UK firm is project manager and cost consultant on 200,000m2 zero-carbon cultural centre and park

Faithful + Gould has been appointed project manager on a €300m (£239m) regeneration scheme that will make an entire district of Athens zero carbon.

The firm will also act as cost consultant on the project, the 200,000m2 Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The scheme will develop an opera house, a national library, a ballet school and a park on the site of a former racecourse at Athens’ Faliron Delta.

The scheme is aiming to be zero-carbon and to score a LEED platinum rating – the highest band on the American energy-rating tool.

The buildings are expected to be largely powered by solar panels, although the project team is also considering geothermal technologies. This is thought to be a good option because Athens is in an earthquake zone.

The project is the brainchild of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, a charitable trust that will hand over the facilities as a gift to the Greek government after developing and operating them for a short time.

Neil Clemson, head of project management at F+G, said it was “like someone giving you the British Library and half a regional park”.

He said: “It’s a massive scheme. It’s regenerating one of the town’s quarters and providing a park, which is badly needed. Athens has one of the lowest amounts of park per capita of any European capital.”

He said the scheme should set a sustainability benchmark for large-scale projects. “I don’t think you could consider building a facility with this national impact without targeting as high as you possibly can in terms of sustainability.”

Enabling works are expected to start at the end of 2009, with completion set for 2014.

A contractor has not yet been appointed to the project.