Piano, Renzo


Piano, Renzo
(1937– )
   Born in Genoa (Genova) to a family of builders, Renzo Piano is an architect with a worldwide reputation for innovation and striking design. He was educated at Milan’s Politecnico University. Piano became an internationally renowned figure in the 1970s after he collaborated with a British architect, Richard Rogers, to build the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Their radical design, with its hundreds of external pipes and innovative use of internal exhibition space, was decried by many but has since become a muchloved monument. Piano’s studio has since put its name to blueprints for major projects round the world. Piano designed Kansai International Airport in Japan (1987–1990), planned the Potzdammerplatz in Berlin in the 1990s, and designed the Parco della musica in Rome (2002) and the Klee Center in Berne (2006). His dazzling design for a giant London skyscraper (310 meters or 1,016 feet), the Shard London Bridge, was approved in 2006. A giant glass knife piercing the sky, the Shard looks set to be one of the most-discussed buildings of recent times.
   Piano was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize by President Bill Clinton in a White House ceremony in June 1998. The $100,000 prize, which is only made to the most distinguished practitioners of the architectural art, had only previously been awarded to one other Italian, Aldo Rossi, in 1990. The jury praised the “rare melding of art, architecture and engineering” in Piano’s work and compared his “intellectual curiosity” to that of Leonardo and Michelangelo. Piano has been a UNESCO goodwill ambassador since 1994.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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