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Renzo Piano Before Renzo Piano



Renzo Piano Before Renzo Piano

Presentation of the book by Lorenzo Ciccarelli
With Richard Rogers, moderated by Thomas Weaver

This book 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. The dense ramifications of his experience, spreading in many different directions, have now finally been retraced by Lorenzo Ciccarelli, the first scholar to have access to the archives of the Renzo Piano Foundation.

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. The roofs built out of pyramidal elements (1964-1965) and inflatable components (1966); a building to house his family’s construction company (1966-1968); his shell structures (1966-1968); his own office building at Erzelli (1968-1969); and the pavilion of Italian industry at the Osaka Expo (1969-1970): these were some of the prototypes in which Piano developed the design strategies and construction techniques that would characterise the Centre Pompidou and the celebrated masterpieces of later decades. 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).

The last part of the account deals with his partnership with Richard Rogers, the ‘elder brother’ who introduced Piano to the British context. Together with Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini, he devised the competition entry for the Centre Pompidou.


Lorenzo Ciccarelli
holds a BSc degree from the Università Politecnica delle Marche and a PhD from the Università di Roma ‘Tor Vergata’. He is currently adjunct professor of Architectural History at the Università degli Studi in Florence and since 2013 has worked with the Renzo Piano Foundation. His studies are devoted to the often ignored or misunderstood ties between Italian architecture and European and North American architecture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He has given papers on these subjects to international conferences in Chicago and Paris, and published essays in ‘Arquitectura Viva’, ‘Construction History’, ‘Rassegna di Architettura e Urbanistica’ and ‘L’industria delle costruzioni’. He recently published the Guida all’architettura nelle Marche 1900-2015.

Richard Rogers is the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal in 1985 and winner of the 1999 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal. He is also winner of the 2000 Praemium Imperiale Prize for Architecture, the 2006 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement (La Biennale di Venezia) and the 2007 Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal. Richard Rogers was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1986, knighted in 1991 and made a life peer in 1996. Most recently, in 2008 he was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour. Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano were in their thirties when, in 1971, they saw off competition from 680 other architectural teams to win the high-profile job to design Paris’s new contemporary arts centre, the Pompidou Centre. The project – which was contentious at its opening in 1977 – has gone on to become one of the world’s most significant and loved modern buildings.

Thomas Weaver is an architectural writer, teacher and editor. He has taught architectural history at Princeton University, architectural design at Cooper Union, New York, and has also acted as editor of ‘ANY’ magazine and various architectural monographs. From 2007 to 2018 he has worked at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where he managed all of the AA’s publications, including editing the long-running journal ‘AA Files’.



Data: Mar 29 Gen 2019

Orario: Dalle 18:00 alle 19:30

Organizzato da : ICI London

Ingresso : Libero