Renzo Piano was born in Genoa in 1937 into a family of builders. While studying at Politecnico of Milan University, he worked in the office of Franco Albini. In 1971, he set up the “Piano & Rogers” office in London together with Richard Rogers, with whom he won the competition for the Centre Pompidou. 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” was established, with 150 staff and offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York.
He has received numerous awards and recognitions among which: the Royal Gold Medal at the RIBA in London (1989), the Kyoto Prize in Kyoto, Japan (1990), the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO (1994), the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo, Japan (1995), the Pritzker Architecture Prize at the White House in Washington (1998), the Leone d’oro alla Carriera in Venice (2000), the Gold Medal AIA in Washington (2008) and the Sonning Prize in Copenhagen (2009).
In 2004 he also founded the Renzo Piano Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the architectural profession through educational programs and educational activities. The new headquarters was established in Punta Nave (Genoa), in June 2008.
In September 2013 Renzo Piano was appointed senator for life by the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and in May 2014 he received the Columbia University Honorary Degree.