“Architecture is art, but art vastly contaminated by many other things. Contaminated in the best sense of the word – fed, fertilised by many things.” - Renzo Piano
Renzo Piano, the Pritzker-Prize Laureate born in Genoa, Italy, turns 75 today. While Piano was originally expected to follow the family tradition of building, Renzo rebelled to study architecture in Milan. Even so, to this day, Piano maintains a healthy skepticism of academia; indeed, craftsmanship and experimentation are both pillars at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
Although not known for any signature style, Piano’s varied works – from the Centre Pompidou he designed with Richard Rogers at the ripe old age of 35, to the quietly reverent Menil Collection in Houston, to the Shard that towers over London town – all show Piano’s mastery for architecture’s less “touchable” elements, such as light and air. In fact, according to Piano, his only constant is “this idea of making a building fly – creating something with zero gravity.”
Perhaps that’s why the best of Piano’s work seems so transcendent – closer to “refined harmony rather than virtuosic display.”
We’ll be bringing you all things Renzo Piano throughout the day, but for now, check out more inspiring Piano quotes, after the break….
On Architecture and Architects
“Architecture is art, but art vastly contaminated by many other things. Contaminated in the best sense of the word – fed, fertilised by many things.” - In an interview with Dezeen editor-in-chief, Marcus Fairs
“As an architect you are a builder. You are of course more than a builder. You need to be a militant, you have to be a poet, you have to be a visionary, you have to be an artist. But certainly you have to be a builder. Everything starts from there.” – in an interview with BBC correspondent, Razia Iqbal
On A Signature Style
“I think it is a trap. But what I don’t hate is ‘intelligence’ or ‘coherence’. Because coherence is not about shape, it is about something stronger, more humanistic, more poetic even.” – The Independent
“I hate this idea of a repetitive gesture or a self-referential attitude; I hate this idea of being trapped by the need to promote your griffe– your label – but at the same time I love the idea of coherence. I love the idea that an architect has their own language. We have to constantly fight against the temptation to repeat yourself. – In an interview with Dezeen editor-in-chief, Marcus Fairs
“How can you tell such a different story with the same language? How can you worry about that? But you don’t have to worry if you have an internal coherence. This will come anyway. But if you start worrying then you fall in the trap. Instead of being free, you worry that is not essential, which is “how will people recognise that it is mine.” - In an interview with Dezeen editor-in-chief, Marcus Fairs