A tension runs through the work of Renzo Piano. Born in 1937 into a prominent family of Genoese builders, he has long stressed his commitment to craft, to the particularities of material and making, and, though his firm has multiple offices with international projects, it is still called Building Workshop. Yet Piano burst into public view with the Centre Pompidou (1971-77), which, designed with Richard Rogers, is the most celebrated of the high-tech megastructures of the period, and today he is also associated with large urban schemes, including the redevelopment of the old harbour in Genoa (1985-92) and Potsdamer Platz in Berlin (1992-2000), as well as massive infrastructural projects such as Kansai International Airport (1988-94), for which an entire island was engineered into being in the Bay of Osaka.

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