Renzo Piano  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Renzo Piano (September 14 1937) is an Italian architect, best-known for co-designing (with Richard Rogers) the Parisian art museum Centre Georges Pompidou.


Piano was born in Genoa, where he still maintains a home and office (Building Workshop). He was educated and subsequently taught at the Politecnico di Milano. From 1965 to 1970 he worked with Louis Kahn and with Makowsky. He worked together with Richard Rogers from 1971 to 1977; their most famous joint project is the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1977). He also had a long collaboration with the extraordinary engineer Peter Rice.

He has a long interest in elegantly expressed structure. This is evident in early works such as the Centre Pompidou, IBM travelling pavilion, through to the Kansai International Airport, Osaka (1988). Renzo Piano was responsible for the masterplan for the reconstruction of the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, and also designed a portion of the new construction on the site.

Today, he is well known for his museum designs: the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Menil Collection in Houston (1986), the Beyeler Foundation museum in Basel, Switzerland, a museum dedicated to Swiss painter Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland, as well as completed museum projects in Dallas (the Nasher Sculpture Center) and in Atlanta (the High Museum of Art).

2002 marked the completion of his state-of-the-art Auditorium-Parco della Musica (3 halls which can accommodate 2800, 1200 and 700 people respectively, an outdoor cavea and a large surrounding park) in Rome, Europe's largest music venue of its kind. In 2003 his Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church in San Giovanni Rotondo (Italy) was completed. Piano has also designed football stadia, bridges, liners and automobiles.

One of his most recent designs is the approved Shard London Bridge skyscraper (also known as the London Bridge Tower or Shard of glass) in London. His latest project is the natural history museum the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. In early June of 2006, he tentatively agreed to design an 850'+ tower that is part of the San Francisco Transbay Terminal project, and the Kimbell Art Foundation recently announced that the Renzo Piano Building Workshop has been selected as the architect for the addition to the Kimbell Art Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Art Wing which is currently under construction, slated for completion in 2009.

He won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998 and is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

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