Bigo and Piazza delle Feste

Renzo Piano

Porto Antico

Internationally known architect and Pritzker prize-winner Renzo Piano was born in Genoa. Piano was responsible for the master plan as well as specific areas for the redevelopment of the area of the old port (or the Porto Antico), which had suffered bomb damage during World War II and was in a shabby state. It became the focus of redevelopment as a way of marking the five hundredth anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America--as part of the Columbus International Exhibition in 1992. Piano transformed the wharves into a huge tourist attraction by converting warehouses into shops, restaurants, and museums. The wharf area was developed with walkways and plazas.


The word "bigo" refers to a shipyard crane. Copying a ship's crane, Piano wants to remind viewers of the loading cranes on decks of cargo ships in the past. Here it's a branched cluster of white arms and cables joined at a small podium in the water of the port. The longest of the poles on the quay side supports an elevator with a turning glass enclosure.
This matrix of poles is also linked to a kind of tent roof membrane covering the adjacent wharf. This recreation area serves for various events--concerts, theatrical performances and sometimes as a skating rink.

The long pole supporting the lift with the revolving glass cabin.

This lift rises to a height of 40 meters and provides panoramic views of the city and harbor.

La Bolla and the Aquarium

The aquarium is a linear structure designed as if it were containers on a cargo ship. La Bolla (or the Bubble) is a huge glass sphere, now a greenhouse for plants typical of a rain forest. It is on a floating platform beside the aquarium.

See also Shingu's untitled sails/kites along the waterfront.

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© 2008 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.