12 Renzo Piano Buildings We Love

Regularly cited as the father of "high-tech" buildings, Pritzker Prize-winning Italian architect Renzo Piano's designs showcase technological shapes and materials.
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Known for his delicate and refined approach to building that he deploys in museums and other buildings around the world, he was compared to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Brunelleschi by the Pritzker jury—stating that he has "[an] intellectual curiosity and problem-solving technique as broad and far ranging as those earlier masters of his native land."

Krause Gateway Center, Des Moines, Iowa

Along with demolition work on the existing buildings, construction is now underway that will usher in a new headquarters for Midwest convenience store chain, Kum & Go. This photorealistic rendering gives a glimpse of the five-story building at 1459 Grand Avenue, officially dubbed the Krause Gateway Center.

The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Renzo Piano-designed building is a 200,000-square-foot exhibition replacement of Marcel Breuer’s 1966 brutalist Upper East Side masterpiece.  

As a landmark in the city of Cologne, the curved front facade of this distinctive department store cantilevers subtly out into the area's pedestrian zone, strengthening the presence of the store along a major pedestrian and shopping axis.

Designed to house the Astrup Fearnley Museum's permanent collection, this space also includes a separate space for its temporary exhibitions and an office building that has its own exhibition area for a private art collection. This strong, timber-clad shelter dwells under a single swooping glass roof in a newly landscaped public sculpture garden. 

Imitating the form of an armadillo, this critically-acclaimed 23,000-square-foot, five-story structure houses offices, archives, exhibition space, and a 70-seat screening room that's dedicated to celebrating the legacy of the pioneering French film company.

At 3.3 million square meters, Yongsan International Business District in Seoul represents the largest single development in South Korea. Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed the 110-story skyscraper that anchors it.

National Geographic described this design as "love at second sight." The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris revolutionized museum design, showcasing a busy center for social activities and cultural exchanges. The building appears to be turned "inside out," revealing its inner workings. 

"Paddington Pole" Skyscraper, London, U.K.

Also a work in progress, Piano has cut 54 stories from his stalled Paddington Pole skyscraper to create a new proposal for a "floating" glass cube on London's Paddington station. The 18-story building comprises a 14-story office block that's raised 39 feet above a large public space.

Though Renzo Piano Building Workshop is known for creating impeccable commercial structures, their internationally-acclaimed expertise made them the right team for the job to envision and build 565 Broome Street. The dual glass towers of the 30-story building will rise to 290 feet and will house living quarters ranging from studios costing $1 million to full-floor homes priced at around $20 million. 

Centro Botín was the first building that Renzo Piano designed in Spain. It was imagined to be a permanent home for the art, cultural, and educational programs of Fundación Botín, Spain’s most important private cultural foundation, and will open in Santander on June 23. The 10,285-square-foot Centro Botín is located on a landmark site on Santander’s waterfront.

Designed to celebrate the vernacular Kanak culture (the indigenous culture of New Caledonia), the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre was named after the leader of the independence movement, who was assassinated in 1989 and had a vision of establishing a cultural center that would blend the linguistic and artistic heritage of the Kanak people.

Based on the idea of regenerating a former industrial site into a thriving community, this project incorporates mixed-use functions dedicated to housing, leisure, commerce, offices, cultural spaces, and a wide park overlooking the river. The designers sought to re-establish the important relationship of the site to the adjacent Trenton city center. 


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