News and Features

Architect Renzo Piano Visits His Baby, The Kimbell’s Piano Pavilion

Italian architect Renzo Piano is in Fort Worth today, visiting his newest creation: the Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum.

The proud papa was pleased with what he saw.

“As an architect you make kids,” Piano said earlier today. “Buildings are like kids. You have to be happy to let them go.”

Architect Renzo Piano tosses a Frisbee with Eric Lee, Kimbell Art Museum director. (Photo: Dane Walters)

Click image to enlarge: Architect Renzo Piano tosses a Frisbee with Eric Lee, Kimbell Art Museum director. (Photos: Dane Walters)

But Piano also said parents want to make sure their kids are happy. So he expects to return to Fort Worth from time to time.

Piano will talk about the Piano Pavilion tonight at 7 with Jerome Weeks of KERA and Art&Seek. at the Will Rogers Memorial Center Auditorium in Fort Worth. Admission is free. Doors open at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, Piano will head to Dallas to visit another of his creations – the Nasher Sculpture Center, which is in the middle of a battle with the neighboring Museum Tower. Nasher officials say that glare from the Museum Tower is harming its garden and galleries. Piano told KERA that he’s confident that the problem will be solved.

A grand opening celebration for the Piano Pavilion is scheduled for Nov. 27. Previews for Kimbell members start Friday.

The building provides much-needed space for the Kimbell. The expansion includes more room for the Kimbell to display its collection, plus classrooms and a theater.

The Kimbell says that Piano’s colonnaded pavilion, surrounded by elms and red oaks, “stands as an expression of simplicity — glass, concrete and wood.” It’s near the museum’s home, designed by Louis Kahn in 1972.

There’s room for both the new building and the original building, Piano said.

“You can’t redo a masterpiece,” Piano said. “You have to be respectful of what’s already there and do what Kahn did, which was be true to himself. So we have to be true to ourselves so these buildings have a dialogue with each other. They tell a different story.”

He doesn’t want to try to outshine the Kahn building. Instead, he hopes his pavilion shows off more of the Kimbell collection.

Visitors will still be able to enjoy the lawn between the buildings – it’s a place for people to relax, have picnics or throw Frisbees.

Learn more about the Piano Pavilion

KERA’s Jerome Weeks takes a look inside the new Piano Pavilion at Art&Seek.

On Monday’s Think, Piano joined KERA’s Krys Boyd to talk about his Fort Worth creation. Listen to the podcast of the conversation that aired Monday.

If you want to see more, check out these two Youtube videos: