In the forty years since Renzo Piano graduated from the Milan Polytechnic School of Architecture, in 1964, and embarked upon creating pioneering designs on a global scale, his name has become synonymous with high architecture.
Piano made his mark with the first major project he undertook, the Centre Georges Pompidou (1977) in Paris, designed in partnership with Richard Rogers.The Pompidou set the precedent for Piano’s subsequent whirlwind artistic development. In 1981, Piano established the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), with offices in Genoa, Paris and New York, which employs more than 100 specialized architects and engineers.
Since then, RPBW has served as the vehicle for the development of some of Piano’s most recognizable and important projects, such as:
The International Terminal at the Kansai International Airport (1994), in Osaka, an awe-inspiring take-off and landing pier, whose design follows the movement of a wave, built on an artificial island extending into the sea;
The Beyeler Foundation Museum (1997), in Basel, Switzerland, bathed in natural light, which inspires visitors with its pure, clean lines, its seamless integration into its surroundings, and its simple elegance;
The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center (1998), in New Caledonia, a complex of ten pavilions, inspired by the local architectural tradition, remarkable for both the power it exudes, and its intimate relationship with the surrounding nature;
The redevelopment of the derelict and outdated Potsdamer Platz square (2000), in Berlin;
The glass-walled structure of the Niccolò Paganini Auditorium (2001) in Parma, an industrial reconversion perfectly in tune with its surrounding natural environment;
The Parco della Musica Auditorium music hall (2002), in Rome, a powerful symbol of the union of music, urban environment and the design traditions of Western cathedrals.
Piano is widely acclaimed as one of the leading architects of his generation. He has succeeded in imbuing his every new project with his mastery, his pioneering perspective and his Mediterranean temperament, all the while skillfully avoiding becoming either repetitive or formulaic. Combined, his achievements over the years have earned him several important distinctions, such as the R.I.B.A. Royal Medal for Architecture (1989), the Kyoto Prize (1990), his appointment as the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO for Architecture (1994), the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1998), and the Gold Medal of the International Union of Architects (2002) and the American Institute of Architects (2008).
Piano’s recent projects, such as the stunning new offices for the “New York Times”, in New York (2008), and the “green” building of the California Academy of Sciences (2008) are testament to the fact that Piano’s art is maturing, yet his perspective remains youthful and uncompromising.
Piano’s blood ties to the Mediterranean have left an indelible mark on his art, setting him apart from his contemporaries. The way he perceives the particularities of each area, the properties of natural light and the need to incorporate each structure into the existing urban grid is characteristic of the Italian’s architect’s inimitable style.
His love for materials such as glass, wood and metal, his ample use of natural light, his insistence on transparent structures whose pure lines are integrated into their surroundings, his use of water, and his constant efforts to create “green” buildings have made him very popular with all those who come into contact with his work.
Design Architect – RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP
Executive Architect – BETAPLAN
Theater Design Consultant – THEATRE PROJECTS CONSULTANTS
Acoustic Design – ARUP Acoustics
Library Consultants – British Library
Façade Consultant – FRONT
Signage Design – Atelier Martine Harlé
Food Service Consultant – SefronHornWinch
Traffic Consultant – DENCO
Irrigation Design – SOTIRIOS MAVRAGANIS
Environmental Studies – HPC – PASECO