Architect Massimiliano Fuksas: An architect must forget his works

Important | 2022-04-05

“Architecture is an art of forgetting. If you think a lot about what you have already created, you will always create the same thing,” said world-renowned architect Massimiliano Fuksas, who gave an online lecture organised by the Kaunas University of Technology Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

Italian-Lithuanian architect Massimiliano Fuksas, together with his partner Doriana Fuksas, have been representing Studio Fuksas for 40 years. Together they created over 600 different architectural, urban and design projects around the world.

At the beginning of the lecture, organised by the KTU Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture Fuksas shared with the audience the exciting news about finally acquiring a Lithuanian passport.

“This is my project of Lithuanian passport,” said Fuksas, while displaying the photo from Lithuanian Embassy in Rome on the screen, “we are very proud to have achieved this.”

During the lecture, the world-renowned architect of Lithuanian heritage introduced his projects emphasising not only the importance of paying attention to the environment but also the development of various algorithms and using new technologies to achieve the desired forms and shapes.

After the lecture, the architect participated in a discussion with the members of the academic community of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and architecture: Gintaras Balčytis, the winner of the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize, Andrius Jurelionis, the Dean of the Faculty, and Ingrida Povilaitienė, a lecturer and an architect.

The lecture and discussion can be found online:

In the interview below, some of the most interesting questions and answers from the meeting with Massimiliano Fuksas are presented.

What is your creative path? Do you usually start with a form or function of a building?

I’m trying to figure it out, but I don’t know the answer yet. However, every time I try to forget about the process and look at it creatively. Sometimes, I don’t sleep at night trying to realise what the project I’m working on should look like. The idea comes and develops as if in a dream. I don’t like when the creative process is based on objects and templates visible on social networks. In architecture, you must take risks and do what seems impossible, new and then defend your ideas against your customers.

How can architecture help combat climate change and promote healthier living?

Architects can really create a better life for others. We want cities to be more peaceful, and greener and to see blue skies without smog. We are now working in Saudi Arabia thinking about applying solar energy, as well as looking at what materials we use in our projects. That is where we should start – from materials.

What distinguishes good architecture and what is most important to you?

Life, life and life. This is the most important thing for us – architecture must be alive. There has to be space, water and everything else to encourage being in the building. We work extensively, almost all over the world, and we see that light is also very important. Especially in the facilities like airports in the tropics. Moreover, light is very different everywhere.

How architects’ artistic uniqueness and technical teamwork can be balanced?

I’m sure technology can’t be deified too much – it is just a tool we use. As with a car: you know how to operate it, but you don’t have to know all the principles of its engine. I understand that programs have different algorithms and systems that allow you to play with shapes to see what you can do with them. Let’s not forget that projects are created by architects, and engineers are there to help solve problems and emerging challenges and tasks. They already use other technologies.

What is the work of an architect?

I don’t want to tell young people that architecture is a very hard job that requires a lot of work with clients and doing other things they don’t always want to do. I would say that an architect’s life consists of 50 per cent artistic creation and 50 per cent of inevitable but necessary works.

Architects are researchers, how important do you think it is to travel, observe and see the world? How did you manage to work during the pandemic?

I have spent my whole life travelling. However, for the last couple of years, I had to work from home more often. It wasn’t very hard, but I prefer live meetings. Although I still feel that I am with you, being together physically is more pleasant for me.

How do you think cities will change after the pandemic?

We see that our homes need to be more flexible so that we can adjust them to work or study from home when needed and reform them back. I think the need for such spaces and homes will only grow and this will need to be considered more often in newly built houses.

Could you recommend what an architect should read or be interested in?

They should be watching something from other areas. Architects should watch movies and look for inspiration there. I recommend reading Truffaut’s interview with Alfred Hitchcock and watching his films, to get into editing mastery.

Why are so many new exciting projects being developed in China now?

If you want to build something new and big, then basically yes, it’s done in China. If you want to do smaller, but no less impressive, these projects are taking place in Europe. However, China can do very large and fast projects, although it still depends on the capabilities and needs of the client.

Would you like to demolish or rebuild any of your projects?

The past is the past. Architecture is also an art to forget. If you think a lot about what you have already created, it will always remain the same. You need to forget your work and create something new, always. Every day has to be something different for you and that is how new things are created.


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