Renzo Pia - winner of the Pritzker Prize, 1998 - is an architect whose work seems increasingly relevant to our times. As Peter Buchanan has shown in the first three volumes of Pia's complete works, he follows fashions of form or theory, r is he limited to a personal idiom. Instead he concerns himself with the specifics and potential of a particular situation and moment, meeting the challenges of the programme, pushing the limits of techlogy, but always responding sensitively to the topography or urban fabric of the building's site. This fourth volume on Renzo Pia provides a study of the architect's working method, in particular his regard for context. Peter Buchanan's introductory essay is followed by a presentation of his projects from 1989 to 2000 - which range from urban works such as the Postdamer Platz masterplan, a science museum in Amsterdam and high-rise towers in Rotterdam and Sydney, to the acclaimed Beyeler Foundation and the Jean Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia. All projects are illustrated comprehensively, featuring colour photography of the buildings, their contexts and their detailing, as well as line drawings and sketches. The Renzo Pia Building Workshop is characterised by its sensitivity to site and local tradition as well as by its combination of traditional materials and techniques with those from the cutting edge of techlogy.
Peter Buchanan was formerly Deputy Editor of the Architectural Review and is now a freelance writer, lecturer and critic as well as an architect.