The Italian architect Renzo Piano has been awarded the 2008 Sonning Prize (DKK 1 million) on 1 October at the University of Copenhagen.
As an architect, Renzo Piano has left his intriguing marks around the world. His architecture can be seen as “an unerring, remarkable and quite extraordinary synthesis of the fine and rare blend of art, architecture and engineering” as the recommendation of Renzo Piano reads. This is evident in his work that includes many prominent landmarks in Europe’s big cities such as the revolutionary Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the master plan for Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, the Paul Klee Museum in Bern, the music auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome and in one of his most recent works, the Shard skyscraper in London.”
The recommendation of Renzo Piano further states: “While his work embraces the idiom, the materials and the latest technological competence of this era, he is clearly a European with deep roots in classical Italian tradition, architectural history and philosophy. His intellectual curiosity and problem solving techniques can be recognized in elegantly expressed structures and constructions. But his belief in the social aspects of architecture and humanitarian ideals makes him to the same extent intensely engaged in planning housing areas as well as scenery and sustainability.”
The 70 year old Renzo Piano was born in Genoa (Genova), Italy, where he still lives and has his drawing office; the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The company’s website takes the visitor on a photographical journey to some of Renzo Piano’s exceptional works e.g. the New York Times building in New York.
Some of Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s most iconic buildings:
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1971-1977 (jointly designed with Richard Rogers)
Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, Noumea, 1991-1998
Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, 1992-2000
High Museum Expansion, Atlanta, 1999-2005
The New York Times Building, New York, 2000-2007
Broad Contemporary Art Museum (LACMA Expansion - Phase 1), Los Angeles, 2003-2008
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, 2000-2008
About the Sonning Prize
The Sonning Prize is the largest cultural award in Denmark. It was founded by author and editor C.J. Sonning (1879-1937).
The Prize amount is DKK 1 million and supports the promotion of European culture. Following the wish of C.J. Sonning, a committee under the University of Copenhagen elects the prize recipient, who must be a person “found to have done commendable work for the benefit of European culture”.
Previous recipients of the Prize Recipients of the Prize include Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Sir Laurence Olivier, actor; Niels Bohr, physicist; Ingmar Bergman, film and theatre director and Simon de Beauvoir, author. The statesman Sir Winston Churchill received an extraordinary prize in 1950.
The Prize is normally awarded every other year at the University of Copenhagen.
All images by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.