|Birth Day:||September 14, 1937|
|Birth Place:||Genoa, Italy|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
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He graduated from the Politecnico di Milano in 1964. His earliest projects included basic shelters and experimental lightweight structures. He worked for the famed Louis Kahn from 1965 until 1970 and Richard Rogers from 1971 until 1977, with whom he designed Paris' Centre Georges Pompidou.
Piano was born in Genoa, Italy, into a family of builders. His grandfather had created a masonry enterprise, which had been expanded by his father, Carlo Piano, and his father's three brothers, into the firm Fratelli Piano. The firm prospered after World War II, constructing houses and factories and selling construction materials. When his father retired the enterprise was led by Renzo's older brother, Ermanno, who studied engineering at the University of Genoa. Renzo studied architecture at the Milan Polytechnic University. He graduated in 1964 with a dissertation about modular coordination (coordinazione modulare) supervised by Giuseppe Ciribini and began working with experimental lightweight structures and basic shelters.
The Whitney Museum of American Art decided to move from its original building on Madison Avenue, constructed by Marcel Breuer in 1966, to a new location at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington in Manhatttan, a neighborhood once occupied by meat packing houses, next to the High Line, a riverside highway and park. The museum, with nine levels, has an asymmetric industrial look to match the architecture of the neighborhood. In addition to its interior galleries, it has 1207 square meters of open-air exhibit space on a large terrace atop one section of the building. It was built of steel, concrete, and stone, but also with pine wood and other materials recycled from demolished factories. Jule Iovine, architecture critic of the Wall Street Journal, called it "a welcoming, creative machine" thanks to its "open, changeable spaces," and Michael Kimmelman, critic of the New York Times, called it "an outdoor perch to see and be seen... There's a generosity to the architecture, a sense of art connecting with the city and vice versa".
Piano taught at the Polytechnic University from 1965 until 1968, and expanded his horizons and technical skills by working in two large international firms, for the modernist architect Louis Kahn in Philadelphia and for the Polish engineer Zygmunt Stanlislaw Makowski in London. He completed his first building, the IPE factory in Genoa, in 1968, with a roof of steel and reinforced polyester, and created a continuous membrane for the covering of a pavilion at the Milan Triennale in the same year. In 1970, he received his first international commission, for the Pavilion of Italian Industry for Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan. He collaborated with his brother Ermanno and the family firm, which manufactured the structure. It was lightweight and original composed of steel and reinforced polyester, and it appeared to be simultaneously artistic and industrial.
The 1970 Osaka structure was greatly admired by the British architect Richard Rogers, and in 1971 the two men decided to open their own firm, Piano and Rogers, where they worked together from 1971 to 1977. The first project of the firm was the administrative building of B&B Italia, an Italian furniture company, in Novedrate, Como, Italy. This design featured suspended container and an open bearing structure, with the conduits for heating and water on the exterior painted in bright colors (blue, red and yellow). These unusual features attracted considerable attention in the architectural world, and influenced the choice of the jurors who selected Piano and Rogers to design the Pompidou Center.
In 1971 the thirty-four-year old Piano and Richard Rogers, thirty-eight, in collaboration with the Italian architect Gianfranco Franchini, competed with the major architectural firms in the United States and Europe, and were awarded the commission for the most prestigious project in Paris, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the new French national museum of 20th century art. The award came a surprise, to the architectural world, since the two were little-known, and had no experience with museums or other major structures. The New York Times declared that their design "turned the architecture world upside down". More literally it turned architecture inside-out, since in the new museum, the apparent structural frame of the building and the heating and air conditioning ducts were on the exterior, painted in bright colors. The escalator, in a transparent tube, crossed the facade of the building at a diagonal. The building was an astonishing success, entirely transforming the character of a run-down commercial section near the Marais in Paris, and made Piano one of the best-known architects in the world.
The extension of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (2007–13) is an addition to the museum designed by Louis Kahn the modernist architect for whom Piano worked at the beginning of his career, completed in 1972. The building faces the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, designed by Tadao Ando (2002). The new gallery occupies 7595 square meters, compared with 11,148 square meters for the Kahn building, and cost 135 million dollars. Piano created a dramatic new entrance for the museum, with huge windows showing the bright red furniture against the alabaster white walls within. The materials used in the new museum included light-colored concrete, to harmonize with the Kahn building, combined with beams and ceilings of Douglas fir, and floors of white oak and an abundance of double-paned and fritted glass. The museum also includes modern ecological features including a vegetal roof, photovoltaic cells on the roof, geothermal wells, and LED lighting. Piano wrote: "Our building echoes the Kahn building through its height, its scale and its general plan, but our building has a character that is more transparent and more open. Light, discreet (half of the surfaces are underground), it nonetheless has its own character and creates a dialogue between the old and the new." However, the museum also attracted critics, who said it was not ambitious enough. Mark Lamster, architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News, wrote: "With its almost impossibly smooth walls and squared columns of titanium-treated concrete, Piano's front facade evinces a clinical, stoic perfectionism.... Altogether, the assembly is a minor miracle of construction. Most impressive are the beams: 100-foot-long bars of laminated Douglas fir, trucked from Canada. But for all its technical mastery, it offers none of the elemental majesty of Kahn's building across the lawn. It is deferential to a fault."
In 1977 Piano ended his collaboration with Rogers and began a new collaboration with engineer Peter Rice, who had assisted in the design of the Pompidou Center. They established their offices in Genoa. One of their first projects was a plan for the rehabilitation of the old port of Otranto from an industrial site into a commercial and tourist attraction (1977). Their first major building was the Menil Collection, in art museum for the art collector Dominique de Menil. The chief requirements of the owner for this building was to make the maximum use of natural light in the interiors. Piano wrote, "Paradoxically, the Menil Collection, with its serenity, its calm, its discretion, is much more modern, scientifically speaking, than the Beaubourg." The Menil Collection building, with its simple gray and white cubic forms, is the stylistic opposite of the Pompidou Center. The technological innovations were not expressed on the facade, but in the high-tech but discreet systems of shutters and screens and air conditioning which allowed maximum illumination while protecting against the intense Texas heat and sunlight.
Piano founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) in 1981. In 2017 it had 150 collaborators in offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York.
The original building of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, designed by Richard Meier, and inspired by the form of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City of Frank Lloyd Wright, opened in 1983. Piano's project added four new structures; a pavilion for exhibitions, a gallery for special collections, a building for offices, and a residence hall for the Atlanta College Of Art, creating 16,000 meters of additional space. Both the new building and the original building are a gleaming white. A glass bridge with two levels connects the main pavilion with the original part of the museum. The careful management of external light is a particular feature of Piano's buildings; the High Museum Extension rows of curving fan-shaped panels on the facade and on the interior ceiling with filter the sunlight. From the parvis on the outside, the white facade gives the impression that the building has no weight at all.
In 1988 Piano and Rice won an international competition for a new airport to be constructed on an artificial island in the port of Osaka, Japan. The main terminal he designed was extremely long (1.7 kilometers), with a very low profile, so that the controllers in the control tower could always see the aircraft on the runways. The frequent earthquakes in the Japanese islands required special building techniques; the structure is mounted on hydraulic joints which adjust to movements of the earth. The long, curving roof is covered with 82,000 panels of stainless steel, which reflect the sunlight, and is supported by arches 83 meters long, which give a feeling of openness.
In 1989, after their old museum buildings were damaged by an earthquake, the trustees of the California Academy of Sciences decided to rebuild their entire complex of twelve buildings, including an aquarium, planetarium, and a museum of Natural History, located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Piano's plan called for "a group of volumes under a single roof, a little like a village." The roof itself, 1.5 hectares in area, was covered with vegetation, and blends with the surrounding park. The facade of the building also harmonizes smoothly with the nearby turn-of-the-century greenhouse that is a landmark of the Park. Three cupolas are placed under the high roof, ceiling, lit by natural light through round portholes on their roofs; they contain the entry hall, a botanical garden, and a planetarium. Piano's design for the new building was described by the New York Times as a "comforting reminder of the civilizing function of great art in a barbaric age".
Inaugurated on April 24, 1990, the building is only the third work of architect after the Center Pompidou. The cyclopean wooden structure, covered with 27,000 satin stainless steel tiles and pierced with oculus to let an overhead light pass, is completely innovative. Its curvature which follows the turn of a ramp on the ring road evokes a large airship, hence the nicknames "The Zeppelin" or "The Whale".
Potsdamer Platz is a historic square in the heart of Berlin Germany, which had been largely destroyed during World War II, and then divided by the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin. When a major reconstruction was commenced in 1990, Piano was selected to design the new buildings on five of the fifteen sites of the project, with the requirement that the buildings have roofs of copper, and facades of clear glass and materials of a baked earth color. Other architects engaged in the enormous project included Rafael Moneo, Arata Isozaki, and his former partner, Richard Rogers. The centerpiece of Piano's part of the project was the Debis building, composed of four different buildings of different sizes but in the same style. Distinctive elements include an atrium 28 meters high, and a 21-story tower whose east, south and west facades are covered with double walls of glass separated by 70 centimeters, which reduced the need for air conditioning and heating. The complex also included an IMAX movie theater, restaurant and shops. The 36-meter dome of the IMAX theater was visible from a distance and also from the street, through the clear glass of the facade. Piano wrote in The Disobedience of the Architect (2004) that he tried to match his architecture to the personality of a city. "The Berliners are accustomed to living outdoors, and to a certain form of conviviality." The new Potsdamer Platz was designed to capture the Berliner's "sense of gaiety, their sense of humor....Why should a city be demoralizing? The beautiful thing about a city is that it is a place of meetings and surprises."
In 1998, Piano won the Pritzker Prize, often considered the Nobel Prize of architecture. The jury citation compared Piano to Michelangelo and da Vinci and credited him with "redefining modern and postmodern architecture."
In 2000 the City of Chicago launched a major program of cultural buildings in Millennium Park with a new concert hall by Frank Gehry and a new wing of the beaux-arts building Art Institute of Chicago. With its construction of glass, steel and white stone, the new wing is carefully harmonized with the old structure, and, like his other art museums, makes maximum use of natural light. A horizontal sunscreen on the roof, nicknamed the "flying carpet", is a graceful update of his rooftop art museum on the Lingotto factory in Turin. He also designed a minimalist 620-foot (190 m) steel bridge connecting the sculpture terrace of the museum to Millennium Park. Nikolai Ouroussof, critic of the New York Times, noted that some aspects of the building recalled the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who had made much of his career in Chicago. "The taut forms and refined details, the elevation of an industrial aesthetic to an art form all are hallmarks of Mies's work." But he noted particularly Piano's masterful control of light within the building: "...it is the light that most people will notice.... The glass roof of the top-floor galleries is supported on delicate steel trusses. Rows of white blades rest on top of the trusses to filter out strong southern light; thin fabric panels soften the view from below... On a clear afternoon you can catch faint glimpses through the structural frame of clouds drifting by overhead. But most of the time the art takes center stage, everything else fading quietly into the background It is this obsessive refinement that raises Mr. Piano's best architecture to the level of art."
In 2004, he became head of the Renzo Piano Foundation, dedicated to the promotion of the architectural profession. Since June 2008, the headquarters has been co-located with his architectural office at Punta Nave, near Genoa.
In 2006, Piano was selected by TIME as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was chosen as the 10th most influential person in the "Arts and Entertainment" category.
Beginning in 2008, Piano rebuilt an existing structure to house the Harvard Art Museums, a consolidation of collections of the three art museums associated with Harvard University. The new museum preserved the picturesque brick Ivy-League facade of the 1925 Fogg Museum (1925), but added a new space in the courtyard, covered by a pyramidal glass roof, which increased the gallery space by 40 percent. The renovation adds six levels of galleries, classrooms, lecture halls, and new study areas providing access to parts of the 250,000-piece collection of the museums. The new building was opened in November 2014.
On 18 March 2008, he became an honorary citizen of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Shard, built over the underground station of London Bridge, is sixty-six stories and 305 meters high, which made it, when completed in 2012, the tallest skyscraper in Europe. Inside, it contains luxury residences and a hotel, along with offices, shops, restaurants, and cultural centers. It has a wide base and a split pinnacle point which seems to disappear into the clouds, like, as Piano described it, "a bell tower of the 16th century, or the mast of great ship...Often buildings of great height are aggressive and arrogant symbols of power and egoism," but the Shard is designed "to express its sharp and light presence in the urban panorama of London." Like his other tall buildings, the glass sunscreen on the exterior extends slightly above the building itself, appearing to split apart at the top. The critical reaction to the tower was predictably mixed. Simon Jenkins of the Guardian of London saw it as a foreign attack on the traditional London skyline and monuments: "This tower is anarchy. It conforms to no planning policy. It marks no architectural focus or rond-point. It offers no civic forum or function, just luxury flats and hotels. It stands apart from the City cluster and pays no heed to its surrounding context in scale, materials or ground presence. It seems to have lost its way from Dubai to Canary Wharf... The Shard has slashed the face of London for ever." However, Jonathan Glancy in the London Telegraph defended Piano's building: "The criticism – hurled against Piano like the spears of Ancient Britons fighting the civilised Romans – is, I think, a bottled up attack on our low standards of design and the beetle-browed politics that have allowed so many poor tall buildings to have been rushed up around St Paul's. The Shard, whatever its flaws – and all its many floors – is a much better building than most of the flakes below it."
In August 2013, he was appointed Senator for Life in the Italian Senate by President Giorgio Napolitano.
After his nomination as Senator for life in 2013, Renzo Piano set up a team of young architects called G124 whose mission is to work on transformation of Italy's major cities suburbs. Team members are paid with Renzo Piano senator's salary and change every year through a public selection. Projects have been developed in Turin, Milan, Padua, Venice and Rome.
Renzo's father was a builder, as was the rest of his family. As a result, his father never quite grasped his fascination with architecture. Renzo grew up by the sea, which he said inspired his obsession with light and infinite surfaces.
Currently, Renzo Piano is 85 years, 0 months and 17 days old. Renzo Piano will celebrate 86th birthday on a Thursday 14th of September 2023. Below we countdown to Renzo Piano upcoming birthday.
Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA)
Happy birthday Renzo Piano, UIA Gold Medal 2002! An exhibition devoted to his work entitled ‘La méthode Piano’ will open at La Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, in Paris by November 11 until...
Happy Birthday Renzo Piano! | homify | homify
In this ideabook we celebrate the birthday of the star of Italian architecture, Renzo Piano, who will be 87 years old this Sunday!