Coffee with an Architect

Earlier this year we were assigned an architect for a staircase project.  I was assigned Renzo Piano.  At the time I had absolutely no idea who he was, but he has quickly become one of my favorite architects.

He broke into the world of design with the famous Pompidou Centre in Paris, which has its ventilation ducts on the outside of the building.  This decorated Italian architect is not concerned with developing his own style, but establishing an "internal coherence".  This includes vibration, becoming part of the atmosphere, metamorphosis, lightness, transparency, tension between the place and the built object.  I just watched this wonderful interview with Piano (here is part 2 and part 3).  Renzo's Italian charm make his buildings all the more beautiful.  Patrick Kociolek, the executive director of the California Academy of Sciences said that in interviewing for their project, most architects came in with an entourage of employees and models.  Piano came by himself with only a sketchbook and a green felt tip pen, got a feel for what they wanted with the building and drew sketches on the spot.  Piano said in the interview that architecture is "the art of answering practical need and the art of answering desires or dreams".  He also said something should resonate with the spark of adolescence in all of us.  "You grow up with the insane idea that by doing what you are doing you will change the world."  I hope that idea remains.  


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