CULTURE

Ground breaking for Onassis House of Arts and Letters on Syngrou Avenue

Greece’s cultural life is to acquire a new showcase in the form of a cultural center, for which Stelios Papadimitriou, chairman of the board of the Alexandros S. Onassis Benefit Foundation is to lay the foundation stone on Monday, April 19, along with the foundation’s vice-presidents Pavlos Ioannidis and Apostolos Zambelas, and other board members, as well as a select few from government and cultural circles. The ceremony will be followed by a reception at the Ledra Marriot Hotel, where a scale model is on show of the future center, expected to open toward the end of 2006. It will include a 1,000-seat amphitheater with a stage for a symphony orchestra, performances of opera, theater and ballet, as well as a 300-seat auditorium for smaller events. The building will also house a library, an art gallery covering an entire floor and a recording studio. The design for the center is by the Paris firm Architecture Studio, and construction is by Tensor Construction, with the participation of civil engineer Giorgos Papadimitriou, the architects F. Tsanaka, Irene Ioannidi, the French architect J. Prablanc and mechanical engineer Akis Tsoukalas. Giorgos Zambelas is technical adviser. The model shows a transparent rectangular building, robust yet light, thanks to the double shell consisting of rows of horizontal marble and glass brick covering the main building, which covers 18,000 sq.m. and is 27 meters high. Naturally it also includes underground parking. So now we await the official opening of the Onassis Foundation – House of Arts and Letters.