Renzo Piano-27

Photography: David Parry

Installation views of Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings at the Royal Academy, 2018

Renzo Piano: see the function, invention and vision behind some of the greatest buildings of our time in the Royal Academy of Arts’ new exhibition. 

“No single architect has had more impact than Piano on the modern city centre.”

The Times

Walking into Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings, the Royal Academy’s first annual exhibition dedicated to architecture, is like walking into a pop-up architectural logbook. 16 tables, filled with original sketches, engineering designs, architectural drawings, models and photos give a detailed overview of some of his most important and iconic projects: from The Shard in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, to the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Nouméa and the California Academy of Sciences. Soaring above are models, some of which are 1:1 mock-ups, produced to test their scale, surface and reflectivity.

Each of these reveal the vision and invention behind his pioneering constructions, and the truly global scale of his work. The illuminating exhibition follows Piano’s long and varied career, from the influence of his Genoese heritage and his rise to acclaim alongside friend and collaborator Richard Rogers, to current projects still in the making. It also explores how the Renzo Piano Building Workshop – made up of a team of 150 staff – designs buildings “piece by piece”, making deft use of form, material and engineering to achieve a precise and yet poetic elegance. Piano has a command of the entire process, from the structural systems to individual building components, designed for optimum technical performance as well as aesthetic qualities. 

At the centre of the exhibition is an ‘Island’. This purpose built scale installation sets 102 of Renzo Piano’s building projects in an imagined landscape, complete a central avenue, coastline and bays, mirroring the different locations his buildings occupy. These range from Kansai International Airport Terminal in Osaka of 1994, the Eolic Windmill from Piano’s hometown in Genoa, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is still being completed.

Designed and curated in close collaboration with Piano himself, join us for the first exhibition in London to put the spotlight on Piano in 30 years.

Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings is open until 20 January 2019, and standard tickets start from £12 (£10 concessions).

Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Fondazione Renzo Piano.

Book today

Work in focus: The Centre Pompidou

Monday 19 November 2018
6.30 — 8pm
£15 / £9 concessions

Pick up the catalogue

The exhibition catalogue provides an intimate look at the work and ideas of a man who believes passionately in the possibilities of architecture. £16.95