Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Renzo Piano Before Renzo Piano. Masters and Beginning

Sunday, 14 July 2019

A talk by ATCH Visiting Fellow Lorenzo Ciccarelli

Wednesday 31/7/2019 51-207 11.30-1pm

The lecture explores Renzo Piano’s formative years, before the major achievement of the Centre Pompidou. The striking success of an architect little more than thirty years old in the famous 1971 international competition has long tended to eclipse his previous experience, which is fundamental to understanding the genesis not only of the Beaubourg, but all Piano’s subsequent work.

Immediately after graduating, Piano built a series of radical and innovative experimental structures, combining his mastery of prefabrication with an instinctive interest in industrial design. They were constructional experiments that revealed the teachings the youthful Piano had absorbed from his masters in Italy (Franco Albini, Marco Zanuso, Giuseppe Ciribini) and abroad (Jean Prouvé, Louis Kahn, Zygmunt Makowski and Robert Le Ricolais). Piano had long sought out and frequented these masters, travelling indefatigably in those years between Europe and the United States.

In the late Sixties Piano set up his partnership with Richard Rogers, the ‘elder brother’ who introduced him to the British context. Some months later, together with Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini, Piano devised the competition entry for the Centre Pompidou, getting a worldwide recognition.