Contemporary Architecture

Renzo Piano – California Academy of Science


  • Renzo Piano was born into a family of builders in Genoa, Italy in 1937.
  • His grandfather, his father, four uncles and brother were all contractors and Renzo Piano admits, Renzo Piano should have been one too, but instead chose architecture.
  • Renzo Piano was studying at Milan Polytechnic Architecture School.
  • During the time 1965-1970 Renzo Piano worked in office of Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia.
  • Richard Rogers and Piano worked together in Expo Project, Italy.
  • They enter the international competition for the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris; they did and won.
  • The Renzo-Rogers collaboration remained 6 years; in 1977 Rogers moved his office from Paris to London.

California academy of science:

  • When he appeared for the competition of California academy of science he was only with a green color sketch pen.
  • He made a conceptual sketch of roof  which represent the topography  of San Francisco
  • He tried to keep the building Low profile and then he made the Green Roofs.


  • African Hall
  • Planetarium
  • Rainforest
  • Academy Gardens
  • Islands of Evolution
  • Research Labs
  • Early Explorers Cove
  • Pendulum
  • Forum : Auditorium for lectures
  • Naturalist Center

Features of Building

  • Solar Panels to Generate Energy
  • Courtyard
  • Natural Ventilation
  • Spider Web used to make the Space Column Free
  • All the Steel used is 100% recycled
  • LEED Platinum certified Museum.
  • All the insulation provided in the building is by using Blue Denim Jeans.
  • Roof is planted with a species of native California plants.
  • Glass chosen in the project is of low iron content to maximize transparency.
  • Cutting the ground plane and lifting it up by 38 ft.

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Contemporary Architecture

Renzo Piano , Richard Rogers – Centre Georges Pompidou

Technology cannot be an end in itself but must aim at solving long term social and ecological problems.“

— Richard Rogers

The team’s architectural intention:

  • Building on the lines of an “evolving spatial diagram”.
  • Large degree of flexibility.
  • Facades that would be “information surfaces.“
  • To maximise spatial movement and flow

Design Phase:

  • A 3-level infrastructure housing the technical facilities and service areas,
  • A vast 7-level glass and steel superstructure, including a terrace and mezzanine floor

The style

  • revealed structure
  • exposed ducts
  • machine-precision aesthetics

Greater care given on how they work.


  • Exposed first Time
    • Blue – Air
    • Green – Fluids
    • Yellow – Electricity cables
    • Red – Movement and flow (elevators) and Safety (fire extinguishers).

Movement and flow:

  • Maximise functional movement and flow
  • Inside out.–Free from circulation and servicing
  • Attractive differences rather than soft-edged harmony.
  • The building portrays its own datum .
  • This public display of components—steel skeleton and diagonal
  • bracing as outcome of  interior  requirement.
  • Unobstructed and adaptable interior volumes

The exterior zone of the structural frame is there to provide tension forces outside the main volume’s external columns, pulling the cantilevered horizontal members downward to reduce the bending forces on the floor span.– eliminates the need for supporting columns across the interior span of 157 feet (53.3 meters) mechanical and air-conditioning services are then placed in the exoskeletal frame

Inside Pompidou :

  • Public access to the museum areas is not from the escalator tubes, as the building exterior seems to suggest, but from doors located centrally at the lower edge of the plaza
  • Double-height interior forum connects the street level with the plaza level in a single volume .
  • Plaza-level reception area also looks down into a performance-level basement where a theater and meeting rooms are situated.
  • An interior escalator takes visitors to the street level on the northwest corner of the building
  • Small lobby connects to elevators and the exterior escalator.– visitors can already look down 46 feet– In reality, the escalator serves only the mezzanine, level four, and level six–
  • Horizontal circulation platforms occur inside the frame — most of them restricted to staff access and emergency exits.

Critical Structural Issues – Achieving column free space

In plan, the superstructure of the building consists of three zones.

  • The middle zone contains the 157-foot clear span across the building interior between the main columns.
  • The outside two zones make up structural wall frames to support and cantilever.

Outer tension in the wall frame act to reduce the bending moments on the center of the span

As a Building:

  • Structural exhibitionism
  • A symbol of process and technology
  • Turning the building inside out was the most successfully realized architectural intention.
  • Static monumentalism is out; dynamic servicing and flexible floor space is in.
  • A ceiling isn’t required to shape a space, as many urban spaces. Our vision is more oriented to the horizontal than to the vertical.

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Contemporary Architecture

Renzo Piano – The New York Times Building

The Building:

  • Joint collaboration between New York Times Company & real estate firm Forest City
  • Office Building
  • Eighth  Avenue, New York
  • Completed in 2004
  • 52 floors
  • 748 height (228 m)
  • Floor Area-16 lakh square feet.
  • The New York Times Company owns about 850,000 square feet on the second through the 27th floors. Forest City Ratner owns about 750,000 square feet on floors 29 through 52

Late Modern (International Style III)

“ Each architecture tells a story, and the story this new building proposes is one of lightness and transparency. This building is about defying gravity. A building that will disappear in the air, that will bring the same magic to the skyline that the neo-Gothic brings. ”

– Renzo Piano

Structure :

Steel tie bars, M100 to M56 provide bracing to each corner of the building.

Facade :

Combination of: high rise curtain wall with ceramic sunscreen, & Ultra Clear Low Iron Glass draped in ceramic tubes



Glass walled moss–&-birch garden.


378 seats (with 400 seat catering hall) Wood Panelled, with transparent wall behind stage in front of the garden vista.

High speed advanced dispatch elevators:

Gearless high speed smart elevators, 1600 ft/min.


700,000 square feet of rentable floor space spread through floors 28 to 52 with average floor size of 32000 square feet.


24000 square feet of ground floor with approximately 700 square feet of frontage.

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