Design + Architecture

The Visionaries

by Suzanne Wales

RENZO PIANO

The vision: Lyrical melding of architecture, craftsmanship, and technology—and a particularly imaginative use of light

Claim to fame: Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome

One would think that a building dubbed Gli Scarafaggi (the cockroaches) might be off-putting, but Renzo Piano's 2002 Parco della Musica in northern Rome has proved to be one of the city's more successful forays into modern architecture. This is the local hero's most high-profile project in his homeland, winning over a city renowned for its skepticism of contemporary architecture (Romans, after all, prefer their buildings secondhand) with his abundant use of local materials (red brick walls, travertine floors) and popular incorporation of an outdoor Roman theater. By the way, its nickname arises from the complex's beetle-shaped trio of auditoriums as opposed to any unwelcome visitors in the balcony seats.

Auditorium Parco della Musica

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