Renzo Piano Designs: The Shard
Set to be opened in February of 2013 and finished only last year, The Shard is one of Piano’s most recent projects. Setting the record as the tallest building in the European Union, the Shard was named after critics suggested that it clashed too much with the current London skyline and resembled a “shard of glass” in the heart of the city. Once it opens, the building will offer office and retail spaces, a hotel, luxury residences, top-notch restaurants, a five-story public viewing gallery, and a spa.
Kansai International Airport
Home to the longest airport concourse in the world and situated on a sinking, artificial island, the Kansai International Airport is one of Piano’s more interesting and expensive designs if you take into account the construction of the man-made islands that keep the airport afloat.
The main terminal was designed by Renzo Piano with Japanese architect Noriaki Okabe to promote airflow throughout the concourse as well as provide glass walls that clearly display nearly every aspect of the airport’s operation.