While pursuing my research in Rome, I met Renzo Piano who suggested that we should collaborate on a few projects together, in particular on the transformation of a double bay on the Adriatic, near Trieste. This abandoned quarry was to be transformed into a site for a hotel and a swimming area. I proposed taking advantage of the subtle tide cycle present in the north Adriatic by creating a succession of pools in which the levels would fluctuate with the ebb and flow of the surf. A constructed landscape that varies continually, like a metaphor of the biological cycle.
During our years of collaboration, there was continual alternation between the drawing of vast territories and the making of prototypes, small completed projects like a garden on the rue de Meaux in Paris, a patio in Naples, or another garden for a museum in Newport, California. I used these projects to experiment with devices we conceived of developing for use on large territories (density, growth management...). I considered, in following, the transformation (a transformation usually far in the future or hypothetical or uncertain) of large sites brought about by the “measure” of these experiences with the small, and with the same desire, from one scale to the next, of “reality” and “architecture”.
I am, like us all, amazed and transformed by the mastery of process Renzo Piano demonstrates through his projects. Alternation of observations, intuitions, and the apparatus of empirical verification, the projects develop in the image of the experimental method of Claude Bernard. The result of this process is sometimes a genuine invention.