Architecture Renaissance Man: An Interview with Renzo Piano
Grenier, Cynthia, The World and I
This year's winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize tells how he has translated a love of art, architecture, and engineering into an astounding variety of projects around the globe.
Renzo Piano is the twenty-first architect to be honored with the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The profession's highest distinction, it is bestowed with a bronze medallion and a $100,000 grant. In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Pritzker, the formal presentation was made at a ceremony hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House on June 17.
The jury citation describes Piano's architecture as a "rare melding of art, architecture, and engineering in a truly remarkable synthesis." Prodigiously energetic as well as talented, he has left his mark around the globe. What's more, his projects include not only buildings--which range from homes to apartments, offices to shopping centers, museums, factories, workshops and studios, airline and railway terminals, expositions, and theaters and churches--but also bridges, ships, boats, and cars, as well as city-planning projects, major renovations, and reconstructions. In addition, in his native Italy he stars in a television program dedicated to architecture.
Born into a family of builders (his grandfather, father, four uncles, and a brother were all contractors) in Genoa, Italy, sixty-two years ago, Piano chose architecture instead. He studied at the Milan Polytechnic Architecture School, and upon graduation he worked in his father's construction company, designing under the guidance of Franco Albini.
Piano's first major commission came in 1969: designing the Italian Industry Pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan. The Expo project drew much favorable attention, including that of an English architect, Richard Rogers. The two young men found they had much in common, and when an engineering firm suggested they team up and enter the international competition for the Georges Pompidou Center (popularly known as the Beaubourg) in Paris, they did--and won.
Their collaboration resulted in a building over a million …
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Publication information: Article title: Architecture Renaissance Man: An Interview with Renzo Piano. Contributors: Grenier, Cynthia - Author. Magazine title: The World and I. Volume: 13. Issue: 10 Publication date: October 1998. Page number: 100+. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.