The life and the works of Renzo Piano – One of the most important Italian architects

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Italy is known and appreciated all over the world for the exceptional value of some figures that have characterized recent history. One of the best known is Renzo Piano, one of the most active and prolific architects in the world.

His life

Renzo Piano is an Italian-born architect and senator born in Genoa on 14th September 1937. After obtaining his high school diploma in his city, he attended the faculty of architecture first in Florence and then in Milan. Here still as a student he attended the architectural firm of Franco Albini. He graduated from the Milan Polytechnic in 1964 with a thesis entitled Modulation and modular coordination. After attending the Albini firm between 1965 and 1975 he travelled between the United States and England to complete his training.

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His works

Since the beginning of his career, his style has been characterized by constant research and experimentation with materials and construction types. In 1968 he took part in the XIV Triennale di Milano. On this occasion he created a pavilion. The success obtained and the publication of his works in various magazines of the sector allowed him to win the realization of the pavilion for the Italian industry at the Osaka Universal Exhibition of 1970. The following year he won the competition for the construction of the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris.

In 1981 he founded the Renzo Piano Building Work shop with offices in Genoa, Paris and New York. In 1988 he took care of the renovation of the Old Port of Genoa in view of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. In 2004 the Renzo Piano foundation was established. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of various activities.

He later produced many projects for various places around the world, creating unique buildings. One example is the tallest skyscraper in Europe, The Shard in London built in 2012. The same year he also designed the Palace of Justice in Paris.

His main projects

During the years there have been many projects by the Genoese architect. Here we will analyze some of the main ones that made Renzo Piano famous all over the world. These are:

  • the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris (1971-1977)
  • Kimbell Art Museum in Texas (2007-2013)
  • The Shard in London (2000-2012)

The first is definitely the one that gave impetus to his career. It is a multidisciplinary public space as it houses a library, a museum, a design center and a music center. Its structure is mainly composed of glass and steel, coloured tubes also come out of it. The second is instead a space designed in 1972 by Louis Khan. Over the years the collection became so vast that additional space was required, and it was therefore decided to add a new structure twice the size of the previous one.

The last one is one of the most important projects carried out by the architect from Genoa. The peculiarity of this realization concerns the fact that he has managed to create a versatile environment that is both public and private at the same time. Inside it houses offices, a hotel, restaurants, a bar and a gallery. It can be said that it is similar to a vertical city that presents commercial, residential and public environments. Moreover they are all easily accessible thanks to public transport.

The main awards

Over the course of his life, architect Renzo Piano has won many prestigious awards at international level. In 1985 he received the Legion of Honor. The Royal Institute of British Architecture in London awarded him the gold medal in 1989. In 1998 he received the prestigious Pritzker Prize. In 2003 a monographic exhibition at the Triennale di Milano was dedicated to him to celebrate his 40 years of activity. In 2013 he was appointed life senator by the then president of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano.

In Italy over the years there have been many professionals who have distinguished themselves for their particular abilities. Some, however, more than others have left an indelible mark with their work. If you want to discover other important personalities who have distinguished themselves for their profession, we recommend reading this article too. Now that you know who Renzo Piano is, you just have to go and discover the buildings he designed.