Academy of Sciences architect visits his work

September 25, 2008 7:29:37 PM PDT
Thursday was a day for finishing touches at the California Academy of Sciences. There was continuous motion, from cleaning windows to setting tables for the grand gala.

But on the already famous living roof was a man who spent the day above it all.

"When you come back and see these sketches become real, it is a great miracle," Renzo Piano said.

For Piano, one sketch began all the inspiration. He is the mastermind, the Italian architect who envisioned the museum, and then, with his staff, drew 10,000 sketches down to each nut and bolt.

"You need to do that because if you don't create every nut and bolt, you get in trouble," Piano said.

When talking nuts and bolts, the rain forest is a prime example of the careful planning necessary. The rain forest was a wonderful concept, but it had practical problems, like how to keep the windows from fogging up in the tropical climate.

Paino's elegant solution was a network of air conditioned, de-humidifying blowers.

Visitors will see such touches throughout the museum, like the solar panels integrated into the building structure.

But Piano is quick to point out that he is not a genius in multiple scientific disciplines.

"The point is you don't become an expert," he said. "You need experts; the work of the architect is made by teamwork."

Whatever and whomever Piano tapped, the place about science has become a three-dimensional and intellectual work of art that far exceeds the sum of its parts, of which any would be exceptional.

Watch the ABC7 special, Under the Living Roof, Friday at 9 p.m.

FULL COVERAGE: Stories from the ABC7 Academy of Sciences special


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