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While film lovers eagerly await Jurassic World, the fourth chapter of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic saga - despite the nonsense debate caused by a viral picture of the director posing with a dinosaur - architecture lovers look forward to Renzo Piano’s new project: Jurassica.
The Italian multi-award winning architect has been commissioned to design a prehistoric theme park and museum, to be built in a disused limestone quarry on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset, southern England.
The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and will host a subterranean attraction probably covered by a glass and steel roof, including an aquarium and animatronic displays of dinosaurs. The ambitious plan is still in the preliminary phases and should be completed by 2020.
Jurassica would be one of over 25 major museum projects - 14 in the U.S. alone – carried out by Renzo Piano, a surprising record that makes the “archistar” very proud: “I love to design civic buildings, as they will change people’s lives for the next few centuries,” he said in an interview last year.
Among his most renowned creations are the Menil Collection in Houston (1982-1986), the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco (2000-2008), and the Resnick Pavilion at LACMA (2006-2010). At present, he is also completing the renovation and expansion of the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, and the Whitney Museum of Art at Gansevoort in New York, due in 2015.
Yet, throughout his 50-year career, the artist and native of Genoa has worked on different types of buildings all over the world, such as Potsdamer Platz in Berlin (1992-2000), the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome (1994-2002), the Maison Hermes in Tokyo (1998-2006), the New York Times Building (2000-2007), and the London Bridge Tower (2000-2012) - just to name a few.
All of them, particularly his museums, are not only beautiful and functional, but also in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape as if they have always been there. According to Renzo Piano, architects must observe the society that is constantly changing, and become an interpreter of the change through their work.
Piano’s interest in architecture and his design talent developed thanks to academic studies in Florence and at the Polytechnic in Milan, as well as to his family’s construction business. After graduating in 1964, he started traveling Europe and the U.S. in search of inspiration and opportunities.
In collaboration with Richard Rogers, in the early 1970s he realized the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which gained him international notoriety.
His present company, founded in 1981 and named “Renzo Piano Building Workshop”, has offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York City, and employs approximately 150 people. In 2004, he also established the Renzo Piano Foundation, offering scholarships and internships to young architects and students.
At 76, Renzo Piano is considered one of the world’s best architects, whose innovative, impressive, acclaimed artworks have contributed to promote Italian culture worldwide. In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 1998 and appointed senator for life by the President of the Italian Republic in 2013.