I will admit it straight away : Renzo Piano is one of my favorite acrchitects and Fondation Beyeler in Basel, the idea I have of a perfect art gallery. So when I learned that Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine at Trocadero, was holding an exhibit of the Italian master, I rushed. And was happily relieved to enter the quiet space, with mostly professionals discussing attentively each building and material he uses. It was the same atmosphere as in his museums.
Of course, behind his name there is a large group of very talented architects, and this is what appears clearly in the many video interviews attached to each country and each building. For the variety of his projects is endless and I traveled from the Pompidou center one of his first (with Richard Rogers) in 1974, to Noumea, to Oslo and Greece, to the Academy of Science in California, to the lovely Kimbell art museum extension in Fort Worth (which I visited years ago with Texas star architect Frank Welch), New York for the Whitney and London for the Shard (where I would love to go and have dinner).
After marveling at the pictures, plans, models in the long curvy room of Palais de Chaillot, I sat to watch a long interview of Piano. « If every time, the location is different, your inspiration is different», « Beauty yes, real beauty, what Greeks used to call « Kalos kagathos » good and beautiful at the same time”. His grey hair and blue eyes behind pale grey glasses are riveting. « Human adventure, one wants to understand, one wants to know… life is a constant transformation ». « Dream, human desire, love, dialogue, I like to think that beauty can change the world”. “Like writers or cinematographers, architects are builders of emotion ».
Down below, another architect is being honored : Le Corbusier and his town of Chandigarth, fifty years later. It is very sweet to see all the films of the city in Punjab, the country club and the streets where Indian life has taken over the concrete buildings. It is all about universality of architecture!
But Renzo Piano’s lifestyle is more my style ! (until February 29 th, 2016)
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