40 Architecture Docs to Watch In 2014

Gehry’s Vertigo. Image Courtesy of

This time last year we published our 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013 featuring a fantastic range of films telling the tales of some of the world’s greatest unsung architectural heroes. We now bring you eleven more for 2014, looking past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.

Renzo Piano-Designed Residential Tower Planned to Neighbor the Shard

View of from Millennium Bridge (June 2012). Image © Michel Denancé

Sellar Property Group has announced plans to commission yet another Renzo Piano-designed tower in at the base of The Shard. Replacing the current Fielden House, a 1970s office building located on London Bridge Street, the new 27-story residential tower plans to provide 150 apartments, retail space and roof garden. As part of the area’s regeneration plan, the project will be the third Piano-designed building on the block.

Museum Round Up: The Box is Back

Clyfford Still Museum. Image © Jeremy Bittermann

In a recent article for the Denver Post, Ray Rinaldi discusses how the box is making a comeback in U.S. museum design. Stating how architecture in the 2000’s was a lot about swoops, curves, and flying birds – see Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava - he points out the cool cubes of David Chipperfield and Renzo Piano. We’ve rounded up some of these boxy works just for you: the Clyfford Still Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum Expansion, The St. Louis Art Museum’s East Building, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s Barnes Foundation, and Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum. Each project begins to show how boxes can be strong, secure, and even sly. Check out more about the article here.

Renzo Piano Pavilion at Kimbell Art Museum / Renzo Piano + Kendall/Heaton Associates

© Robert Laprelle

Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Kendall/Heaton Associates
Location: Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard, , TX 76107, USA
Project Manager: Paratus Group
Area: 101130.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Robert Laprelle, Robert Polidori

Review: ‘Richard Rogers: Inside Out’ at the Royal Academy

Zip-Up House Concept drawing (1968) – courtesy of . Image © Richard and Su Rogers

“Architecture is too complex to be solved by any one person.”

Richard Rogers is an architect who understands the significance of collaboration. As a man with an intense social mind and a thirst for fairness in architectural and urban design, Rogers’ substantial portfolio of completed and proposed buildings is driven by the Athenian citizen’s oath of “I shall leave this city not less but more beautiful than I found it.”

In honor of his success, London’s Royal Academy (RA) is currently playing host to a vast of Richard Rogers’ work, from his collaborations with Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, to the large-scale projects that define Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) today. The RA’s extensive exhibition has been condensed into a series of motifs that have defined his architectural work, punctuated by memorabilia which offer personal insights into how Rogers’ career has been shaped by the people he’s worked with and the projects that he has worked on.

Continue after the break for a selection of highlights from the exhibition. 

Happy Birthday Renzo Piano!

“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 76 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.

Check the rest of our interview: Part II and Part III.

Check out more Renzo Piano, including inspiring quotes and all his works on ArchDaily, after the break….

Renzo Piano Becomes Italian Senator

Courtesy of Architectural Review

Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano has been named a senator for life by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, giving him the right to vote in the Parliament’s Upper House. Napolitano also appointed three others to the position, including Claudio Abbado (an accomplished conductor), Elena Cattaneo (a biologist specializing in stem cell research), and Carlo Rubbia (a Nobel Prize winning particle physicist). 

In a statement, the president said that he is sure that all four ‘”will make a special contribution to their extremely significant fields,” noting that the positions were allocated “in absolute independence of any party political considerations” in wake of the Senate’s current tension surrounding former President Silvio Berlusconi.

MUSE / Renzo Piano

© Shunji Ishida

Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Location: Conci “Villazzano 3″, 38123 Trento, Italy
Design Team: S. Scarabicchi, E. Donadel, M.Menardo, M.Orlandi, G.Traverso, D.Vespier and P.Carrera, L.Soprani, M.Pineda; I.Corsaro
Year: 2013
Photographs: Shunji Ishida, Alessandro Gadotti, Enrico Cano, Stefano Goldberg, Paolo Pelanda

Diogene / Renzo Piano

Photography by Julien Lanoo ©

From the architect. Over the years, furniture company Vitra has made a name for itself as one of the most architecturally-enlightened companies in the world, with their renowned campus featuring buildings by Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank Gehry, Alvaro Siza, Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron and SANAA.

Now, Vitra has announced a collaboration with Renzo Piano that will bridge the gap between their sought-after furniture and their bespoke campus. Diogene, a self contained minimal living space with a floor area of just 2.5 x 3.0 meters, is billed as “Vitra’s smallest building – but largest product”.

More about the design of Diogene after the break

‘Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Fragments’ Exhibition

Courtesy of Renzo Piano Foundation

Taking place June 27 – August 2, Gagosian Gallery, in collaboration with Renzo Piano Foundation and generously supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, ‘Fragments’ is an of more than thirty years of architectural projects by the . Equal parts library reading room, school classroom, and natural history gallery, the exhibition consists of twenty-four tabletop displays of scale models, drawings, photographs, and video. Each tells the involved, inspiring story of the design process of a single building, from museums, libraries, and airports to private residences. More information on the exhibition after the break.

Giveaway: Win Living Architectures Books and Films

Thanks to the courtesy of our friends from Beka & Partners, we are giving you the chance to win one of the five DVD-Books of the Living Architectures collection.

” is a series of films that seeks to develop a way of looking at architecture which turns away from the current trend of idealizing the representation of our architectural heritage.

The five DVD-Books are: ‘Inside Piano‘, ‘Gehry’s Vertigo‘, ‘Pomerol, Herzog & de Meuron‘, ‘Koolhaas Houselife‘ and ‘Xmas Meier‘. We will have five winners, each of one will receive one randomly. All you have to do to participate is become a registered user (if you’re not one already) and answer the following question in our comments:

“Which architect would you like to see next in the Living Architectures series and why?”

You have until June 24 to submit your answer. Winners will be announced and contacted during the same day.

For more information about the DVD-Books you can check the trailers after the break, or go to www.living-architectures.com for more details. Good luck!

Living Architectures: Inside Piano / Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine

Fifth project of the Living Architectures series, Inside Piano is composed of three on three symbolic buildings of Renzo Piano’s career. A visit throughout the prototype-building of the Centre Pompidou. An immersion in the soundproof world of a submarine floating in the depths of the Parisian underground. A journey aboard a luminous magic carpet of a highly sophisticated architectural machine. A humorous, caustic and quirky point of view.

Motion Picture Academy Unveils Designs for Renzo Piano-Designed Museum

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures © Building Workshop, Studio Pali Fekete architects, AMPAS

It’s surprising to think that Los Angeles - the home of the U.S film industry – doesn’t have a museum solely dedicated to its homegrown artform. However, all that is about to change should the Academy of Motion Pictures have their way.

Last Thursday, plans were unveiled for the long-touted Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a new museum designed by Renzo Piano and native Los Angeleno architect Zoltan Pali, which will be located in the streamline-moderne Wiltshire May Company building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Although the designs are at an early stage, the released drawings propose to convert the historic building into a museum, while marrying it with a 140-foot-diameter glass dome.

Read more about the project after the break…

2013 President’s Medal Awarded to Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano’s Flat-Pack Auditorium for L’Aquila / © Marco Caselli Nirmal

The Architectural League of New York announced early this month the award of its 2013 President’s Medal to Renzo Piano of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.The President’s Medal is the Architectural League’s highest honor and is bestowed, at the discretion of the League’s President and Board of Directors, on individuals to recognize an extraordinary body of work in architecture, urbanism, or design. This award also exemplifies the Architectural League’s 130-year history of encouraging and honoring excellence in architecture, urbanism, and design. The medal was presented to Renzo Piano, one of the world’s most admired architects, by Architectural League President Annabelle Selldorf on April 9th at a dinner with over 350 guests in Manhattan. For more information, please visit here.

Arup Documentary: Traces of Peter Rice

YouTube Preview Image

has been described as both one of the best engineers and architects of the twentieth century. Unhappy with the role that engineers play in designing buildings, Rice dedicated his life to championing brave innovation and poetry through structure in a way that helped bridge the gap between engineering and architecture. His desire to work in tandem with architects, towards a shared vision, made him one of the most in-demand engineers of the twentieth century.

Read more about this amazing man and check out the video after the break…

Renzo Piano Designs a Flat-Pack Auditorium for L’Aquila

© Marco Caselli Nirmal

In April 2009, the central Italian city of L’Aquila was devastated by a crippling earthquake, claiming lives and causing extensive damage to thousands of buildings, including the leveling of the city’s main auditorium venue. Nearing the fourth anniversary of this tragic disaster, the Italian city of has donated a -designed auditorium, which was inaugurated in October, in an effort to aid the reconstruction of this medieval city.

Creating an illusion of instability, the auditorium is formed by three interconnected cubes made entirely of wood (1.165 cubic meters in total) that ironically appears as they had “haphazardly tumbled down” and came to rest upon each other. The entire structure was prefabricated and then assembled onsite by Log Engineering, who pieced it together with 800,000 nails, 100,000 screws and 10,000 brackets.

Renzo Piano Talks Architecture and Discusses ‘The Shard’ with BBC News

’s Sarah Montague interviews Renzo Piano, the mastermind behind London’s most controversial and newest skyscraper: ‘’. Prior to the interview,  Montague spotted Piano blending into the crowd during the opening of the 310-meter skyscraper “spying” on the onlookers. When asked about this moment, Piano revealed the great advice he received from the prominent Italian film director Roberto Rossellini upon the completion of the Pompidou Center in Paris: “You do not look at the building, you look at the people looking at the building.” It was during this moment that Piano observed “surprise” and “wonder, but not fear” amongst the onlookers – a reaction he seemed to be content with.

Despite Piano’s attempt to refrain from controversy, it is hard to avoid when your design intends to celebrate a “shift in society” as does the ‘Shard’. Change tends to stir mixed emotions and spark debate. However, being part of this “human adventure” as an architect is what Piano finds most rewarding. He states: “You don’t change the world as an architect, but you celebrate the change of the world.”

The Menil Collection selected to receive AIA Twenty-five Year Award

© Paul Hester

The Menil Collection Houston, designed by architect Renzo Piano, has been selected for the 2013 Twenty-five Year Award. Recognizing architectural design of enduring significance, the Twenty-five Year Award is conferred on a building that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years as an embodiment of architectural excellence. Projects must demonstrate excellence in function, in the distinguished execution of its original program, and in the creative aspects of its statement by today’s standards. The award will be presented this June at the National Convention in Denver.

More on The Menil Collection after the break.