This edition of a+u introduces the 23 recent works of architecture and technology that emerged from their relationship with the urban structure or the development history. In this issue, we focus our attention on the process of conceiving and realizing the projects driven by various motivations and tactics. We invite readers to look beyond the confinement of a single building and examine the works on their possibilities to be in use for a long time.
Renzo Piano: The Latest Architecture and News
On the surface, designing a new art museum for Harvard University is a brief so straightforward that it sounds like part of university curriculum itself. The program lends itself to the type of light and airy spaces architects dream of creating; the campus site promises both steady and engaged traffic. But, for all the apparent advantages, the road to realizing Harvard’s Art Museums was a deceptively complex one - one that ultimately took six years to see realized.
One of the most tragic events in Europe in 2018 was the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy on August 14th, claiming 43 lives. In the aftermath of the disaster, Genoa-born architect Renzo Piano offered to donate the design of a bridge to replace the old one, having been deeply affected by the tragedy.
In a positive development before the year ends, Genoa’s mayor has announced that Piano will lead a 200-million-euro ($230 million) project for the bridge’s replacement, inspired by Genoa’s historic maritime prominence.
Johnston Marklee has rapidly become one of the US’ most exciting practices. After years of completing sensitive and complex domestic-scaled works in Los Angeles, the office vaulted to prominence after being selected to curate Chicago’s 2017 architecture biennial. Since then they’ve completed and embarked on numerous significant projects - none more so than the Menil Drawing Institute.
Across the world, developed cities are rebelling against heavy industry. While some reasons vary depending on local circumstances, a common global drive towards clean energy, and the shifting of developed economies towards financial services, automation, and the gig economy, is leaving a common trace within urban centers. From Beijing to Detroit, vast wastelands of steel and concrete will stand as empty relics to the age of steel and coal.
The question of what to do with these wastelands, with defunct furnaces, railways, chimneys, and lakes, may be one of the major urban questions facing generations of architects to come. What can be done when the impracticality of industrial complexes, and the precious land they needlessly occupy, collides with the embodied energy, memories, and histories which few would wish to lose?
Architecture is art, but art vastly contaminated by many other things. Contaminated in the best sense of the word—fed, fertilized by many things.
– Renzo Piano
Italian architect Renzo Piano (born 14 September 1937) is known for his delicate and refined approach to building, deployed in museums and other buildings around the world. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1998, the Pritzker Jury compared him to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Brunelleschi, highlighting "his intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques as broad and far ranging as those earlier masters of his native land."
Renzo Piano has offered to donate the design of a bridge to replace the one which tragically collapsed in Genoa on 14th August. Piano, who was born in Genoa, said he has been deeply affected by the tragedy which claimed the lives of 43 people.
The project, reported by Reuters, was announced following a discussion between the architect and the governor of Liguria, who accepted Piano’s offer.
Nike has announced that it will release a special edition of its Air Max 1 range, inspired by the iconic Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The special edition pays tribute to the Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano-designed structure, which is credited by designer Tinker Hatfield as the inspiration behind his original Air Max 1 range.
Two upcoming editions of the Air Max 1 will honor the building, with colored tubes appearing along the seams and lines of the fabric, as well as the sole. A large P logo on the translucent sole offers a further tribute to the controversial structure, opened in 1977.
The Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) has presented their preliminary design approaches for three hospitals in Greece. Part of a €200 million ($240 million) healthcare initiative launched by the Greek government, RPBW will produce designs for a General Hospital of Kromotini, a Children’s Hospital in Thessaloniki, and the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens which will also form part of the University’s Faculty of Nursing.
The three schemes are united by a “people-centric” approach, with each project seeking to integrate into their natural environments with an emphasis on natural light. The projects will follow the design ethos of the Stavros Niarchos Foundational Cultural Center by RPBW, completed in 2016.
New details have been released of Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s first residential building in the United States; a landmark luxury condominium scheme on Miami’s North Beach. Designed in collaboration with interior architects Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure (RDAI) and landscape firm West 8, the 66-unit scheme seeks to embrace both the ocean and adjacent 35-acre park, with a fluid design to “blur the line between imagination and craftsmanship.”
The architectural concept behind the scheme, titled “Eighty Seven Park,” was to create a “coastal sanctuary” floating above the lush landscape of North Shore Park. Though simple in form and motif, Piano’s design prioritizes an intricate attention to detail; “the belief in perfecting every element of its design and construction.”
Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of the leading Danish architect, Jørn Utzon. Notably responsible for what could be argued to be the most prominent building in the world, the Sydney Opera House, Utzon accomplished what many architects can only dream of: a global icon. To celebrate this special occasion, Louisiana Channel has collaborated with the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark to put together a video series to hear prominent architects and designers talk, including Bjarke Ingels and Renzo Piano, about their experiences with Utzon and his work—from his unrivalled visual awareness of the world, to his uncompromising attitude that led him to create such strong architectural statements.
Unlike many architects around at the time of Jørn Utzon, who as modernists rejected tradition in favour of new technologies and orthogonal plans, Utzon combined these usually contradictory qualities in an exceptional manner. As the architects recount, he was a globalist with a Nordic base, that has inspired the next generation to travel the world and challenge their concepts. Many of them compare his work to Alvar Aalto’s, as both shared an organic approach to architecture, looking at growth patterns in nature for inspiration. Utzon even coined this approach "Additive Architecture," whereby both natural and cultural forms are united to form buildings that are designed more freely.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, in partnership with NORR Architects & Engineers, has been selected to design the new Toronto Courthouse, to be located adjacent to Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto City Hall in the city’s downtown civic core. When finished, it will be Piano’s first competed project in Canada.
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia has announced that award-winning New York-based Selldorf Architects have been selected to develop a large-scale reinstallation of the institution’s galleries in collaboration with the museum staff. The renovation will encompass all seven of the collection areas—from Photography and European Art to Decorative Arts and Design—while emphasizing visitor experience, contemporary narratives, and the strengths of the Museum’s holdings to create a cohesive experience thats deepens engagement inside the Richard Meier and Renzo Piano-designed complex.
If you are missing the capacity to create emotion, then it doesn’t work, it’s not enough.
– Renzo Piano
In this in-depth biographical video by the Louisiana Channel, Renzo Piano talks about his earliest influences, why traveling is essential, the pleasures of drawing, what creativity really means, how “computers are a bit stupid,” the way “beauty can change the world,” and more.
From Greek architect and photographer, Yiorgis Yerolymbos comes a book which captures the construction process of Renzo Piano’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece. Yerolymbos carefully documented every moment where the superfluous Olympic parking lot became a cultural center and sloping park with waterfront views. For almost a decade, and from every angle, the photographer watched the site transform. Birds-eye imagery proved to be some of the most captivating. As photographs, they manage to possess the characteristics of an architectural drawing.
“Lightness and transparency are very close friends. You start from something and then you take off, you take off, you take off... And at a certain point you have to stop taking off, otherwise, everything falls down. If you do this you find that there’s a kind of beauty there. It’s a beauty that is profound, it’s not cosmetic.”
In this video by Luis Fernández-Galiano, Italian architect Renzo Piano talks about his path to finding beauty in lightness and transparency. This clip is a part of a full documentary and interactive booklet series by Fundación arquia and produced by White Horse.
A dynamic, pulsating installation is lighting up Renzo Piano's Intesa Sanpaolo skyscraper in Turin, Italy. Designed by Migliore+Servetto Architects, the installation is part of Turin's "Luci d'Artista," an annual, open-air light exhibition illuminating the squares and streets of the city.