ACMI and the Italian Institute of Culture Melbourne present
Renzo Piano: Architect of Light
Renzo Piano: l’Architetto della Luce
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Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura traces the development of Santander's Centro Botín, Renzo Piano's first project in Spain
Veteran Spanish film director Carlo Saura interviews Renzo Piano, one of the most celebrated architects in the world, over the course of a seven-year journey, from the conception and construction to the unveiling of the Centro Botín cultural centre in Santander, in northern Spain, in 2017.
Piano – the architect behind projects including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome and The New York Times building in midtown Manhattan – discusses his approach to transforming the waterfront site in Santander with a light-filled structure that should appear to levitate. Piano posits that the design of a new building is already 'inscribed' in the space it is to occupy and that part of his responsibility as an architect is to intuit and elaborate on this in a design response integrated with each location. The result in Santander is a structure clad with some 270,000 shimmering ceramic 'lenses', comprised of two wings set at angles that maximise the interplay of light. The final iteration of the project also integrates a formerly private garden to create a new public green precinct for the city's residents to enjoy.
Piano and Saura's discursive conversations at different stages of the project provide a welcome opportunity for the always fascinating Piano to reflect on and articulate aspects of a creative and philosophical process the architect considers should marry 'civics with poetics'.
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