America's Go-To Architect

How Renzo Piano has quietly become one of the world's foremost, most prolific architects

To the consternation of some critics like Nicolai Ouroussoff, Renzo Piano has become the go-to architect for American cultural institutions—the default choice when more “adventurous” designers flame out, bust the budget, or spook timid museum boards. And while he did indeed inherit faltering projects once attached to other big names (most notably, The Whitney Museum and LACMA, with Rem Koolhaas), Piano’s credentials are indisputable: thirty-plus years designing some of the world’s most important buildings, a precise and rigorous (and construction-friendly) aesthetic, an urbane and utterly charming personality likely to put even the most skittish directors and donors at ease.

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