After graduating from the Polytechnic of Milano in 1964, the world-renowned architect Renzo Piano (born in Genoa in 1937) travelled through the United State and England to complete his training and began working with well-known architects of the time (Franco Albini, Marco Zanuso, Louis Kahn and Makowskj). In 1968 he took part in the XIV Milan Triennale, for which he designed a pavilion. In 1969, in the wake of his growing international reputation, due in part to publication of his work in professional journals (“Domus” and “Casabella”), he designed the Italian Industry pavilion for the 1970 World Exposition in Osaka.
In1971, he founded the Piano & Rogers studio in collaboration with Richard Rogers, and in 1977 he began working with Peter Rice, as Piano & Rice Associates. In1981 he founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop with an office in Genoa and one in Paris; the studio focused on using avant-garde materials and technology with the intention of continuously improving its capabilities in the construction of urban buildings and complexes throughout the world.
His best known works are the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris – also known as the Beaubourg – considered as the manifesto for high-tech architecture; the San Nicola stadium in Bari 1987; Osaka airport 1988; Cité Internationale in Lyon 1991; the Science and Technology Museum Amsterdam 1992; the redesign of the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin 1992; the Tjibaou Centre for Kanak culture in Noumea 1992; the Banca Popolare di Lodi 1993; the Mercedes Benz Design Center in Stuttgart 1993; the Aurora Palace in Sydney 1996; the Telecom Tower in Rotterdam 1997; the Parco della Musica auditorium in Rome 2002; the Church of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo opened in 2004.
Also important were studies conducted into historic city centres and landscape restoration, from Otranto and the island of Burano to projects for Genoa’s old harbour, Rodi, Valletta, Pompeii and the Sassi di Matera, which demonstrate his interest in and sensitivity to an approach which is not exclusively high-tech.
The many awards received by Piano include the 1998 Pritzker Prize, considered the world’s most prestige architecture prize.
He has been Unesco ambassador for architecture since 1994.
In addition to important commissions and numerous projects, the studio, research and an approach involving traditional techniques, such as drawing by hand and the development of studio models, comprise for Renzo Piano an organisational system which is functional, practical and free from academic theories and concepts.