Renzo Piano was born in September 1937 in Genoa, the ancient Italian port on the Mediterranean. He studied in Florence and in Milan, where he worked in the office of Franco Albini and experienced the first student rebellions of the 1960s. Born into a family of builders, frequent visits to his father Carlo’s building sites gave him the opportunity to combine practical and academic experience. He graduated from the Politecnico University in Milan in 1964.
From 1965 to 1970, he combined his first experimental work with his brother Ermanno together with numerous trips to Great Britain and the United States. In 1971, he set up the Piano & Rogers office in London with Richard Rogers. Together they won the competition for the Centre Pompidou and 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 (RPBW) was established, and it currently has a staff of 150 and offices in Paris, Genoa and New York.
Recognition of his achievements has included such awards as the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in 1989, the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo in 1995, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in1998, and the AIA Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in 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. Married to Milly, he lives in Paris and has four children: Carlo, Matteo, Lia and Giorgio.