Renzo Piano was born in September 1937 in Genoa, the ancient Italian port on the Mediterranean.
He studied in Florence and in Milan, where he worked in the office of Franco Albini and experienced the first student rebellions of the 1960s.
Born into a family of builders, frequent visits to his father Carlo’s building sites gave him the opportunity to combine practical and academic experience.
He graduated from the Politecnico University in Milan in 1964.
From 1965 to 1970, he combined his first experimental work with his brother Ermanno together with numerous trips to Great Britain and the United States.
In 1971, he set up the Piano & Rogers office in London with Richard Rogers. Together they won the competition for the Centre Pompidou and he subsequently moved to Paris.
From the early 1970s to the 1990s, he worked with the engineer Peter Rice, sharing the Atelier Piano & Rice from 1977 to 1981.
In 1981, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) was established, and it currently has a staff of 150 and offices in Paris, Genoa and New York.
RPBW has designed buildings all around the world: the Menil Collection in Houston, the terminal for Kansai International Airport in Osaka, the Fondation Beyeler Museum in Basel, the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia, Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, the extensions of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and of the Morgan Library in New York, the Maison Hermès in Tokyo, the New York Times headquarters, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Recognition of his achievements has included such awards as the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in 1989, the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo in 1995, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in1998, and the AIA Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in 2008.
Some of his most important current projects include a new building for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the redevelopment and enlargement of the Fogg Museum in Cambridge (Massachusetts) and of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Campus of Columbia University in New York, an expansion of the Kimbell Art Museum in Forth Worth, the London Bridge Tower and St. Giles Court in London, the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Ronchamp and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.
Married to Milly, he lives in Paris and has four children: Carlo, Matteo, Lia and Giorgio.