The Centre Georges Pompidou, Centre Pompidou for short, was designed by contest winners Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. Piano met Rogers at Expo ’70 in Osaka Japan. The realized they have a lot in common and then had an engineering firm suggest they compete to build the Centre Georges Pompidou, so they did. The building was an overwhelming success — often described as “high-tech” by its spectators. Piano himself was displeased with this interpretation, however. His intention was not to create a “high-tech” structure, but a “joyful urban machine” that slightly resembles a “ship in dry dock.” According to the New York Times, Centre Pompidou “turned the architecture world upside-down.” All-in-all, its design was undeniably a huge success. Needless to say, Roger and Piano became recognizable names across the globe.
It houses the largest museum for modern art in Europe, as well as a vast public library. By 2006, the building had over 180 million visitors. Needless to say, Piano and Rogers names’ were recognized around the world. Piano and Rogers went on to found an architect firm called Piano & Rogers.
One of Renzo Piano’s most notable works is the Kansai International Airport (KIX). This airport is located in the Osaka Bay in Japan, is an airport that was built entirely on a man-made island three miles off shore. This means, in addition to the traditional challenges an architect faces such as creating a building that is functional, safe, beautiful, unique, and representative of the client’s imperatives, Piano also faced the challenge of constructing a manmade island that could withstand the forces of nature it is exposed to in the Osaka Bay, namely earthquakes and tsunamis. Shortly after being constructed, Mother Nature tested the structure with a powerful earthquake, and the airport was affected so little, that it didn’t even have to delay any flights.
The airport was constructed to relieve the Osaka International Airport of its congestion and relieve the Osaka International Airport, it did. The main terminal is the longest terminal in the world, as of 2008, totaling 1.1 miles from end to end. The building is shaped like a airfoil and is equipped with giant air conditioning ducts that are strategically located in order to promote quality air circulation throughout the terminal. The second terminal is exclusive to Peach and focuses on low-cost carriers, charging a lower landing fee. The building turned out to be unique, beautiful, safe, and efficient. Renzo Piano won the Pritzker Prize in 1998 for its design.
Located in northern Rome, Italy, Parco della Musica is a large, multifunctional music complex with three different concert halls, each a different size. The smallest concert hall has 7 hundred seats, the largest concert hall has 2,800 seats, and the third has 1,200 seats. Each hall is separated by an outdoor lobby to ensure
soundproofing quality. Parco della Musica is open to the public, welcoming anyone and everyone to explore music culture. It was built from 1995-2002 where part of the 1960 Olympics took place. In 2014, just twelve years after completion, two million people visited Parco della Musica, making it the second most visited cultural music venue in the world, second only to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Personally, I do not like the look of this music center. All I can think is “hungry, hungry cockroaches” when I see the park from an aerial view. However, I can still appreciate the grandeur of this architecture.
The New York Times Building in New York City was designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FXFOWLE Architects in 2007 to be the fourth tallest building in New York City and the tenth tallest in the country. The New York Times Building is a steel-framed, state-of-the-art, environmentally green building in the shape of a cross. There is a screen of small ceramic rods mounted on the exterior of the glass on the southern, eastern, and western side of the building, leaving the steel frame exposed in the corner notches of the cruciform structure. These rods get further and further apart from each other from the base of the building to the top. This is what creates the unique appearance of depth when looking at the building. The ceramic used is aluminum silicate, which is extremely dense, durable, and cost effective. The ceramic is then coated with a finish that reflects light, resists weather, self-cleans, and changes color with respect to the sun and weather. Furthermore, there are sensors installed to monitor the position of the sun and move the shades accordingly. This unique double-skin curtain wall allows for floor to ceiling glass that provides beautiful views, plenty of natural light, and still reduces energy consumption by thirteen percent and reducing solar heat gain by thirty percent. If that isn’t impressive enough, the entire building is equipped with dimmable lights that will automatically dim in response to the brightness of the sun and the absence of people. Last but not least, the building uses underfloor air distribution which provides better quality air, more thermal comfort, and, you guessed it, saves energy. This building has to be one of my favorites.
Renzo Piano is a world renowned Italian architect that was born into a family of builders in 1937. He is best known for architecting the Kansai International Airport, Centre Georges Pompidou, Parco Della Musica, the Shard London Bridge, and the New York Times building in Japan, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, respectively. He has won a plethora of awards for his extraordinary creations including the Pritzker Architecture Prize – often considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture.
Piano graduated from Politecnico Di Milano, the largest tech university in Italy and the 14th best architecture university in the world, and then worked for his father’s construction company, where he was mentored by architect Franco Albini. From there, he went on to work alongside Louis Kahn and Z.S. Makowsky. These three men, along with Buckmister Fuller, Pier Luigi Nervi and his idol from the 15th century, Burnelleschi, were the most influential men in Piano’s career as an architect.
The first important commission Piano got after his graduation was the Italian Industry Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan. It was at this world’s fair that he met another young architect, Richard Rogers. As the two got acquainted, they learnt they have a lot in common. That, in conjunction with an engineering firm’s recommendation, led to them pairing up to compete in the Centre Georges Pompidou contest. Not only did they win, but their building was overwhelmingly successful. Just like that, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers were names recognized around the globe.
As a result of the architectural design of the Centre Georges Musica being pinned as “high-tech,” Piano’s reputation was born. The two eventually established a firm together called Piano & Rogers, in 1971. While this was not exactly what Piano was aiming for when designing it, he has continued to design some of the most astounding works in the history of architecture.
In 1981, Piano founded an architecture firm called Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW). Today, RPBW employs almost 130 people, including more than 90 architects from all of the world. The firm provides comprehensive architectural services, from concept design to construction, as well as landscape design, and more. Piano intentionally chose to call his firm a building workshop because, being raised by a family of contractors, he values the act and art of constructing just as much as he does concept development.
I wanted to write about a building I did not like, since my other five blogs have been only positive. Almost immediately, I remembered the house we used to live in in Moore. There is only one positive thing I can say about the architecture of this house. and that is: it has a fireplace and built in bookshelves with cabinets. Note, I did not say anything about these things being beautiful or nice. The vaulted ceiling might have been considered a positive thing if it hadn’t been done aftermarket so poorly. The fireplace is very basic. and low-end basic at that. But it is a fireplace nevertheless, and it was nice having fires in the winter keeping the house warm and roasting our marshmallows. The worst part about this house, in my opinion, is the lack of light. The windows pictured here are the only windows lighting the living room and the light they should receive is shaded outside. If shade helped make being outside less miserable in Oklahoma, I might appreciate the covered patio more, but it’s so humid and windy that blocking the sun doesn’t make being outside bearable to me anyway. If this wasn’t the only window providing light to the entire common area of the house, I think I’d appreciate the covered patio more. There is a little window above the kitchen in the sink, but one of the panes was broken so it wasn’t a clear window and we didn’t often open the curtains that made the yellowing glass visible. Even if that weren’t a problem, the window faces our neighbors house, northeast, and therefore rarely has much light coming in anyway. The dark green walls, dark carpet that feels like it belongs in a cheap motel, and division of the kitchen and living room don’t help either.
To be fair, my disdain for this house started with my disdain for my step father. The house is older, and the architecture reflects that. The bad interior design is the fault of the previous owners, and also why we got the house so cheap. We did eventually take down the horrible wall paper and paint the kitchen and dining room a much nicer off white color. However, I don’t think any amount of remodeling will help me disassociate the years of feeling unwelcome in the house that was supposed to be my home, nor the memories of my step father mistreating us, cheating on my mom, and then ultimately shooting himself in the head. Biased my opinion may be, it will never change. I hate this house.
It might not look like much at first glance, but take a moment to really evaluate what you are looking at. This here is an international shoe factory turned fun park industrial museum. Let’s take a closer look.
Everything you see, you can touch and climb on. And this is just the outside. The re-purposed-industrial-material-playground theme continues on the inside! Along with an aquarium, a skate park, a room with performances (and oh, yes, you can climb around under the stage if you find the entrance located in a different room!), a dining hall, ten story slide, and so much more.
This is City Museum in St. Louis. I have visited this museum once and haven’t stopped talking about it since. It is unlike any other building I have ever even heard of. We stumbled upon it when visiting the St. Louis Arch, so we only had a few hours to explore. We did not get to see everything and I have been dying to go back. From day one, I have been utterly impressed that the architects of this building have successfully designed it so that you can climb on everything you can reach. If it isn’t safe to climb on, you don’t have access to it, so there are no signs telling you not to touch or climb on anything! Incredible!
The most recent time I remember architecture making me speechless is when I was leaving the New York Public Library in May. My friends and I had been in and out of unique and impressive buildings all day, both new and old alike. We had even been in buildings of the same architectural style as the New York Public Library. I was enthralled and excited, but for the novelty of being at the New York Public Library more so than because of its structure. Sure, I was able to appreciate the recreation of Roman Corinthian Order as we walked up the steps. I was in awe at the size and popularity of the library – it was almost overwhelming. I even took a long moment to contemplate the paintings on the ceiling and wonder how its even possible to paint a ceiling, or to paint that well at all! But it wasn’t until I was standing at the top of the interior balcony waiting on my friends.
That is when it occurred to me how extensive, detail oriented, and time consuming the construction of this building must have been. Every nook and cranny seemed to have been crafted with pride. I began to wonder how it is that the less technology humans had, the more we valued quality construction and artistic design. It seems the newer a building, the quicker it falls and the less detailed it is. I found myself thinking how we should go back to constructing our buildings ancient Greek-style. But Mr. Boeck mentioned something in class that made a lot of sense and change my view on the matter: we shouldn’t construct new buildings to look like they’re old. The architecture of each era is significant to the history and culture of that time. We should preserve the buildings of the past and embrace the modern styles of today. It’d be ignorant to say that modern architecture lacks any sort of artistic talent or attention to detail!
The Space needle was the first building I visited that wasn’t a box. I remember being fascinated by it’s structure. It was one of those moments in life where you can feel your perception of the world and its possibilities expanding. Inside, there are exhibits explaining how it was built. Those exhibits were the first I was ever interested in actually reading.
The Space Needle is an architectural wonder of its time. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River in 1962 and was accomplished in just 400 days. The architects designed a rotating restaurant with a diameter of 94.5 feet offering a 360 degree view of the city of Seattle while visitors dine. This rotating restaurant uses a motor with just 1.5 horsepower – made possible by railroad technology.
Washington was the last state I lived in before my parents got divorced. Although my dad was on deployment for 9 of the 12 months we lived there, he was with us when we visited the Space Needle for the first time.
I will forever have a soft spot for this unique building. I realized this when I moved to San Antonio. There, they have the Tower of the Americas, which was built for the World’s Fair in San Antonio just 6 years after the Space Needle was built for the World’s Fair in Seattle. It is slightly taller and also has a rotating restaurant. From the very first time a friend explained to me that downtown San Antonio had this impressive attraction, I was defensive of the Space Needle as if they were rival football teams. It’s incredible how much sentiment can be attached to an object simply because of the impression its unique architecture leaves.
This family bought $1.5 million of land where a fire had scorched all of the trees. The family told the architects to incorporate those trees into the construction of their house wherever possible. As a result, every door, support beam, arch, rail, and frame is unique. The family then used any left over tree to have furniture built, tying the whole house together.
The architects did such an incredible job that the house is now a popular venue for weddings, fund raisers, and parties.
I fell in love with Ecuador immediately. I have never seen so much biodiversity in one place. The lush surroundings and perfect, temperate weather at 9,000 feet above sea level made me feel like I was in paradise. I have always had a profound love for nature, so when I learned that the house was built by re-purposing dead trees, I knew there was no place I’d rather be for my semester of cultural immersion.
Little did I know, the architecture of this house
was just the beginning. The use of nature extends beyond the use of the trees. The house itself is accented with flowers, and shrubs and has a garden of its own. The morning after my arrival in Ecuador, the family told me how they re-purpose anything when possible, then recycle. All food scraps are used to create a compost for their garden or fed to their dogs. never thrown away. To top it all off, the son of the family has started hosting charity events at his house to raise enough money to implement a free art program for the children who come from families too poor to expose them to art themselves. His first event was held a year ago. He invited artists of all fields to display and sell their art, charging a $5 entry fee and limiting the number of participants to 1,000 people in order to ensure everyone attending could enjoy themselves without being overcrowded. He then found art teachers from several different disciplines to volunteer their time to teach children how to perform in their respective fields. All expenses were paid for using the proceeds from his artisan event. He plans on hosting such events three to four times a year.
Never before has the power and influence of architecture been so clearly displayed to me, and in such a positive way. I wish everyone still put this much pride and consideration into the construction of their homes.