SNFCC: Hyperdurable Colors for a Contemporary Classic. ― 

Already an established landmark for the entire Athens Metropolitan Area, the SNFCC is a display of simple, well-considered and powerful architectural decisions in all scales -from large urban gestures to the minute construction details. Bearing the signature of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with the detailed design by Athens-based BETAPLAN S.A., the vast complex is a LEED-Platinum certified project, where AkzoNobel made its contribution by providing its hyperdurable D3000 technology of Interpon powder coatings. Embraced by the public as a favorite urban space, the SNFCC is impressive both in terms of scale and complexity, as well as in the fine craftsmanship of its materials, when experienced from close.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is constructed in Kallithea, 4km south of central Athens. An important cultural and educational hub, the site comprises the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera in a 17,000m₂ landscaped park. Formerly a parking lot, left over from the 2004 Olympic Games, once the site of a racetrack, the project restores the site’s lost connections to the city and the seafront. As one of Athens’ oldest seaports on Faliro Bay, Kallithea has always had a strong relation to water. Until the SNFCC was built, however, there was no view of the sea from the site. To restore this, an artificial hill has been created at the south, seaward end of the site. The sloping park culminates in the cultural center building, giving it spectacular views towards the sea.

Both Opera and Library are combined in one building, with a public space, known as the Agora, providing access and connections between the two main facilities. The Opera wing is composed of two auditoria, one (450 seats) dedicated to traditional operas and ballets, the other (1400 seats) for more experimental performances. The library is intended not only as a place for learning and preserving culture, but also as a public resource, a space where culture is truly accessible to share and enjoy. The entirely glass-walled library reading room sits on top of the building just underneath the canopy roof. A square horizontal transparent box, it enjoys 360° views of Athens and the sea. The site’s visual and physical connection continues in the park, with a new canal that runs along a north-south, main pedestrian axis, the Esplanade.

The canopy roof provides essential shade and is topped with 10,000m² of photovoltaic cells, enough to generate 1,5 megawatts of power for the Library and Opera house. This field of cells allows the building to be self-sufficient in energy terms. Wherever possible, natural ventilation is used, and all materials are certified for their sustainability and environmental awareness.

Given the seaside location of the project and its exposure to the elements, due to its large size and overall permeability, AkzoNobel provided its most advanced, hyperdurable Interpon D3000 powder coatings to protect the metal components of the complex. Renzo Piano Building Workshop, celebrated for its ecological sensibility, had trusted the resilience of Interpon D3000 hyperdurable powder coatings in many of its former projects, most notably in the United States, where colors remain liquid, to a very large extent: hyperdurable powder coatings feature all the advantages of liquid paint, without the ecological drawbacks, as they have the longest life span and color retention properties achieved by currently known color technology, even in the most adverse climate conditions. The LEED Platinum certification of the building, first in Greece, came as no surprise: The SNFCC sets an example of sustainability, both in its materiality, as well as in its social impact. We are proud to have contributed our own expertise and technology to the making of a contemporary classic.

Design By: Renzo Piano Building Workshop / Betaplan

Photography: Yiorgis Yerolymbos / James Florio / Dimitris Parthimos / Nikos Karanikolas /Eftychia Vlachou

Colors (Powder Coatings):

8W2094 / Bright Grey Metallic, Interpon D3020, Hyper Durable

8B2164 / Ral 9016, Interpon D3020, Hyper Durable