Il Vulcano Buono designed by Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano – architect and Italian senator

Culture News

Award-winning architect Renzo Piano was born on 14th September, 1937 in Genoa. The designer of innovative buildings is now an Italian senator.

Piano is well-known for his high-tech designs for public spaces and is particularly famous for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, which he worked on in collaboration with the British architect, Richard Rogers.

Among the many awards and prizes Piano has received for his work are the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for architecture in 1995, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998 and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2008.

Born into a family of builders

Born into a family of builders, Renzo Piano graduated from the Polytechnic in Milan in 1964. He completed his first building, the IPE factory in Genoa, in 1968. It had a roof of steel and reinforced polyester.

He worked with a variety of architects, until he established a partnership with Rogers. That lasted from 1971-1977 and produced many memorable pieces of architecture.

Landmark buildings

Rogers and Piano made the Centre Georges Pompidou look like an urban machine. It immediately gained the attention of the international architectural community.

Pompidou Centre in Paris
The Pompidou Centre, Paris

In Italy, Piano designed a new look for the old port of Genoa. He transformed it from a rundown industrial area into a cultural centre and tourist attraction. Other large commissions in Italy were the San Nicola Stadium in Bari, completed in time for the 1990 football World Cup; the Auditorium Parco della Musica, in Rome; il Vulcano Buono shopping centre in Nola.

Piano converted a massive Fiat factory in Turin into a convention centre and venue for the city’s trade fair.

His design for The Shard in London made it the tallest building in western Europe when it was completed in 2012. It towers above the skyline of London.

The Shard in London one of Piano's landmark buildings
The Shard, London

Another 21st century project, notable for its green architecture, was a building for the California Academy of Science in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

President Giorgio Napolitano, appointed Piano a Senator for Life in the Italian Senate in 2013.

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