Selected Projects

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    2007-in progress Jerome L. Greene Science Center for Mind Brain Behavior, New York, U.S.A

    Renzo Piano Building Workshop teamed up with SOM on the master plan of Columbia University’s new Manhattanville Campus. The first phase of the Harlem development is on site, and will include four buildings designed by RPBW: the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, the Lenfest Center for the Arts, the Forum, and the School of International and Public Affairs. Columbia University has always been an urban institution. The new campus will be a place of research and knowledge production integrated with the city, in close contact with its social reality, street culture and energy.

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    2007-2015 The Whitney Museum at Gansevoort, New York, U.S.A

    The Whitney Museum is building itself a new home in downtown Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Opened on May 1st, 2015, the project substantially enlarges the Whitney’s exhibition and programming space, enabling the first comprehensive view of the Museum’s growing collection, which today comprises more than 19,000 works of modern and contemporary American art.

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    2006-2014 Harvard Art Museums renovation and expansion, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A

    Harvard University’s three art museums – the Fogg, the Busch-Reisinger and the Arthur M. Sackler – are being consolidated into one reorganized and upgraded facility, Harvard Art Museums, on the current site of the Fogg Museum on Quincy Street. The restored historic courtyard of the Fogg Museum will be at the heart of 200,00 sq. ft (18,500 sq.m) of new museum space.

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    2006-2014 Pathé Foundation, Paris, France

    The art of inserting a new building into an historic city block means engaging in an open, physical dialogue with the existing city buildings. Building onto a structure also presents an opportunity for a wideranging renovation project, a reclaiming of space. The new headquarters of the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé is an unexpected presence, a curved volume glimpsed floating in the middle of a courtyard, anchored on just a few supports. It is complimented by a group of birch trees, a floral island set in the dense mineral context of the city.

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    2007-2013 Kimbell Art Museum Expansion, Fort Worth, U.S.A

    The Kimbell Art Museum’s original building was designed by Louis Kahn in 1972. The new building by Renzo Piano Building Workshop was recently inaugurated and establishes a close, respectful and frank dialogue with this powerful yet delicate older building. The new Renzo Piano Pavilion (named by the building’s owner) accommodates the museum’s growing exhibition and education programmes, allowing the original Kahn building to revert to the display of the museum’s permanent collection.

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    2002-2013 MUSE Museo delle Scienze, Trento, Italy

    The Quartiere delle Albere district, the site of a former Michelin factory, is now a new part of the city of Trento. This transformed post-industrial brownfield site now shares many characteristics with Trento’s urban fabric – the clear hierarchy of the design, its functional stratification and an overall similarity in the size of buildings and materials used for their construction. This urban renewal project has reconnected the city to its natural context, which in Trento is defined by the nearby Adige River and Monte Bondone. This new district, for a long time physically separated from the city centre by the railway, now feels psychologically closer. Quartiere delle Albere is home to MuSe, the new Science Museum, serving to reinforce the cultural identity of this area of Trento.

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    2006-2012 Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway

    Tjuvholmen is a new cultural quarter located to the south-west of Oslo’s city centre. Integrating art and leisure, the complex combines the Astrup Fearnley Museum and an office building, with a new public sculpture park, swimming beach and waterside promenade. As a continuation of the redevelopment of the Aker Brygge area of the city, site of former shipyards, Tjuvholmen has a privileged location right on the water’s edge, with views out over the fjord and back to the city centre.

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    2010-2012 Auditorium del Parco, L'Aquila, Italy

    The Auditorium in L’Aquila was built as a temporary substitute to replace the Castello Spagnolo concert hall, gravely damaged in the 2009 earthquake. A group of three cubes, it is a simple design that tests the efficiency and expressiveness of spaces that were generated by need and necessity. Claudio Abbado proclaimed it “a building of great symbolic value”. He was one of the first people to realise that it could be a very long time before the city would be back to normal and that building a place to protect musical traditions would be a positive way to start the healing process.

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    2005-2012 Renovation and expansion of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, U.S.A

    Boston’s original Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opened in 1903 at Fenway Court, a Venetian-style palazzo built by the patroness to showcasehouse her substantial collection of over 2,500 works of fine and decorative art, including tapestries, furniture, manuscripts and textiles, from Europe, Asia, the Islamic world and America.

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    2000-2012 London Bridge Tower, London, United Kingdom

    The London Bridge Tower, also known as the Shard, is a 72-storey, mixed-use tower located beside London Bridge Station on the south bank of the river Thames. This project was a response to the urban vision of London Mayor Ken Livingstone and to his policy of encouraging high-density development at key transport nodes in London. This sort of sustainable urban extension relies on the proximity of public transportation, discourages car use and helps to reduce traffic congestion in the city.

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    2006-2011 Ronchamp Gatehouse and Monastery, Ronchamp, France

    The Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp was designed by Le Corbusier and is one the 20th-century’s most important works of architecture. For years now it has been a heavily frequented site of international cultural tourism, so much so that the site needed urgent attention in order to restore the spirtual and religious dimension originally intended for Ronchamp by its architect. In a wider effort to improve the area, the Œuvre Notre Dame du Haut commissioned Renzo Piano Building Workshop to design a convent for the Poor Clare sisters, as well as a small new building to welcome visitors, the Porterie. Hugging the hill’s slope, the new buildings are protected architecture with a resolved interior featuring large picture windows that frame the woods and its light.

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    2002-2010 Central St. Giles Court Mixed-use Development, London, United Kingdom

    Situated between Covent Garden and New Oxford Street in central London, the Central St Giles development replaces a massive, unloved, impenetrable block of former government offices, with a permeable, vibrant, sculptural mix of volumes containing offices, apartments, restaurants and retail. Central St Giles fits well with its urban context, responding to the shapes and colours that surround it.

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    2000-2008 California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, U.S.A

    Designing a great cultural and scientific institution in San Francisco, a city with a strong collective vocation for the environment, also meant finding a language that expressed this shared vision of the present in an immediate way. Through the evocative spaces of the Museum of Natural History, the large green roof that breathes and the successful coexistence of outreach activities and research, the new headquarters of the California Academy of Sciences wanted, using architecture, to convey their passion for knowledge of nature and the fact that the earth is fragile.

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    2000-2009 Chicago Art Institute – The Modern Wing, Chicago, U.S.A

    The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, a 25,000 sq m expansion that houses collections of European contemporary art, also unifies and completes the cultural and urban campus of the Art Institute.

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    2000-2007 The New York Times Building, New York, U.S.A

    A new headquarters for the “New York Times” newspaper was commissioned via invited competition in 2000. Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s winning design opens up a neglected corner of Manhattan opposite the Port Authority, with a 52-storey building whose themes of permeability and transparency express the intrinsic link between the newspaper and the city.

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    2000-2006 Renovation and Expansion of the Morgan Library, New York, U.S.A

    Creating additional space for the Morgan Library in the heart of Manhattan was a particular challenge. This elegant group of buildings, a ‘village of memory’ is surrounded by the dense urban fabric of New York City, a seemingly solid physical barrier around the site. Rather than building upwards, Renzo Piano Building Workshop decided to dig downwards into the hard rock to build a sort of underground vault in which to house the library’s rare book collection. With surgical precision, new steel and glass units were inserted in and amongst the existing buildings.

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    1998-2006 Maison Hermès, Tokyo, Japan

    Celebrated French fashion house Hermès commissioned Renzo Piano to design a building for their Japanese headquarters in 1998. Its location at the heart of Tokyo’s densely built, neon-lit Ginza shopping district, and the stringent building regulations regarding earthquakes and fire, have influenced a compact and unique building with a distinctive glass facade. The building contains a shop, offices, an exhibition space and access to the underground station below Harumi Avenue.

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    1999-2005 High Museum Expansion, Atlanta, U.S.A

    The High Museum was founded in 1905 and was then expanded by Richard Meier in 1983. To respond to the fast growth of its art collections and the increasing number of visitors, the museum decided on a new expansion programme, which would almost double the museum’s surface area, up to 312,000 sq ft.

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    1999-2005 Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland

    The complex nature of the shapes and articulations of the body of work of German-Swiss artist Paul Klee is reflected in the architecture of the Zentrum. The museum is part and parcel of the rolling hills and blends in with the natural landscape of the countryside outside of Bern. Its curved roof made of long steel beams welded together one by one, houses one of the most extensive monographic collections in the world.

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    1983-2003 Lingotto Factory Conversion, Torino, Italy

    Built in the 1920s for Fiat, Lingotto was the largest and most modern car manufacturing plant in Europe, both architecturally and in terms of car production.

    The 500m-long, five-storey building, had a volume of one million cubic metres, and was equipped with a rooftop test track. Lingotto was the first example of modular construction in reinforced concrete, based on the repetition of three elements: pillars, beams and floors.

    The factory was closed in 1982. In 1984, Fiat S.p.A. announced a competition and, in 1985, commissioned the Renzo Piano Building Workshop to convert the building. The project aimed to revive the building by transforming it into a multipurpose centre while maintaining its architectural identity.

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    1992-2000 Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany

    Following a competition won in 1992, the dormant wasteland of Potsdamer Platz in the newly reunified capital of Germany, Berlin, was entirely renovated based on an Renzo Piano Building Workshop-designed masterplan. It wasn’t long before the new architecture and fresh vitality triggered by this mixed-use development gave the entire area a new inner energy, reconnecting areas of the city long separated by the Berlin wall. This new centre is defined by two environmental features typical of the Berlin urban scene: green space and water.

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    1991-1998 Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, Noumea, New Caledonia

    Erected in honour of the New Caledonian political leader assassinated in 1989, the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre pays homage to Kanak culture and draws on local building traditions and expertise by intertwining the ancient and the modern.

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    1992-1997 Beyeler Foundation Museum, Riehen, Switzerland

    The Beyeler Foundation museum came into being when arts patron and collector Ernst Beyeler decided to share his extraordinary art collection with the public. It was built in the park of the 18th-century Villa Berower, which houses the museum’s offices and a restaurant. Beyeler wanted the art to be lit entirely by natural light and the museum to be immersed in the surrounding greenery.

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    1988-1994 Kansai International Airport Terminal, Osaka, Japan

    Kansai airport is located on a specially built island in the Bay of Osaka. The terminal is 1.7km long, with 42 boarding gates, and can handle 100,000 passengers a day. Its long and light structure was designed to withstand the violent earthquakes that often affect this region of Japan.

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    1982-1986 The Menil Collection, Houston, U.S.A

    The museum houses the art collection of Dominique and John de Menil – more than 10,000 works of ancient, African and surrealist modern art. Apart from the spaces dedicated to these works, the building also houses a picture frame workshop and a studio for art restoration and study. The pavilion has more than 2,800 sq m of galleries and public space. Located in the park of a 1920’s residential neighbourhood, the museum building has the same proportions and uses the same building materials as the surrounding houses.

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    1983-1986 IBM Travelling Pavillion, Paris, France

    In 1983, IBM devised a travelling exhibition to promote advances in computer technology for telecommunications. Reinforcing their message that workstations could be virtually located anywhere, this temporary structure was designed to be assembled, exhibit for a month, and then dismantled at each of its 20 European destinations including Lyon, London, Rome, Milan…

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    1971-1977 Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

    An immediate architectural icon of Paris, the Centre national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidou (Centre Pompidou, or Beaubourg) is a vast multidisciplinary structure, a culture factory that preserves and exhibits important modern art collections. It is a place where the many strands of contemporary culture intertwine: art, design, literature, music and cinema. The centre is like a huge spaceship made of glass, steel and coloured tubing that landed unexpectedly in the heart of the Paris, and where it would very quickly set deep roots.

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    1979 Otranto Urban Regeneration Workshop, Otranto, Italy

    The Laboratorio di Quartiere, or District Workshop, was a UNESCO-supported project aimed at the renovation of historic town centres through a mechanism to safeguard their physical aspect: a permanent worksite. The project in Otranto was used to test the feasibility of using local artisans to restore an ancient town centre. The plan allowed residents to remain in their homes and actively participate in the restoration work, thanks to the use of compact, non-invasive and innovative technology. Although the workshop left the town once its mission had been completed, as an independent studio, its work could continue as a travelling model to be adapted based on its sensitivity to the context in which it was activated. The concept of building on what is already there, of being willing to listen, and patiently renovating and repairing the fabric of a town is an idea which is just as valid today for the outskirts of a town as its centre.