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Who is Renzo Piano?

"Depending on your point of view," says Slate, "Piano is either the most corporate avant-garde architect in the world or the most avant-garde corporate one." California Academy of Sciences executive director Patrick Kociolek leans toward the latter, indulging in a little hero worship: "Most of the architects we interviewed arrived with minions and models and fully developed ideas of what they thought our building, and the Academy, should be. But one architect, Renzo Piano, stood out. Piano came by himself, with only a sketchpad and a green felt-tip pen. Instead of explaining his design for the new Academy, Piano simply asked what the Academy's ethic was. ... We immediately knew Piano was our architect." Epic. [Slate]