Imagination is the artistic component making the difference between good architecture and great architecture. Architects who are able to blend engineering with artistic imagination become most notable. Massimiliano Fuksas is such an architect.
Born in 1944 in Rome, Italy, this Italian architect of Lithuanian heritage never had aspirations to become an architect as a child. Instead, he wanted to be a poet or a painter. Nevertheless, as fate and genius would have it, he chose architecture as the medium for expressing himself.
Fuksas was able to comfortably combine art with architecture, and express himself through design. He opened his first business two years before graduating with a degree in architecture from Sapienza University in Rome. Shortly thereafter, he began to design the structures for which he is famous; futuristic buildings that resemble large, contemporary works of art (which they essentially are). Buildings that incorporate curves, steel frames, and acres of glass.
Although his signature style is a bit hard to define, the Centro Congressi Italia Building comes closest to representing the works of Fuksas. Scheduled to be completed in 2009, this structure will have a glass structure resembling a cloud perched above a conference hall housed within a thirty meter high steel and glass structure.
The Zenith Music Hall in Strasbourg is another building revealing his style of hosting art within art, and in this case, blending different mediums. Completed in 2005, the large, almost tent-like orange colored building not only plays host to art in the form of music performed on the inside, but at night, it becomes somewhat of a giant, orange lantern illuminated from the interior. In the dark of the night, the orange walls act as billboards in displaying text or video of the performances inside.
Other buildings Fuksas has designed or has in the works include: the Ferrari Research Center, the Milan Trade Fair Complex, the Bao'an International Airport at Shenzhen, China, and the Armani Ginza tower in Tokyo, Japan.
Not confined to designing and building, Fuksas also enjoys imparting his philosophies and ideas about architecture while teaching as a visiting professor at various universities in Europe. An idea he has proposed is that of “sublime chaos” whereby one works with chaos rather than imposing order.
Massimiliano Fuksas has received several honorary fellowships and numerous awards including the prestigious French Grand Prix d'Architecture, the 2007 Europark award, the Award of Excellence for the new Trade Fair and Exhibition Centre in Milan, Italy by the Urban Land Institute, and the 2005 National Award for Architecture for the new Headquarters of Ferrari, Maranello, Italy by Members of the Architecture Academy in Paris.