An architect, who of all his contemporaries, continues to create the most remarkable architectural works, suggesting the direction of future architecture. As one of the leaders of modern high-tech architecture, he sought to express architectures by means of highly industrialized materials. In an era of confusion of various architectural concepts, he consistently combined architectural styles with developing technology to achieve higher levels of humanistic expression and cleared the path for new architectural possibilities, which appeared in many masterpieces, including the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
＊This category then was Category of Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.
＊This field then was Field of Arts (Painting, Sculpture, Architecture).
Georges Pompidou Cultural Centre, Paris, France
Fiat VSS Experimental Vehicle, Turin, Italy
The Menil Collection Museum, Houston, U.S.A.
IBM Travelling Pavilion, Europe
While Mr. Renzo Piano’s architecture lies on an extension of the analysis of functionalism and functional expression of modern architecture, it successfully departs from the classic holistic expression. In this manner, he cleared the path for new architectural possibilities as we proceed from the 20th to the 21st century.
Mr. Piano is one of the leaders of modern high-tech architecture. The distinctiveness of his architectural style lies not in purely logical and mechanical expression, but in that of raising technology to an allegoric and aesthetically impressive form.
It is commonly held that the origin of “modern” architecture can be traced to the period of 1920 to 1930. However, the architectural concepts established at that time did not begin to be employed in construction practice until the 1950 to 1960 period. Mr. Piano belongs to the generation which appeared after this age of “modern” architecture. In an era of confusion of various architectural concepts, he consistently combined architectural styles with developing technology to achieve higher levels of humanistic expression.
The word “architecture” is made up of the combination of “archi” and “techne.” The word “techne” has been changed to “technique” and then to “technology,” which is the term used today. Mr. Piano has researched the root of the term “technology,” and consequently has started rethinking the relationship between “technology” and “architecture” resulting in his theory that the two disciplines must be molded together. As an architect, he developed his thinking by examining the root of the Italian traditional word “techne” and its meaning which has continued from the time of the Renaissance. His work includes maximum architectural variability and suggests the direction of future architecture.
Mr. Piano is well known for his designs of the Pompidou Culture Centre in Paris, the IBM Traveling Pavilion, and the Menil Collection Museum in Houston, Texas. In addition, he has earned a reputation for the design of several local revitalization projects in which he focused on the harmony between nature and the cultural environment where they are located.
Among contemporary architects, his architecture has made a clear footprint on the history of architecture in the last half of the 20th century. Mr. Piano continues to create the most remarkable architectural work which is also said to be the most humane. Mr. Renzo Piano is a most suitable laureate for the 1990 Kyoto Prize in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.
The history and philosophy of my work coincide perfectly and are the simple and linear result of the story of my life: thus, here it is in a few words.
I was born into a family of builders (for many generations), and I spent the first period of my professional life realizing “pieces” of architecture, not “architecture”. And it is from the experience gained between 1964 and 1970 that I inherited my attention to detail, my love for the craftman’s approach and the patient game, and an ingrained habit for putting together saying and doing, the head and the hand.
Then, between 1971 and 1977, I had the most extraordinary team-work experience with the Centre Beaubourg in Paris, with Richard Rogers, Peter Rice, Tom Barker, Shunji Ishida and Noriaki Okabe, two Japanese architects, who became at that time both my associates. This was my last experience of “Piece by piece” architecture, and also the most intense exercise of determination and professional advancement.
Following this, from 1978 to 1982, came the reaction: fatigue for big projects and the desire to try my strength against another marvellous world: that of human and social intercourse. During this period, thanks to the projects for UNESCO, I had numerous experiences of participation, from which I learned a great deal on the art of listening (and also not to mistake instruments for objectives). I was educated in humility, I gleaned diffidence towards personal glorification and the advantages of calm creativity.
The itinerant exhibition for IBM, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Calder exhibition in Turin, the rehabilitation of the Schlumberger factory in Paris, the Lowara Head Offices in Vicenza, the Sports Hall in Ravenna, The FIAT Lingotto factory rehabilitation in Turin, the ancient walls of RhodesE.
What is my philosophy of architecture? I do not know: what interests me is “making architecture”; I am neither a moralist nor a puritan, still less a boy-scout.
And, luckily, I have no style to hand down: only, perhaps, a manner (which on the other hand I find quite ancient) of engaging in the metier of the architect.