Massimiliano Fuksas

Architect (1944)

Winner of the Grand Prix d’Architecture in 1999, the Italian architect of Lithuanian extraction, Massimiliano Fuksas (born in Rome in 1944) has been attracting commissions from all over the world. From Hong Kong to Frankfurt, and from New York to Marseille his works impose themselves through their radicalism, the power of their expressiveness, and their diversity. Massimiliano Fuksas came late to architecture, having previously devoted himself to the art of painting, with which, to this day, he still has a special and “matricial” relation, which inspires the preparation of his projects. In 1967, two years before he obtained his architect’s degree at La Sapienza University, Fuksas created his first agency in Rome, and then opened a second one in Paris in 1989. The first programmes which then interested him were gymnasia and cemeteries: the violently tipped neo-classical façade of the Paliano Gymnasium (1979-1985), and the abandoned objects in a “house” in the Castellana Cemetery (1985-1993) rejected all manner of academicism and redefined the actual procedures of design. With the Ilot Candie-Saint Bernard in Paris (1987-1996), one of his first constructions in France, Fuksas erected a sweeping wave of zinc which unified roofs and façades in one and the same thrust. The sculptural power of his constructions, resulting from the tension between contradictory forces and masses, was also expressed in the Médiathèque de Rezé (1987-1991) and the Niaux Cave, in the Ariège region of southwest France (1988-1993), where a monumental sculpture structure made of Corten steel soars upward from the entrance to the prehistoric site. By using the contradictions in every context, Fuksas sees his buildings like “geographies” with a plasticity which provides structure: the dynamic organization of the volumes, the interplay of connecting systems, and the work on void, light and interstices all form a series of spatial sequences comparable to a succession of landscapes (for example in the Exhibition Grounds of the Fair of Milan, 2002-2005). With the contribution of his wife, Doriana Fuksas, the architect develops spectacular colourful strips, railings and stairways which interconnect all the levels and offer visitors mobile “horizons”: the Emporio Armani shops in Hong Kong (2001-2002) and New York (2007-2009), the MyZeil Shopping Mall in Frankfurt-am-Main (2002-2009), and the new EUR Conference Centre in Rome (1998-2013) with its central volume suspended like a cloud, thus increase the number of spatial events. Ever seeking experiments, Fuksas’ architecture combines high-tech virtuosity with the massive and telluric dimension of the monolith, challenging proven constructive methods and devising places with emotion.

Massimiliano Fuksas was the curator of the 2000 Venice International Biennale. In 2012 he delivered the Lycée hotelier Georges Frêche in Montpellier, as well as a public building in Tbilisi, in Georgia, surmounted by 11 gigantic concrete petals. He is currently building one of the world’s largest airports at Shenzhen, in China.

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