensual pleasure of a visit.
Rather than with a typical fence, the SNFCC Playgrounds are enclosed by shrubs, enabling children to discover their boundaries and the world in a safe environment.
Covering a man-made slope that incorporates the roof of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, this 21-hectare park has been sustainably designed with paths cutting through plantings of lavender, olive trees, and other Mediterranean flora.
A variety of free activities are laid on, but you can simply sit in a chair and soak up the sunshine.
It is a remarkable architectural feat pioneered by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and brought to life by the extraordinary vision of Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Editorial credit: Pit Stock / Shutterstock.com
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