|Greece’s national library of 700,000 volumes is relocating to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, pictured in February 2017. — AFP Photo|Viet Nam News
ATHENS — Greece’s national library on Tuesday said a 10-million-euro relocation to new facilities, designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano, had begun this month and is expected to take three months.
The library of 700,000 volumes is relocating to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, a state-of-the-art seaside complex that also hosts the Greek national opera.
Niarchos centre staff have said that the new national library – previously housed in a 19th-century building in central Athens – can easily accommodate the collection, Greece’s state depository, with eventual space for up to two million books.
The library said over 550 staff were working on the revamp, estimated to cost around 10.2 million euros (US$12.6 million), a sum shared between the Niarchos foundation and the Greek state.
"It is a particularly difficult and complex project, as minimum duress and maximum security for the collections must be ensured," the library said in a statement.
Four climate-controlled vaults will hold the library’s rarest books and manuscripts, some of which date back to the 9th century, organisers said.
The 1,400-seat opera, library and adjoining park cost nearly 600 million euros ($716 million) and took eight years to design and build.
The complex was officially inaugurated in 2016, hosting a landmark speech by outgoing US President Barack Obama. — AFP