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Iconic figure

Like the 20th century plastic arts and literature, architecture is also represented by a few men and women who by their ideas, their talent, their approach and their strong personality continue to influence the younger generations. Louis Kahn, Oscar Niemeyer, Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe are among these figures. On top of the pyramid, Le Corbusier, one of the few well known to the general public, a name symbolizing modern architecture like Picasso for painting. Many dozens of books, thousands of pages, plans, drawings and photos have celebrated this exceptional personality. From the Marseille Cité radieuse and the Ronchamp Chapel, to the creation of Chandigarh, a city in North India, his works show the trend for their avant-garde value, arousing a passionate enthusiasm or on the contrary causing violent controversies between the academic spirit followers and those in favour of architecture renewal. From 1924 to 1965, his studio is the rallying point of hundreds of architects and students coming from all the countries in the world.

This year, everywhere in France, Le Corbusier stays the centre of interest on the occasion of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his death, through exhibitions, publications and retrospectives. All events which pay tribute to his creative genius. The Centre Pompidou proposes a new perspective on his works with a tailor-made focus on the human body which imposes itself as the universal principle which defines all the dimensions of the spatial composition. The Villa Savoye, one of his masterpieces (1931), presents up to December a programming linked to the notions presented in his reflection. Or also the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine which studies the construction of the new Punjab capital, in India. Le Corbusier worked on this project from 1951 up to his death. As a modernity theoretician, disrupting the way of living, this architecture mythical figure has deeply marked the last century and still stays today a source of inspiration.

The Archi-Europe team

Portrait of the month

1 Renzo Piano

2 Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

3 Potsdamer Platz Vincent Mosch, Berlin, Germany

4 Kansai International Airport Terminal, Osaka, Japan

5 Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, Nouméa, New-Caledonia

6 California Sciences Academy, San Francisco, USA

7 Auditorium del Parco, L'Aquila, Italy

8 Pathé Foundation, Paris, France

9 The Whitney Museum, New York

Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano is certainly one of the greatest architects of our time. Recent projects as well as a few iconic works show a very eclectic approach.

Renzo Piano considers his work as audacious and complex, «at the limits of invention and memory, a balance between art and science, between courage of modernity and caution of tradition ». For him, who grew up on the building sites of his father, a contractor, the construction miracle is permanent. From his childhood he keeps the passion for all the know-hows. Born in Genoa in 1937, he continues his university curriculum at the Milan Polytechnic School where he obtained in 1964 his architecture diploma. Between the advices of Franco Albini, his work at the University with Marco Zanuso on the 'morphological treatment of materials' and his regular visits to his father’s building sites, he acquires an invaluable experience to complete his academic training. Buckminster Fuller, Konrad Wachmanns and Jean Prouvé have strongly influenced his professional life. In 1971, he creates the Piano & Rogers Agency with Richard Rogers, his partner on the Centre Pompidou project in Paris. He then cooperates with Peter Rice within the Atelier Piano & Rice (1977 to 1981). In 1981, he starts the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, still active today. His sensitivity and humanist approach of architecture and urban design have been acknowledged worldwide with numerous distinctions and prizes, such as the prestigious Pritzker prize in 1998. Renzo Piano spends his time travelling between his offices in Paris, Genoa and New York, managed by his thirteen partners and a staff of 130 architects, engineers and specialists.

Since the Centre Pompidou project, conceived to «arouse curiosity» (its specific identity comes from its load-bearing structure pushing back the colored technical sheaths on the outside), Renzo Piano never stopped astonishing people. Looking through the list of his projects, one is impressed by his gifts to invent materials or technologies, which he manages to keep almost invisible. And also his ability to be present worldwide. If some architects have a very personal style, Renzo Piano tries to implement a few coherent ideas in each one of his projects by an extraordinary diversity of means. With his fierce will to never give way to a compromise. Curiosity, stubbornness and passion enabled him to never give way.You can’t identify his signature at first sight. For him, the most important is to understand the customer's expectations, the users’ needs, the site’s characteristics, the financial stakes, the available techniques. That’s why his achievements never look alike. Renzo Piano starts with a constructive element or a sophisticated technology to give the rightest possible answer expressing the singularity of the project.

For Renzo Piano an architect must also be a city planner, to measure the impregnation of the site, the town and its inhabitants. It is sometimes linked to a strong culture, like the Tjibaou Center in Nouméa, inspired by the Kanak culture huts to which it is dedicated. Or also to a historic event, like the Potsdamer Platz, symbol of Berlin’s renewal after Germany’s reunification. This district, started from a wasteland, enabled to create an authentic urban life by integrating the residential buildings to the trading, real estate business and leisure areas. This impregnation is a necessary research vital to its creation. His will to reduce the 'black holes' caused by the industrial zones, now liberated by the moving of the production activities, gives him the possibility to transform these areas in connections between the town and the outskirts. The 'happy city' is a concept the architect wants to introduce right into the suburbs, because as long as they stay dormitories, they are not cities. Renzo Piano wants to put up a sustainable growth program to transform suburbs into towns. Built as a temporary concert hall to replace the one damaged by the 2009 earthquake, the Aquila Auditorium is simply composed of three pure volumes, apparently fixed at random and covered with larch slates painted in different colours corresponding to a very specific colour coding system. «In architecture, the research of lightness brings to transparency, to light, to vibrations, he underlines. It is another weapon against the gravity strength.» The architect is indeed happy to use immaterial elements, as well as forms and materials. Because Renzo Piano is fighting against these towers closed behind dark glass or mirrors. With his New York Times building in Manhattan, favouring elegance of lines and energy savings, he insists on its transparency and sensitivity in resonance with the city. The insertion of a new building in a historic town means starting an open dialogue, physically with the surrounding constructions. Building on an existing structure is also an opportunity to recover the space. Unexpected presence in the heart of Paris, the new headquarters of the Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation shows a curved volume floating in the middle of a courtyard. The street façade, preserved and restored, hides a transparent construction, like a greenhouse with the public area of the Foundation. Strongly asymmetric, the new Whitney Museum, inaugurated in May 2015 is installed with a spectacular cantilever, with a public space serving as decompression chamber between the street and the museum. The eight story building covered with light grey enamelled steel sheets, permits a nice overview on a large collection including today more than 19000 pieces of art. Renzo Piano is very much inspired by environment protection. «Our obligation is to poetically transform the ecologic language codes in order to combine environment respect and beauty.» Interpretation of the advancing green revolution and example of Renzo Piano’s responsible attitude, the Californian Academy of Sciences multiplies ecologic innovations in a group of twelve buildings connected under a one hectare green roof. This exemplary architecture favours natural light, solar energy, material recycling.The proof that the environment constraints must not be seen as liberty mutilation. The future, rich of projects and reflections, is certainly moving in that direction.


1 Renzo Piano © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo Stefano Goldberg

2 Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (1971-1977 / renovation 1997-2000) © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo Michel Denancé

3 Potsdamer Platz Vincent Mosch, Berlin, Germany (1992-2001) © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo Vincent Mosch

4 Kansai International Airport Terminal, Osaka, Japan (1988-1994) © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo Ph.Kawatetsu

5 Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, Nouméa, New-Caledonia (1991-1998) © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo John Gollings

6 California Sciences Academy, San Francisco, USA (2000-2008) © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo Tom Fox, SWA Group

7 Auditorium del Parco, L'Aquila, Italy (2010-2012) © photo Auditorium del Parco

8 Pathé Foundation, Paris, France (2006 - 2014) © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo Michel Denancé

9 The Whitney Museum, New York, USA (2007-2015) © RPBW, Renzo Piano Building Workshop photo Nic Lehoux

Project of the month


Casa Mirador, Valparaíso, Chile
Architects: Víctor Gubbins Browne, Gubbins arquitectos

With its concrete structure and façade, the holiday home of Victor Gubbins pays tribute to the architect Le Corbusier and to the Brutalist buildings.

Recently erected on the South Pacific cliffs near Valparaiso, one of the most beautiful places in Chile, this private residence recalls clearly the Villa Savoye of Le Corbusier. The architect Victor Gubbins Browne has indeed visited it three times, meaning that his project reflects the memory of the renowned modernistic villa. It is also close to André Wogenscky’s approach, principal associate of Le Corbusier, who wants to move away from temporary fashions and influences. The proof is his “villa Chupin”. Further to the symbols of his period (geometrical volumes, piles, terrace-roof, rough concrete walls, fully glazed façade, huge sun protection, fluid interior space, cabin rooms,..) this holiday house stays, since almost fifty years, welcoming to the successive generations living styles and close to its wooded environment. One must point out that Victor Gubbins Browne has worked during seven years in André Wogenscky’s office, particularly on the projects for the competition on the Karlsruhe Theater, the Necker Hospital in Paris, the Culture and Youth House in Annecy and the Tinland House in Saint-Raphael.

Let’s come back to the Casa Mirador. The construction is distant from the ground to enable appreciating the ocean view and the landscape. On the structural side, the main level is supported by a smaller base, creating symmetric cantilevered balconies. This Brutalist style reminder, offering the material all its strength without any flourish, underlines the silence, the landscape and the balance between the forms. A ramp leads to a great space giving access to two terraces opening respectively on the ocean and the countryside. In the centre of this big double height volume, letting the morning and evening sun light penetrate, a spiral staircase accedes to a roof-terrace with a wonderful view on the whole region. Because of its situation and architecture the house can be seen from far away on the coast and from the land. Its architectural concept is close to the one of Casa Rotonda in Penalén Alto, showing a base geometry, a solar orientation and a communication with the site.

Less than two hours from Santiago, far from the city agitation, Victor Gubbins Browne appreciates very much his new house. “We like the Tunquen and Punta de Gallo landscape. We stay here as often as possible, because in this solitude we find our being, dedicating much time to reading, writing, walking and contemplation.”

Photos © Marcos Mendizábal

Product of the month

Discover Armstrong's AXIOM solutions - The new generation of building products.

They are the modern way to create an endless range of attractive and functional ceiling features, quickly and cost-effectively, using engineered aluminium trims, transitions and profiles.

Fully compatible with all Armstrong suspension and Drywall Grid systems, the high quality sections are available as standard in two durable white powder coated finishes, or to order in a full palette of RAL colours, to match and enhance any interior scheme.

Straight or curved, wall-to-wall or floating cloud solutions at your fingertips.

Axiom products are quicker and more cost-effective to install.

The unique Armstrong service offer will support you with initial design recommendations, detailed drawings with a full contractor support package of tailored logistics plus training or on-site guidance.

Our expert team works closely with customers and partners to develop new and exciting products that today provide stylish and imaginative ceiling solutions for many of the world’s landmark buildings.

For more information about Armstrong:

Events in the spotlight

Cityscape Egypt 16 - 19 September 2015 - Cairo International Convention Centre

Cityscape Egypt provides architects and other solution providers with a once-a-year opportunity to connect with Egypt’s leading developers and other real estate professionals under one roof. In a recovering economic climate in which real estate prevails as a major driving force of growth, the exhibition is a primary chance to let prospects and clients know about your services and future plans. Make sure you register now to get FREE entry, saving EGP 50 on your entrance fee and Visitor Showguide.

For more information about Cityscape Egypt:

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SAIE 'Smart house exhibition - BUILDING & ENERGY' Bologna - 14 - 17 October 2015

The goal of reducing a building’s energy consumption through integration between its technological subsystems is the concept behind SAIE Smart House. A relational space devoted to smart building, the initiative focuses on energy efficiency and consolidation, cutting management costs and improving properties in view of a sustainable future.


- PROJECT: Design, rendering, software, hardware, office, 3D, project management, BIM.
- URBAN SPACE: Planning, urban renewal, smart cities, greenery, gardens and parks, intelligent urban networks, pipes and sewers, environmental services, urban and outdoor design, lighting, accessories and services for mobility and the community, emergency services.
- SUSTAINABLE BUILDING: Single-family houses, renovation, certification, energy efficient construction, roofing, high energy efficient envelopes, automatic doors, shutters and gates, drives, internal partitions, raised access floors, suspended ceilings and surface coverings.
- ECO-FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGIES: Materials and products for construction, building structures and systems, seismic structural retrofits, eco-efficient construction technologies, chemicals and consolidation, special foundations for buildings.
- RE-USE: Re-use, social housing, property market, public assets, online marketing services.
- SITE: Tools, equipment and temporary works for construction sites, hoisting and special building work

The figures of succes for SAIE - Growth in 2014 and even greater success in 2015
93.000 visitors, 102.000 square meters, 13 halls, 452 seminars and workshops,
21 official delegations, 2581 speakers, 1408 companies

Opening hours
Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 October : from 9.00 to 18.00
Saturday 17 October : from 9.00 to 17.00

For more information about SAIE 2015:

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Batimat 2 - 6 November 2015 Paris Nord Villepinte

From 2 to 6 November 2015, the building industry's three flagship shows, BATIMAT, INTERCLIMA+ELEC and IDEOBAIN, will come together under one roof, for the very first Mondial du Bâtiment at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center, in Paris, France. It is the world's most comprehensive showcase of solutions, demonstrations and training for all sectors of the building and architecture industry. With more than 2,600 French and international exhibitors and over 350,000 visitors expected, Le Mondial du Bâtiment– the new name for the three shows, BATIMAT, INTERCLIMA+ELEC and IDEOBAIN, which merged in 2013 – continues to be the world's leading building and architecture exhibition, promoting synergies across all trades and positioning innovation at the forefront of the sector.

This new session is organized around three key themes:

The Innovation Awards are a unique and cross-industry event that recognizes not only the show's top innovative products and solutions but also smart applications, and architects who have an innovative approach to energy performance.
For the first time Videos of nominated and winning products will be projected onto giant Innovation Towers in areas of each hall specifically dedicated to innovation.

Each hall will have two new areas dedicated to information and training:
- The Forums will feature a program of talks and exhibitor workshops on a broad range of current issues
- The Demonstration Areas will provide visitors with the opportunity to see, handle and learn more about the latest products

Practical tools and resources are available to boost networking opportunities and interaction between visitors and exhibitors.
These include post-Forum café and networking areas, customized visitor trails, online preparation of visits prior to the show, the opportunity for exhibitors to contact pre-registered visitors, and dedicated social media for setting up business meetings

For more information:

Competitions in the spotlight

Archi-World® Academy 2015 - 2017 - III edition

After the great success of the first two editions 2011/1013 and 2013/2015 with the active participation of 24 world renowned architects as jury members, we are now launching Archi-World® Academy Awards 3.

We have the pleasure to present to you the jury members of the 2015 - 2017 edition: Sergey Romanov, Rudy Ricciotti, JKMM Architects, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Poponcini & Lootens, Labics, Guz Architects, SBA Architects, Grafton Architects, CHIASMUS, Ercan Çoban Architects, Emilio Ambasz and Associates

This third edition of the Archi-World Academy Awards will again involve students in architecture and architecture schools from all over the world and give to 12 winning students a fantastic opportunity to win a prestigious traineeship in top architecture practices which will definetely boost their carreer !

Challenge us with your best projects in a new topic "Responsible Future Architecture".

Registration is open:

More information:

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Third edition of Pool Vision 2016

Archi-Europe, together with Piscine Global, the largest and most important international professional exhibition for the swimming pool and spa sector, will soon be launching the 3rd edition of Pool Vision 2016, the worldwide international competition rewarding the best pool and spa projects coming from all parts of the world.

All information concerning submission criteria, categories, regulation and deadline will soon be published on :

Architecture (im)possible? A Room for Five
(3/09 – 12/10/2015) – Vienna (AT)
Max Fabiani Architect of the Monarchy
(22/10 – 30/11/2015) – Vienna (AT)
Aga Khan Awards 2015 Award for Architecture
(16/10/2015 – 17/01/2016) – Brussels (B)
Groundbreaking Construction – 100 Danish Breakthroughs that Changed the World
(9/10 – 18/12/2015) – Copenhagen (DK)
Young Architects in Africa
(24/09 – 22/11/2015) – Bordeaux (F)
>> read more

Sun Robotics - Six Cities High Rise Challenge
Deadline: 31/10/2015

eVolo 2016 Skyscraper Competition
Deadline: 26/01/2016

Paris Sky Pool
Deadline: 19/11/2015

>> read more

Drawing for Architects
Construction and Design Manual

With contributions by Klaus Jan Philipp, Augusto Romano Burelli, Hans-Dieter Nägelke and Sergei Tchoban

DOM publishers
€ 68.00
220 pages
ISBN 978-3-86922-414-5 (English)
ISBN 978-3-86922-379-7 (German)

>> Read more

Ivan Prtenjak, foreword Tonko Maroevic, Eric Hennaut

UPI 2Mbooks
€ 34.00
374 pages
Bilingual Croat/French
ISBN 9789537703219

>> Read more

Heroic, Concrete Architecture and the New Boston
Mark Pasnik, Chris Grimley, Michael Kub

€ 47,27
336 pages
ISBN 978-1580934244

>> Read more

© 2015 Archi-Europe
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor: Marie-Claire Regniers

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