One of the world’s leading architects, Pritzker Prize-winning visionary Renzo Piano, has led the development of Greece’s newest cultural treasure: the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. The site, which will host a high-profile park and vital institutions such as the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, is made structurally possible in part by the development of a large, wedge-shaped GRS structure which utilizes geosynthetic reinforcement.
The GRS structure design, which needed to take into account seismic activity in the region, uses geosynthetics from HUESKER.


While HUESKER first promoted its work on the site in mid-2015, late 2016 has become the point at which the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s 10-year development plan comes to fruition. On 28 December 2016, the group officially invited the Greek government to takeover the site effective December 29, making SNFCC a gift to the people of Greece.
The exceptional project features Fortrac® geogrid reinforcement and mechanically stabilized earth walls for an artificial hill. The sloping design creates a 170,000 m2 park that rises roughly to 30m in its bridging to the physical structure of the SNFCC.
In the GRS structure project video, SNFCC  Project Executive Gianni Botteon notes that seismicity concerns led them to seek out the “most innovative and available” solution they could to make Renzo Piano’s dynamic design technically possible. This involved the creation of a massive GRS structure with geogrid-reinforced formwork and lifts.
“[The approach] solved the engineering problems in a brilliant way,” Botteon says.
He highlights how the developers were happy that the concrete facing panels on the MSE walls were merely architectural and not structural. A gap was even designed between the panels and the primary GRS structure to accommodate seismic settlement potential.
Project Video: GRS Structure for Major Greek Cultural Center
Project Video: GRS Structure for Major Greek Cultural Center
Learn more about HUESKER reinforcement geosynthetics, GRS structure applications, and other geosynthetic capabilities at