"A museum is a place where one should lose one's head."

Happy birthday Renzo Piano!

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Renzo Piano (born September 14, 1937) is an Italian architect. He has designed some of the world's highest profile buildings, including, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the New York Times headquarters, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and many others.

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Piano was born in Genoa, Italy. He grew up in a family of builders, frequenting his father's building sites as a child. He attended the Politecnico di Milano. He went on to work with architects Louis Kahn, Z.S. Makowsky, Richard Rogers, and Gianfranco Franchini.

In 1971, Piano and Rogers set up an office in London. They won the competition to design the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris:

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Before long, Piano moved to Paris and worked with Peter Rice at Atelier Piano & Rice until the early 1980s. This gave way to the establishment of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) in 1981:

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RPBW has designed the Menil Collection in Houston, the terminal for Kansai International Airport in Osaka, the Fondation Beyeler Museum in Basel, the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia, Potsdamer Platz in Berlin:

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the redevelopment of the Genoa harbour, the Auditorium "Parco della Musica" in Rome, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas:

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the extensions of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Morgan Library in New York, the Maison Hermès in Tokyo, the New York Times headquarters:

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the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco:

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the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, the rehabilitation of the Ronchamp site, the expansion of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston:

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Piano is considered a planning and process-heavy architect. He has said, "Knowing how to do things not just with the head, but with the hands as well: this might seem a programmatic and ideological goal. It is not. It is a way of safeguarding creative freedom."

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In 1989, Piano won the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. He won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998. In 2008, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects. In 2006, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

In 2013, he was named a senator for life by the Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, who stated that his cultural and scientific achievements make him capable of working as a senator "in absolute independence of any party political considerations."

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A retrospective of his work was held at New York's Gagosian Gallery during the summer of 2013.

Piano is known for his particular attention to light in the creation of exhibition spaces and other public areas.

He has recently revealed plans for a museum of movie history in Los Angeles, California, which will add a spherical glass structure to a 1930s era building.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Sunday, 14 September 2014
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