[Architecture for Art]: Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens

Onasis Cultural Centre in Athens, GreeceOnassis Cultural Centre, photo via © Wade Zimmerman Photographer

Walking away from the historical centre into the urban wilderness, we arrived at the start of Syngrou Avenue, the multi-lane traffic artery that links the city centre with the southern suburbs by-the-sea and where the conventionality of daylight activities meets with the notoriety of night world and its mysterious alluring creatures.  To everyone else, it is a pretty dull avenue, dotted with modern buildings, nightclubs, world class hotels and car rental agencies, on both sides.

But now, at number 107-109, sits the latest addition to the artistic scene of Athens, the Onassis Cultural Centre. Wholly funded by Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, designed by the French AS “Architecture Studio” , it stands grand on a privately-owned 3,000 sq. m. plot. True to the legendary name it carries, a name so closely linked with drama and excess but also excellence and all the beauty money can buy, the Foundation has created a new arts core, worthy of the city’s rich cultural inheritance.

Since its opening  in December 2010, it has staged a number of top notch  theatre and dance performances, concerts, film screenings, lectures and conferences in its two state-of-the art auditoria. A large exhibition gallery was host to the latest Robert Wilson Video Portraits, closed on 7th July 2013. A few smaller exhibition spots are available to contemporary artists for temporary shows.

The building blends so well in the environment that -at first glance- enveloped as it is in metal bars, it may not be immediately noticeable. But go inside, look again and you begin to recognize just how well it stands out from among the many concrete-glass-metal eyesores that litter the landscape of Athens.

Contemporary Ar[chi]t[ecture] :


Artwork in the halls and waiting areas…



”Light and Sound” shows all day long…


More artwork, all from the collection of the Onassis Foundation.


The ground-floor bar was designed by artist Aemilia Papafilippou; her LED installation ”Liquid Sky” is glowing and bathing everything in colour. Best seen after dark.

Onasis Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece

Liquid Sky, Aemilia Papafilippou, photo via © Wade Zimmerman Photographer

Salma Hayek. From the Video Portraits of Robert Wilson exhibition. More coming up…


107-109 Syngrou Avenue 
117 45 Athens

photos by Konstantinos Implikian

Athens, 03-06 June 2013


5 thoughts on “[Architecture for Art]: Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens

  1. Pingback: Robert Wilson Video Portraits @ Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens [exhibition closed] « Lia in Brussels

    • Yep! You said it! And I forgot to mention the rooftop restaurant which boasts great views over the city (but was closed when we were there, so we have to take their word for it!)…

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