He is acknowledged worldwide as one of the greatest living architects. Some of his work has been placed at the zenith of architecture. He has been awarded most of his profession’s highest accolades. Renzo Piano is the sought-after creator of some of the world’s most important and sophisticated works of contemporary architecture.
Piano was born in 1937 into a family of building constructors. After graduating at Milan’s Polytechnic he taught for two years at the prestigious Architectural Association School of Architecture, where he met Richard Rogers. In 1971, together with Gianfranco Franchini, they won the contract to design one of the twentieth century’s most avant-garde architectural works: the Pompidou Centre.
In 1981 Piano founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) in Genoa and created a series of refined buildings which brought him undisputed international success.
His designs are distinctive for their sober and elegant outlines and shapes, and are rich in sophisticated details, so in most cases the identity of their designer is clear.
They are fascinating on account not only of their appearance but also of their spirit: Piano is one of the few architects who has shown that he understands the principle of Genius Loci, that is to say his buildings are integrated into the socio-cultural, historical and artistic realities of their location. Many of his designs are a striking example of this.
His studio now has eleven partners, employees numbered in their hundreds (of whom only 80 are architects), and has offices in Genoa, Paris and New York. Owing to this team, Piano and RPBW have written the history of world architecture and continue to do so.
Thanks to the Renzo Piano Building Workshop for their assistance in producing this article.
Genova, October 2017