Renzo Piano, arguably the world’s greatest living architect, designer of such buildings as the Centre Pompidou, the Shard in London, the California Academy of Sciences, Houston’s Menil Collection, soon-to-be completed Whitney Museum in New York City and many others, came to lunch at Arcosanti with his family this past Tuesday, April 22. 2014, on their way to the Grand Canyon. Once here they stayed for much more than lunch.

Tomiaki Tamura and Travis Shappell took Renzo for a tour. Renzo paced the concrete floor of the vaulted arches at Arcosanti’s center and said “This is all much bigger than I imagined!”

While he and his family were here, Renzo confided that he has wanted to visit Arcosanti for the past 40 years, and he was very moved by the experience of finally being in the architecture of Paolo Soleri. He had a great time at Arcosanti, walking around the place with our workshoppers and staff, speaking of architectural rebellion, and of the freedom and creativity that Soleri embodied for him. In fact, it may not have been a coincidence that Piano named his architectural studios “Building Workshops” for experiential learning process as Soleri did for his students at both Cosanti and Arcosanti.

[photo of Renzo Piano with the Ceramics studio staff, courtesy of Nadia Begin, text by Tomiaki Tamura and Jeff Stein]

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