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The controversial building looks like it’s turned inside out; its brightly coloured piping and open bearing structure visible at street level. This original and ingenious way of working, at once industrial and artistic, became his trademark.
Piano went on (in collaboration with different engineers) to create the Biosphere in the Old Port of Genova, a botanical garden floating, like a glass bubble, on the docks and the Agnelli art museum in Torino, perched atop the Fiat factory.
More recently he designed the undulating, hillside-inspired Paul Klee Center in the Swiss capital of Bern and the more classic skyscraper of The New York Times in New York.
In 2012, in London, he built the controversial Shard, a ‘sharp and light presence in the urban panorama’ in Piano’s own words, to some an eyesore that ‘slashed the face of London forever’.
But in 2013, he once again drew up plans for a new Italian project: the MUSE in Trento, a stone’s throw away from Lake Garda. Much like our partner Vivere Suites and Rooms, it’s a structure that complements the region’s mountaneous landscape, each in its own way.
While the modernist lines of Vivere act as a frame that allow nature in and heighten the contrast, its low-rise structure enhancing the grandeur of the mountains and opening up the scenery, MUSE, with its five floors and sloping surfaces mimics the surrounding mountainous shapes.
Piano used highly efficient and sustainable, renewable sources for this museum of Natural History, staying true to the institution’s preservation mission focused on Alpine fauna.
Like his signature projects, glass is the protagonist in this design, which also features a greenhouse, reminiscent of Piano’s Biosphere in Bologna, but then peaked rather than curved. And instead of using bright piping, as with the Centre Pompidou, MUSE’s outer structure is detailed with fine wood.
Going from modern relaxation close to both the mountains and Lake Garda, to getting a taste of the region’s natural history, showcased in an example of outstanding architecture by a contemporary (and controversial) Italian genius is an easy feat around these parts. Just one hour’s drive apart, Vivere Suites and Rooms takes care of the former, and Renzo Piano’s MUSE takes care of the latter.