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Thoughts from legendary Architect Renzo Piano

London Shard

Architect Renzo Piano – the mind behind such buildings as The Shard in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the new Whitney Museum of Art in New York City lead an architecture talk at a recent TED conference.

Speaking of architecture, Piano said: “Architecture is amazing, for sure. It’s amazing because it’s art. But you know, it’s a very funny kind of art. It’s an art at the frontier between art and science. It’s fed by … by real life, every day. It’s driven by force of necessity. Quite amazing, quite amazing. And the life of the architect is also amazing.”

During the speech, Piano expresses the need for architects to be multi-occupational – they are “poets” in the morning, “humanist” mid-morning and a builder by noon.

A shelter for communities

Piano goes on to say that Architecture is about construction and this is a necessity, but at the heart of it, it is making a “shelter for communities, not just for individuals”. He says that as the world changes so does architecture and this is the adventure in which architecture takes its people.

In his poetic manner, Piano likens Architecture to telling a story and uses a number of his projects as examples. For example; The Shard in London, he says: “This building is the tallest building in Western Europe. It goes up more than 300 meters in the air, to breathe fresh air. The facets of this building are inclined, and they reflect the sky of London, that is never the same. After rain, everything becomes bluish. In the sunny evening, everything is red. It’s something that is difficult to explain. It’s what we call the soul of a building.”

Finding beauty

Piano finalises his speech by talking about beauty, and how beauty has the power to change people. He comments: “Making buildings for this beauty makes cities better places to live. And better cities make better citizens.”

Following this speech, Hunter Dunning Architecture Lead, John Watson commented: “Renzo Piano has exceeded the top of his career; a real inspiration that our candidates can aspire too and we help them on their way to this goal.”

Hear the full speech on the TED website here.

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