With a two-century long history, more than 1 million books, periodicals and rare manuscripts from the 9th to the 20th century, The National Library of Greece safeguards the Greek language playing an important bridging role between the past and the future.
At its new premises, the National Library of Greece redefines its relationship with the public and becomes a space of study, research and education, a hatchery of new ideas and an open learning space. For the first time, and on the Library’s relocation at the SNFCC, the NLG creates the new Public Lending Library department and broadens its audience, from children and teenagers to elderly people, providing a wide range of educational and interactive programs.
This dual nature of the Library is reflected upon its set up within the 23.000 s.m The central backbone of the building, is a container which also serves to create the necessary rigidity for the building’s static load carrier. This cube covered in books from the inside and the outside hosts thematic reading rooms in two of its levels. On the contrary, the total area of the Library and the ways to access various parts of the building (Research Library, Public Lending Library) are immediately perceived by visitors upon entering the “Agora”.
The emblematic Book Castle dominates the inside of the Library lobby. The Book Castle is visible from the Agora, through the glass façade, thus promoting to visitors the identity of the building, before they even enter.
It is a square tower—each side is 20 meters—that extends over the entire height of the building. This volume is surrounded by a system of light balconies and stack rooms, filled with books. On the ground floor, the Book Castle hosts a multi-purpose area, ideal for seminars, lectures and small scale music events. The Book Castle is developed and communicates with the rest of the Library’s reading room levels, also hosting thematic reading rooms.
From the 18m roof a moving aluminum and fabric sculpture is suspended, created by the Japanese artist Susumu Shungu. The work is titled “Myth” and is accompanied by the phrase: “Science, history, literature and art cross over beyond time and space”.
The roof of the Library is covered by green (green roof) and is part of the Stavros Niarchos Park.