When Renzo Piano Gets Boring


Another story in what’s quickly becoming a down day for starchitects, is this piece in Bloomberg by their architecture critic, James S. Russell, Renzo Piano, Favored Museum Designer, Wears Out His Welcome.” It’s about the plight of the famous architect after his work has been everywhere and the projects he gets requests for are essentially, “We want exactly what you’ve done a million times before” until, ultimately, his work becomes too familiar and no longer as unique as it once was. Here’s a bit:

In these buildings, Piano expertly choreographed materials into a ballet of tension and repose, texture and weight, solidity and transparency in stone, metal and glass. The art looks great because of a judicious melding of daylight and gallery lighting.

Yet too many risk-averse boards run to Renzo asking him to recycle these masterpieces for them. They are shortchanging themselves and their collections.

As the 70-year-old Piano takes on more projects, what once seemed special now looks rote in Atlanta’s High Museum and the thankfully canceled addition to New York’s Whitney Museum.