In spite of that his production suffers from the excess and it him had come well to have only 10 % of the works that it accumulates in his career, I believe that Renzo Piano (1937) is an architect who has produced some of the best buildings of these times in which so many wrong things are asked him to the architecture.
It has insisted on supporting the technical rigor associated with a vision very purified of the design that him there has been careful to travel the most confused ways of Richard Rogers (1933), his former partner and co-author of the center Pompidou, one of the works most publicized and visited of the century twenty. Piano and Rogers gained this contest in 1970 and jumped to the reputation, in spite of the polemic aspects of this work that came to be the “ideological” predecessor of the buildings – emblems that have taken a shower for the world.
Piano has been a labelling as an architect high-tech together with Norman Foster (1935), the same Rogers and others fewer acquaintances. A label that rests that the three have been worshippers of an approximation to the architecture that insists on “proving to be” or making the structural skeleton and his attachés evident, taking decisions of design justified in technical notions.
The skeleton is conceived trying to differentiate in the design the paper of the elements submitted to traction or to compression, which led Kenneth Frampton to naming them structures “tensiles”, in an effort of classification. It goes of yes that these structures, for wanting to make his form of work visible, are invariably of steel because the concrete armed one is a material that shows much less his internal mechanics. They register in addition in an aesthetic universe derived from the constructive rationality, from the purification of the design of the elements, of his connections, of his proportions.
Three figures that I have named do not achieve results of the same level, but it might be said that they are inheritors of the modern tradition in his more orthodox version.
I am not a follower of his steps, but yes I am interested in visiting his works when I have the opportunity. It has been the case with Piano in two important works. One on that I have commented here, the Park of the Music in Rome (2002). And other one, which motivates the today comment, the building of the New York Times, in New York, finished in 2007.
Rather discreet building because it does not seek to impress with any special gesture, since it is the case for example of that of the Corporation Hearst de Foster (2006) there same in New York, which volume is done facetado by virtue of a rather forced effort of differentiation, since it happens in some Foster’s recent works. Maybe queriendo to approach the building images in height with “three-dimensional” structures that circulated in the sixties, of which the very precise one was that of the skyscraper not constructed of Louis I. Kahn for Philadelphia, of ends of the fifties.
Piano, on the contrary, limits itself to the prismatic volume that he places at the edge of the street, leaving the bottom of the lot for a series of special offices and the Audience, one of whose sides is opened towards a very beautiful interior court by vegetation.
This idea of bringing near, of bringing the building over to the street, it follows the preponderant alignment, but it makes wonder if it is impossible in New York that a corporate building could accept that the Ground floor yields space to the city as it did it in his moment the Seagram of Mies Van der Rohe (1958) that in Park Avenue broke with the alignments of a radical way, creating a square that has come to turn into his more well-known distinction.
We imagine the arguments in order that this was not possible, between which that of the safety will stand out before terrorist threats. But anyhow one it thinks, taken maybe by a vision of the urban thing foreign to this city, place fast and of traffic always sressful. And nevertheless there the more or less anonymous skyscrapers of the Bird are anyhow, like interesting sequel of the gesture of the Seagram. Of The Americas (“anonymity” that has cost many critiques them for forty years), that created a system of public very pleasing squares of access and that they make more nice to this sector of the city, creating opportunity for a fleeting rest that is grateful.
The prismatic volume is surrounded by a skin of tubular with aluminium (or stainless steel) that protects the wall curtain that wraps the offices. It does little I commented here that a building of the Japanese Fumihiko Maki (1928) in MIT’s campus in Boston resorts to a very similar beginning, that today technically accessible and it is the result of the search of beginning of control of the solar incident subtler that already a bit badly I dress “quiebrasol” corbusiano and certainly that the horrifying crystal inked of color that submits the users to a permanent environment of discotheque.
But here, what it does Maki, the skin is interrupted in horizontal coincidental bands by the windows of every floor. And the question arises on why of this decision, since since it is demonstrated clearly in Boston (to see top central photo in the photographic “collage”)(to see top central photo in the photographic “collage”), the perception of the landscape “filtered” through the pipes is perfect, less the solar radiance. If already the protective beginning had been adopted why not to do it in the whole volume?
Pero aquí, a diferencia de lo que hace Maki, la piel se interrumpe en bandas horizontales coincidentes con las ventanas de cada piso. Y surge la pregunta sobre el por qué de esta decisión, ya que como se demuestra claramente en Boston (to see top central photo in the photographic “collage”), la percepción del paisaje “filtrado” por los tubos es perfecta, menos el resplandor solar. Si ya se había adoptado el principio protector ¿por qué no hacerlo en todo el volumen?
To sift permanently the sight a pioneering precedent had raised always risky, but I do not have doubts of the interest of the result, and there would stay always the option to create points opened in select sites. One feels the sensation of lost opportunity if we imagine the enormous volume, leaking and reflecting the light, without the troublesome presence of the vertical elements of support of the “skin”, well-known well in the reality.
Óscar Tenreiro Degwitz, Architect.
Venezuela, may 2010,
Entre lo Cierto y lo Verdadero
Es un arquitecto venezolano, nacido en 1939, Premio Nacional de Arquitectura de su país en 2002-2003, profesor de Diseño Arquitectónico por más de treinta años en la Universidad Central de Venezuela, quien paralelamente con su ejercicio ha mantenido ya por años presencia en la prensa de su país en un esfuerzo de comunicación hacia la gente en general de los puntos de vista del arquitecto acerca de los más diversos temas, entre los cuales figuran los agudos problemas políticos de una sociedad como la venezolana. Tenreiro practica así lo que el llama el “pensamiento desde y hacia la arquitectura”, insistiendo en que lo hace como arquitecto en ejercicio, para escapar de los estereotipos y cautelas propios de la “crítica arquitectónica”. Respecto a la cual no oculta su desconfianza, que explica recurriendo al aforismo de Nietzsche sobre el crítico de arte “que ve el arte desde cerca sin llegar a tocarlo nunca”.