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Chaos and Culture: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Monacelli. May 2017. 240p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781580934886. $50. ARCH
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This latest volume from Newhouse (Site and Sound), founder of the Architectural History Foundation, covers the construction of one of the world's largest cultural centers, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, in Athens, Greece, named after the man who donated the building back to his country of origin after brief success with a candy store in Buffalo, NY. Facing the harbor yet looking toward the city's ancient Acropolis two miles away, the complex encompasses the Greek National Library and National Opera, among other cultural facilities, including numerous gardens and canals above and within a 40-acre concrete roof. This immense construction project lasted ten years (2006–16) while Greece fought through the chaos of economic survival and seven presidents. The father and founder of the architectural firm chosen for this assignment, Renzo Piano, has emerged over the past 50 years as the Leonardo da Vinci of modern architecture, focused on its tectonic materiality in glass, steel, and concrete.
VERDICT For libraries serving communities seeking information about or building cultural centers.

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