Take a “journey through space” with one of our most gifted living architects, Renzo Piano, as his riveting exhibition – The Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Piece by Piece – reaches the end of its world tour here in Athens.
Fittingly, the travelling exhibition, which arrived in Greece on Thursday (April 27), is being hosted by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre – one of the Italian architect’s most recent architectural triumphs.
Visitors to the free public exhibit will have the opportunity to get acquainted, step by step, with the conception, design and implementation of the SNFCC, one of the largest construction projects in Greece’s recent history.
Additionally, the public can also study some of the great architectural accomplishments of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, since it was established by Piano in 1981 to bring together architecture and engineering experts in Paris, Genoa and New York.
In collaboration with them, Renzo Piano has developed unmistakable landmark projects worldwide, including the Kansai International Airport Terminal Building in Osaka, the Beyeler Foundation Museum in Basel, the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center in New Caledonia, the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome, the Morgan Library in New York, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, USA, the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, the New Whitney Museum in New York and, of course, the 170,000-square-metre Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.
However, Piano, himself, recognises the challenge in rolling out such an exhibition: Nothing is ever quite the same as laying one’s eyes on the actual structure itself. He counters thus:
“It is very difficult to successfully exhibit architecture. Nothing can really substitute actually being in the building itself, the feeling of the hybrid texture of a city, the continuous stream of voices that make up the sounds of life. An architectural exhibition can, however, clearly transmit something of the complex and shared process through which the buildings we design are conceived, constructed and then inhabited. … I like to think of this exhibition like a journey through space.”
“Piece by Piece” consists of 18 tabletop displays of scale models, drawings, photographs and video, chronicling the history of different projects by the internationally-renowned architectural firm.
The models, like islands, represent a wide range of projects: museums, libraries, airports and even private residences, and recount the building design process, starting from the architect’s vision and the project’s conception, all the way to construction.
SNFCC is the last stop of the traveling exhibition, which began its journey back in 2013, at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. Previous stops included the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua, in 2014, as part of the International Biennial Architecture and Shanghai, in 2015, where the exhibition was hosted at the Power Station of Art.
See “Renzo Piano Building Workshop – Piece by Piece” at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center – Lighthouse, until July 23, 2017. Opening Hours: 06:00 – 24:00 daily. Visit www.snfcc.org
Insider Weekly, May 3, 2017