Renzo Piano: “Find a Solution Quickly”

The architect of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Renzo Piano, is in town for a few days to work on the expansion of the Kimbell in Fort Worth. I caught him on the phone this morning, and though he was dogged by a guy wielding a leaf blower, making it difficult to hear him at times, I could tell that he’s pissed. Or what passes for pissed when it comes to Piano. He’s a soft-spoken, gentle fellow. That said, he can’t understand what the heck is happening here in Dallas. Why hasn’t a solution been implemented yet? Why is Museum Tower still cooking the Nasher? In Piano’s own words:

“They just have to find a solution very quickly. The trouble is getting more and more serious, and those people don’t do any action. I don’t know why. … It is already now more than nine months. Since then, only discussion, and nobody understands how bad what is happening for the museum and for the garden. Yesterday I went around, and you can see, even if you are not a botanist, you can see the damage of the double radiation on the trees and the grass. It is slowly killing the garden. I don’t understand how you can do that. I don’t understand what the city is doing, by the way. …

“It is very urgent. They have to move fast. In two months, it will be August, and August will be killing. There is a solution. We all know there is a solution. They have to put a mesh on that building [Musuem Tower], on the south facade. That is for sure. And before August, what they can do is hang some banners, something temporary. This is something that is quite usual. We do it all the time. But of course they try not to do that — I don’t know why. Probably because if they do that, they accept the responsibility.

“By the way, I don’t understand how they go without solving the problem. They will never sell the flats. Are you ready to buy a flat where you can enjoy life, knowing that you are making all this trouble to the museum? Of course it’s ridiculous. How can you live happily in a flat when you see that you are killing the museum? The entire thing is absurd. It is completely absurd. …

“I don’t know what the mediation is going to do. When you have somebody who is so clearly the victim, what do you have to mediate? [laughs] Even the child in the street will understand that one is the victim and one is the aggressor. It is so evident.”


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  • Long Memory

    Speaking of the tower controversy heating up … of course he’s right. I just wonder how much it’s gonna cost Dallas County taxpayers to pay the tower owners to fix the thing. That’s always the answer, right? The commercial interests get off Scot-free?

  • downtown_worker

    Too bad that hail storm destroyed so many cars in Lakewood but didn’t touch the Museum Tower.

  • dkv

    @Long Memory – unfortunately Dallas County Taxpayers are essentially the tower owners, or at least the Police and Fire Pension fund is.

  • Fake Don LaFontaine

    I can’t decide which Renzo Piano voiceover I like better: Carlton the Doorman or Garfield the Cat.

  • JS

    “August will be killing.” Truer words have never been spoken!

  • mc

    This is a great illustration of a European mind vs. an American mind. The European mind says ‘These are incredibly rich people so why don’t they just fix the problem?’ The American mind says “I’m waiting around for someone to force the other guy – or the city – to pay. Not my problem.” The European says “Nobody will live in an apt when they know they are hurting the museum.” The American says “What? There is a museum there?”

  • Long Memory

    Thanks for the reminder, dkv.

  • annie

    i second what MC said…. well said.

  • RAB

    Dear mc:

    Please move to Europe.

  • ket

    dkv: I sometimes wonder if the city may help more if it was one of the local rich developers who owned the propoerty. A soft threat to sue since the plans were approved (not a winnable suit) and the city offers to help out to avoid legal fees. I doubt the pension funds would be willing to exert the same pressure.

  • mynameisbill

    That’d probably be a bitchin’ place to put a solar panel. Gotta think green, fam.

  • Neal

    @Mynameisbill: Or a giant parabolic mirror pointed back at the tower.

  • outsider

    towers not killing the grass its all the party’s they have in the museum garden

  • towski

    @Outsider – they’ve probably considered that.