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Renzo Piano


The Renzo Piano Building Workshop, was formed in 1980 and has offices in Paris and Genoa, Italy. Some 100 architects, engineers and other professionals are part of the firm, which embraces a philosophy stressing constant building and testing of design ideas ­ a reflection of Mr. Piano’s lifelong passion for construction.

Renzo Piano was born in Genoa in 1937 into a family of builders; his father, four uncles and a brother all were building contractors. While a student of architecture at the Milan Polytechnic School of Architecture, he regularly visited his father’s building sites where, he says, he gained valuable practical experience.

The jury that awarded Piano the Pritzker Prize noted the integration of design and building practices that characterizes his projects, and compared his work to earlier master Italian architects: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi.

“While his work embraces the most current technology of this era, his roots are clearly in the classic Italian philosophy and tradition,” the Pritzker jury said. “Equally at ease with historical antecedents as well as the latest technology, he is also intensely concerned with issues of habitability and sustainable architecture in a constantly changing world.”

Prizes and Acknowledgements
AIA Honorary Fellowship, U.S.A. (1981)
Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal, England (1989)
Cavaliere di Gran Croce award by the Italian Government, Roma, Italy (1989)
Kyoto Prize, Inamori Foundation, Kyoto, Japan (1990)
American Academy of Arts and Letters Honorary Fellowship, U.S.A. (1994)
Goodwill Ambassador of Unesco for Architecture (1994)
Premio Michelangelo in Roma, Italy (1994)
Praemium Imperiale, Tokyo, Japan (1995)
Erasmus Prize, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1995)
The Pritzker Architecture Prize, The White House, Washington, U.S.A. (1998)
Architect of the National Academy of San Luca, Rome, Italy (1999)
Officier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, France (2000)
Leone d’Oro to the career, Venice, Italy (2000)
Premio Leonardo, Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome, Italy (2000)
Wexner Prize, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. (2001)