Renzo Piano was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1937 to a family of builders. He graduated Milan Polytechnic in 1964 and began to work with experimental light-weight structures and basic shelters. In 1971, he founded the Piano & Rogers studio and, together with Richard Rogers, won the competition for the Centre Pompidou in Paris. From the early 1970s to the 1990s, Piano collaborated with engineer Peter Rice, founding Atelier Piano & Rice in 1977. In 1981, he established the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with offices today in Genoa, Paris and New York. Renzo Piano has been awarded the highest honors in architecture, including; the Pritzker Prize; RIBA Royal Gold Medal; Medaille d’Or, UIA; Erasmus Prize; and most recently, the Gold Medal of the AIA.
RPBW is led by 10 partners, including founder and Pritzker Prize laureate, architect Renzo Piano.
The practice permanently employs about 130 architects together with a further 30 support staff including 3D visualization artists, model makers, archivers, administrative and secretarial staff.
Their staff has a wide experience of working in multi-disciplinary teams on building projects in France, Italy and abroad.
As architects, they are involved in the projects from start to finish. They usually provide full architectural design services and consultancy services during the construction phase. Their design skills extend beyond mere architectural services. Their work also includes interior design services, town planning and urban design services, landscape design services and exhibition design services.
RPBW has successfully undertaken and completed over 140 projects around the world.
Currently, among the main projects in progress are: the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles; the École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay; the Paddington Square in London and; the Toronto Courthouse.
Major projects already completed include: the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas; the Kanak Cultural Center in Nouméa, New Caledonia; the Kansaï International Airport Terminal Building in Osaka; the Beyeler Foundation Museum in Basel; the reconstruction of the Potsdamer Platz area in Berlin; the Rome Auditorium; the New York Times Building in New York; the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco; the Chicago Art Institute expansion in Chicago, Illinois; The Shard in London; Columbia University’s Manhattanville development project in New York City; the Harvard museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Intesa Sanpaolo office building in Turin, Italy; the Kimbell Art Museum expansion in Texas; the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Valletta City Gate in Malta; the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in Athens; the Centro Botín in Santander; the New Paris Courthouse and others throughout the world.
Exhibitions of Renzo Piano and RPBW’s works have been held in many cities worldwide, including at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2018.
Member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and of the Royal Academy of Doctors, he is an International Fellow of the RIBA, and has been Cullinan Professor at Rice University, Franke Fellow at Yale University, a visiting scholar at the Getty Center of Los Angeles, a visiting critic at Princeton, Harvard and the Berlage Institute, and has given lecture series at the Universidad Menéndez Pelayo and the Fundación March.
He has also chaired the international architecture congresses ‘More for Less’ (2010), ‘The Common’ (2012) and ‘Necessary Architecture’ (2014). President of the jury in the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale, juror of the Mies van der Rohe Award and of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, he has curated the exhibitions El espacio privado, Extreme Eurasia (in Tokyo and in Madrid), Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth and Jean Prouvé: Industrial Beauty (these last two with Norman Foster), as well as Spain mon amour (in the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale and in Madrid), and The Architect is Present.
He has been on the jury of several international competitions in Europe, America and Asia, including those of the National Library of Mexico, the National Art Museum of China, the National Library of Israel and the Noble Qur’an Oasis in Madinah. Among his books are La Quimera Moderna, Fire and Memory, Spain Builds (with New York’s MoMA in its English version, and presented in its Chinese version with symposiums in Shanghai and Beijing) and Atlas, Architectures of the 21st Century, a series of four volumes.