© Fondazione Renzo Piano; Ph: Stefano Goldberg - Publifoto Genova
In the fall of 1996 Renzo and Milly took part in the ceremony of rebuilding the Ise Grand Shrine in Japan.
By Shinto tradition, every twenty years this type of shrine is demolished and rebuilt identically on land adjacent to the old site, with the aim of transferring the knowledge of the construction techniques and craftsmanship from one generation to the next. During its reconstruction there are three generations: the one that teaches because it has turned 60, the generation of 40 to 60 who, having learned, build the new shrine according to the rules of the craft, and the 20-year-olds who watch and learn.
It was a particularly significant experience for Renzo who began to reflect on how to convey his professional experience to young people. Hence the idea of doing so through a foundation, by accepting students into the “workshop” and so introducing them to the practice of the craft.
The second fundamental reason leading to the birth of the Renzo Piano Foundation was the awareness of how important it had become to preserve and allow access to the project documents accumulated over forty years’ work and scattered in various deposits and garages between Genoa and Paris.
Around the year 2000, on the occasion of two major exhibitions in Berlin and Paris, he realized the need to create an ordered, properly organized archive. A place of memory in which to share the history of his many projects, making it accessible to all young architects and lovers of architecture.
In 2004, the Renzo Piano Foundation was established in Genoa, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the architectural profession by proposing study and research activities in the field of architecture.
The Renzo Piano Foundation’s program includes activities dedicated to the Preservation and Protection of the archive, Training and Communication.
The Renzo Piano Foundation obtained legal recognition from the Prefecture of Genoa through its enrolment in the Register of Legal Entities on 2004 (Registro Persone Giuridiche Prefettura Genova del 28/05/2004 al n. 22 – pagg. 2 e 23).