"The array of buildings by Renzo Piano is staggering in scope and comprehensive in the diversity of scale, material, and form. He is truly an architect whose sensibilities represent the widest range of this and earlier centuries."
This was the Pritzker Prize jury's citation when the prestigious award was bestowed on Renzo Piano in 1998.
Zentrum Paul Klee, Berna - Photo: Florian Arnd
Renzo Piano was born in Genoa, Italy in 1937. His grandfather, his father, four uncles and a brother were all building contractors. Piano's upbringing in a family of builders has fostered a unique passion and understanding for construction. During his studies he worked under Franco Albini, a prominent Italian architect and designer. Following his graduation from Milan Polytechnic Architecture School in 1964, he worked in his father's construction company. From 1965-70 Piano worked for Louis Kahn in Philadelphia, and Z. S. Makowsky in London.
His first important solo commission was in 1969 to design the Italian Industry Pavilion at Expo 1970 in Osaka. The Expo project was well received by the public and critics. A young English architect named Richard Rogers was also impressed. Piano and Rogers found they had a lot in common and subsequently form a practice together (1970-77). Their most famous project is the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. The building received resounding critical acclaim and made Rogers and Piano household names.
George Pompidou Centre, Paris - Photo: 9attaraf
In 1981, Piano founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, which today employs 150 people and maintains offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York City. Renzo Piano 's work includes more than 40 projects worldwide. These projects include many civic buildings: museums, galleries, churches etc, urban design projects (Potsdamer Platz master plan, Berlin, Germany ), skyscrapers (The Shard, London), airports, stadiums and many more.
The Shard, London - Photo: B J Mullan
Renzo Piano continues to be one of the 21st centuries most prolific and lauded architects. His work has received much critical acclaim, and he has been the recipient of many prestigious architectural awards and prizes.
A few Renzo Piano projects:
- IRCAM & the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (1977)
- IBM Travelling Pavilion, (1984)
- Banca CIS building, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy (1985)
- Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, United States (1987)
- Stadio San Nicola, Bari, Italy (1989)
- International Terminal, Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan (1994)
- Cy Twombly Gallery, Houston, Texas, United States (1995)
- Ushibuka Haiya Bridge, Amakusa, Japan (1997)
- Beyeler Foundation Museum, Basel, Switzerland (1997)
- NEMO science museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (1997)
- Ferrari wind tunnel, Maranello, Italy (1998)
- Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, Nouméa, New Caledonia (1998)
- Aurora Place, Sydney, Australia (2000)
- Potsdamer Platz master plan, Berlin, Germany (2000)
- Auditorium Paganini, Parma, Italy (2001)
- Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy (2002)
- Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy (2004)
- Il Sole 24 Ore headquarters, Milan, Italy (2004)
- Cité Internationale, Lyon, France (2006)
- Vulcano Buono, Nola, Italy (2007)
- The New York Times Building, New York City, United States (2007)
- Rocca di Frassinello Winery, Gavorrano, Italy (2007)
- Saba building , Mashhad , Iran (2007)
- Central Saint Giles, London, United Kingdom (2010)
- The Shard, London, United Kingdom (2012)
Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana
- Royal Gold Medal, 1989
- Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, 1990
- Kyoto Prize, 1990
- Italian Order of Merit for Culture and Art, 1994
- Pritzker Architecture Prize, 1998
- AIA Gold Medal, 2008
- Sonning Prize, 2008.