Nov 17, 2009
This week we're going to talk about Renzo Piano and his main works that marked the history of architecture. Technology, in its unique and unusual ways, is still characteristic of his work that leaves people perplexed in all corners of the world.
Renzo Piano was born in Genova, Italy, on September 14th 1937. In a family full of builders, we are fortunate to have contradicted the logic, and consequently having him become one of the greatest architects of the world.
He started at the School of Architecture Polytechnic of Milan. Still as a student, he gained a lot of experience working alongside Franco Albini and with his father's construction company where he got a more hands-on practice. After graduating, he travelled to Great Britain and the United States, which proved to be very significant to his career, especially with his new-found friendship with Jean Prouvé.
Jean Prouvé was a great influence in his professional life. Renzo also worked with Louis Kahn in Philadelphia and with Makowski in London before founding the office "Piano & Rogers" in 1971, a partnership with the English architect Richard Rogers. With this partnership came a great project that stood out in a landscape already considered to be the most beautiful city of the world: the Centre Pompidou in Paris. A beautiful urban inclusion for a cultural complex, which today is part of the city and is among the main tourist sights to be seen in the French city.
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France.
The project was elected in what was the first competition for projects in France, the jury was formed by none other than Oscar Niemeyer, Jean Prouvé and Philip Johnson.
“Every time people spoke to us about culture, we felt strange... we felt completely alien to the spirit of the competition and to the atmosphere of what was becoming an important event. Our apply was the school children poking out their thongs at the examiners.”
In 1977 he founded the "L'Atelier Piano & Rice", in partnership with Peter Rice with whom he worked in various projects until his death in 1992.
After the death of Rice, he founded the office "Renzo Piano Building Workshop" which is set currently based in Genoa and Paris, with more than 100 professionals involved in their projects, including architects, engineers and specialists.Renzo Piano takes advantage of the technology in his projects, always in search of the benefits it can bring to the comfort and needs of the user. In his career he has won major architectural awards, such as the Pritzker Prize, in 1998, and the AIA Gold Medal in 2008.
Menil Collection Museum, Houston, USA
Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan
J.M Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Nouméa, New Caledonia
Beyeler Foundation Museum, Riehen, Switzerland
Extension to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
“A museum, ... is a place where one should lose one's head -- and I hope you will lose it.”
Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy
Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
Maison Hermes, Tokyo, Japan
Reconstruction of the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany
Zentrum Paul Klee
The New York Times Building, New York, USA
Façade System for the Luna Rossa Team Base, Valencia, Spain
Redevelopment of the Genova Old Harbour
San Nicola Football Stadium, Bari, Italy
Ferrari Wind Tunel, Maranello, Italy
National Center for Science and Technology, Amsterdam, Holland
In 2008, Renzo Piano's team finished a great work, the California Academy of Sciences designed according to the strategies of sustainability. The result appears in the union of technology, the necessity of a great genius. Natural ventilation in large areas of the building, careful choice of building materials, efficient use and reuse of water, and power generation are some of the elements addressed in this strategy.
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA