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Exhibition Review – Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings at the Royal Academy of Arts from 15th September 2018 to 20th January 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts present an exhibition of the internationally-renowned architect and Honorary Royal Academician Renzo Piano. The exhibition entitled Renzo Piano: The Art of Buildings is the first comprehensive survey of Piano’s career to be held in London since 1989, and is located in the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries in Burlington Gardens.

Renzo Piano  is one of the world’s leading architects and is primarily known for his work on the Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Shard in London and the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.  In 1981 the architect founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), located in Paris, Genoa and New York, which, with a team of 150 staff, has realised over 100 projects that include large cultural and institutional buildings, housing and offices, as well as urban plans for entire city districts.

Born into a family of Italian builders, Piano has incorporated the practical aspects of this background with experimentation with form, material and engineering to create a coherent whole. Piano is known for his attention to detail in the design process, constantly testing the way that the buildings will look and feel.

The exhibition offers  an overview of the architect’s practice through sixteen of his most significant projects, dating from his early career when he was experimenting with innovative structural systems, to some of his best known buildings of the present day. Highlights include Centre Pompidou, Paris (1971), Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Nouméa (1998), The New York Times Building (2007), The Shard, London (2012), Jérôme Seydoux Pathé Foundation, Paris (2014) and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015).

The projects are laid out on tables in a couple of the galleries and are a mixture of archival material, models, photographs and drawings. Each project display gives some insights into the design process but perhaps more importantly into the conceptual theme of each particular building.

To understand more about how Piano sees the world and the role of architecture within it, there is a specially commissioned film by Thomas Riedelsheimer in the central gallery.

Also in the central gallery is large centrepiece that is a sculptural installation designed by RPBW especially for the exhibition, illustrating 100 of Piano’s projects on an imaginary island.

Around the walls of the gallery are 32 photographs by Gianni Berengo Gardin, large drawings of various projects and hanging from the ceiling are various models of different pieces of materials used in the design process.

Architecture is often quite a difficult form to show in art galleries, very often models do not do justice to the large-scale of the actual buildings. However this fascinating exhibition is more concerned in providing some insights into the work, aspirations and achievements of an architect who believes in the many possibilities of architecture.  The new Royal Academy is committed to raising the profile and appreciation of architects and architecture, this high-profile exhibition provides a wonderful launching board for many other exhibitions on the subject.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended   

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings at the Royal Academy of Arts – 15th September 2018 to 20th January 2019

In autumn 2018, the Royal Academy of Arts will present an exhibition of the internationally-renowned architect and Honorary Royal Academician Renzo Piano. This will be the first comprehensive survey of Piano’s career to be held in London since 1989, and will be presented in the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries in Burlington Gardens, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop,
The Shard, London Bridge Tower and London Bridge Place, London, 2012.
© RPBW. Photography: William Matthews.

Renzo Piano  is one of the world’s leading architects and his buildings have enriched cities and spaces across the globe. From designing the Centre Pompidou in Paris as a young architect with Richard Rogers, to projects including The Shard in London and the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Piano’s work continues to pioneer ground-breaking architecture that touches the human spirit. In 1981 the architect founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), located in Paris, Genoa and New York, which, with a team of 150 staff, has realised over 100 projects that include large cultural and institutional buildings, housing and offices, as well as urban plans for entire city districts.

Born into a family of Italian builders, Piano places great importance on the crafting of elegant structures that embody a sense of lightness. Designing buildings “piece by piece”, Piano’s practice makes deft use of form, material and engineering to achieve a precise yet poetic elegance. He has a command of the entire process, from the structural systems to individual building components, designed for optimum technical performance as well as aesthetic and haptic qualities. Such is the importance of these aspects of the architecture, that full-scale mock-ups of sections of the buildings are created during the design process to test how they will look and feel, from the composition as a whole, to smaller technical details.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop,
Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Nouméa, 1998.
© RPBW. Photography: Sergio Grazia / ADCK – centre culturel Tjibaou.

Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings will offer an overview of the architect’s practice through sixteen of his most significant projects, dating from his early career when he was experimenting with innovative structural systems, to the signature buildings of the present day. Highlights include Centre Pompidou, Paris (1971), Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Nouméa (1998), The New York Times Building (2007), The Shard, London (2012), Jérôme Seydoux Pathé Foundation, Paris (2014) and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015).

Rarely seen archival material, models, photographs and drawings will reveal the process behind the conception and realisation of Piano’s best known buildings. For example, on display will be one of the original models made during the design process for the Menil Collection in Houston (1986), showing how Piano and his team rigorously explored creative ways to bring natural light into the galleries, creating spaces that would be ideal for viewing art. Other highlights will include the white ceramic rods from the 1:1 mock-up of The New York Times Building, produced to test their scale, surface and reflectivity, as well as the original competition drawings for the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Noumea that captivated the jury.

At the heart of the exhibition, there will be a focus on the architect himself through 32 photographs by Gianni Berengo Gardin and a specially commissioned film by Thomas Riedelsheimer highlighting Piano’s personal sensibilities and attitude to architecture  The centrepiece of this space will be a sculptural installation designed by RPBW especially for the exhibition, bringing together 100 of Piano’s projects on an imaginary island.

The exhibition will provide an exceptional insight into the work, aspirations and achievements of a man who believes passionately in the possibilities of architecture. It will demonstrate that far from being a straightforward art-form, architecture is a complex profession that carries social, political and financial responsibilities.

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here