Renzo Piano of Italy is the 1998 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize
Renzo Piano, a 60-year-old Italian architect who builds all over the world, has been named the 1998 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the prize, the formal presentation will be made at a ceremony hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton at The White House on June 17.
In making the announcement, Jay A. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation, which established the award in 1979, quoted from the jury's citation which describes Piano's architecture as a "rare melding of art, architecture, and engineering in a truly remarkable synthesis." Piano is the twenty-first architect in the world to be selected for his profession's highest honor which bestows a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion. He is the second Italian to become a Pritzker Laureate, the first being the late Aldo Rossi, who was honored in 1990.
Piano first achieved international fame for the Centre George Pompidou in Paris completed in 1978, a collaborative effort with another young architect from England, Richard Rogers. Since then, Piano has gone on to higher critical acclaim for a much wider range of building types with greater diversity and subtlety that include among many others, the Menil Museum and its Cy Twombly addition in Houston, and the Beyeler Museum in Basel, Switzerland.
On a grand scale, he designed a spectacular soccer stadium for his native Italy in Bari, an eye-popping shopping center called Bercy in Paris that has been likened to a giant space ship that has just landed. Perhaps one of his most remarkable projects is the Kansai Air Terminal, the world's largest, built on a man-made island in Osaka Bay, Japan.
Born and raised in Genoa, Italy, Piano divides his time between a home there and another in Paris when he is not traveling to the many world-wide sites of his projects. He currently is working in Berlin on the Potsdamer Platz redevelopment; in Sydney, Australia on a mixed use tower; in New Caledonia on a Cultural Center; with projects just beginning at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church in Foggia, Italy; and other continuing projects in Rome, Paris and Stuttgart.