Watch Renzo Piano talk about reinventing the shopping mall in a San Francisco suburb

Architecture West
Inside RPBW's Bishop's Ranch project. (RPBW)

Inside RPBW’s Bishop’s Ranch project. (RPBW)

Last summer, AN reported on Renzo Piano’s City Center at Bishop Ranch, the architect’s re-invention of the typical shopping center, mixing walkability, culture (including an integrated performance stage), community (including a public “piazza” space”) and commerce. In a new short film about the project, Piano spoke about keeping people outside, creating open and transparent storefronts, making a building that will “practically fly above the ground.”

The project, located in San Ramon, a remote eastern suburb of San Francisco, centers around the plaza, which is surrounded by six raised glass pavilions. Piano explained how he is creating a suburban building that is nonetheless unpredictable, natural and “very California.”

“After a while you hear a little bell ringing,” explained Piano, of his design process epiphany. “This is not a shopping mall. It’s something else.”

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