On August 24, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake devastated thousands of buildings in central Italy. An estimated 3,000 lost their homes, 292 people were killed, and police and firefighters are still searching through the debris.
Italy is now working to rebuild its towns to be more resistant to future earthquakes. And a renowned architect is stepping in to lead the effort.
According to the Guardian, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is consulting renowned architect Renzo Piano for help with the reconstruction.
Renzi recently met with Piano to lay out a national recovery plan, which will take 50 years to implement fully. It will begin with moving displaced residents to camps and shelters, then shift its focus towards changing and strengthening laws that regulate buildings’ levels of earthquake safety.
Piano’s help because Piano is simply one of the best architects in the world — in 1998, he won the Pritzker Prize, often considered the Nobel Prize of architecture. He is known for his geometric, high-tech designs, which are often characterised by open layouts and strong lines. Some of Piano’s most notable works include towers like the The New York Times Building
in Manhattan, the Centre Georges Pompidou
in Paris, and The Shard
, the tallest skyscraper in the European Union.
The architect has previously worked with UNESCO on disaster recovery and prevention, and has designed earthquake-safe buildings in Japan and California as well. He’ll draw on that experience in this new undertaking.
“We have to act quickly, with the utmost urgency,” Piano told The Guardian. “Anti-seismic requirements must be inserted in the laws of the country to make our homes safe, just as it’s compulsory for a car to have brakes that work.”
Piano is already calling for stricter building regulations and ways to protect the country’s historic architecture against future disasters.