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Mario Cucinella


"Creativity is an unknown place, it is a great resource but if it remains an end in itself, it becomes an extravagance. Empathy is the element that unites people and the environment. Creative empathy is creativity that becomes useful".

Internationally famed architect, he tied many of his projects to the idea of listening to the natural and social environment. His architecture is sustainable and acts as a re-design, as an overcoming of reality. In China he built a large building that cuts down 30% of carbon emissions. In Italy he has created the prototype of a 100 square meter house which costs 100,000 euros, and he has made the project for a new company headquarters designed around a 200 meter table, redesigning not only space, but also communication flows and decisional processes. 


Mario Cucinella was born in Italy in 1960. After graduating from the Genoa faculty of Architecture in 1987, he worked at Renzo Piano’s studio, first in Genoa, then in Paris. In 1992, with his partner Elizabeth Francis, he founded the Mario Cucinella Architects studio in Paris. In 1999, the studio also opened in Bologna, which is the site where he moved definitely some time later. Since his first steps, Cucinella has collected numerous important achievements in competitions and international awards. His sphere of action is very wide, ranging from residential and public architecture to industrial design projects, from climate control strategies to grand plans for urban settlement. In a constant and transversal way, he has cultivated a specific interest for environmental planning and sustainability in architecture. It is not by chance that his studio’s projects lean towards the ideal of architectural quality that integrates sustainability, behavioural ethics and a positive social impact. The studio consists of architects and engineers from different countries and collaborates intensely with universities. Cucinella is a Visiting Professor at the University of Nottingham and he regularly holds conferences in Italy and abroad. During a seminar with the emblematic name of ‘More with Less’, he stated that the search for architectural beauty goes hand in hand with the environmental sustainability of buildings. Three projects finished by the studio in 2008 are an eloquent demonstration of this. The new site for the Ferrara Regional Agency for the Environment has an extraordinary efficiency of energy and light consumption, also thanks to the use of the so-called fifth wall (the roof), on which a multitude of natural light carriers is elevated. The Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies in Bejing, whose broken shape is reminiscent of a lantern or a traditional Chinese wind screen, thanks to the roof gardens which face south and to the over 1000 square meters of photovoltaic panels, acts as a leaf that captures solar energy. The 100k house project has raised interest also beyond the realm of architects. Not only is it a lovely contemporary building of 100 square meters: it is a bioclimatic machine that, thanks to its integrated photovoltaic elements, capturing surfaces, interior air circulation and passive strategies, stands at zero CO2 emissions. It has been inserted in a block scheme of modular homes that allow for the freedom of projects, aspirations, and different styles of living.  



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