Jean-Marie-Tjibaou Cultural Center, 1991–98
© Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Photography by Pantz Pierre-Alain
Born into a family of builders, Piano connects his coastal upbringing in Genoa to the evolution of certain constants in his architecture: an obsession with light and its effect on the dynamic potential of built space. He formed the Piano & Rogers Atelier with Richard Rogers in 1971. The same year, the London–based studio won the commission for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris—an audacious challenge that transformed the academic idea of the museum into a highly flexible toolbox building, with all technical functions fully exposed. Since then, Piano has become the most sought-after museum architect in the world for his ability to harmonize buildings with their surroundings and the artworks exhibited within them. Innovative technologies enhance these highly functional spaces, but succumb visually to the serene formal neutrality, guided by natural light, for which the Building Workshop is known—which Piano refers to as “the immaterial elements of space.”
Renzo Piano was born in 1937 in Genoa, Italy. He graduated in 1964 from Politecnico University, Italy. He founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in 1981. Today, a team of approximately 150 people work with the Italian architect at his Paris, Genoa, and New York offices. The firm has become renowned for some of the most innovative architectural projects of the past three decades. Recent solo exhibitions include “un regard construit,” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000); “Architekturen des Lebens,” Neue National Galerie, Berlin (2000); “The Architect’s Studio,” Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2003); “On Tour with Renzo Piano and Building Workshop: Selected Projects,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (2005); “Celebrate Architecture! Renzo Piano and Building Workshop,” High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2005); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2006); and “Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Répons,” Arc en Rêve Centre d’Architecture, France (2010).
Piano currently lives and works in Paris, France.