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.