Mario Cucinella

Mario Cucinella, Hon FAIA, Int. Fellow RIBA

Italian architect Mario Cucinella is amongst the most important architects practicing in Europe today with multiple award-winning international design projects. Not only is Cucinella’s work lauded for design excellence but he is an undisputed global leader in sustainable practices ranging from individual residences to urban master plans.

The impact and significance of his work – both environmental and social – as an architect, educator and in service have been recognized world-wide and most recently with Honorary Fellowship by the American Institute of Architects (2017) and by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) who bestowed upon him their prestigious International Fellowship (2016).

A winner of numerous competitions, he has built transformational work in civic, commercial, educational, health care, residential and urban design in Italy as well as in Algeria, China, Ghana, Palestine and other locations. Holistic design excellence, sustainable building and the rational use of energy, are the focus of Cucinella’s practice and research.

His work is driven by the positive long-term impact that each building can have on the regeneration of the surrounding environment - natural, socio-economic and urban. Working together with clients and communities, Cucinella always encourages the adoption of a design language capable of expressing the beauty, richness and resources of local cultures.

Spanning 30 years of practice, Cucinella’s extraordinary work sits in the foreground of a very formative education and internship period. Graduating with a degree in architecture from the University of Genoa in 1986 he was mentored by Professor and Architect Giancarlo De Carlo (RIBA Royal Gold Medal 1993). From 1987 to 1992 he worked with world-reknowned Renzo Piano (Pritzker Prize 1998) in the Renzo Piano Building Workshop first in Genoa and then Paris. He founded Mario Cucinella Architects (MCA) in Paris in 1992 and later in Bologna in 1999 where he continues to operate today with a staff of 35 architects, engineers and sustainability experts.

Service is an integral part of Cucinella’s life and work. In 2012, he founded Building Green Futures (BGF), a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable development through green architecture and urban regeneration. The mission of BGF is to create built environments that incorporate clean technologies and local knowledge for better living conditions and sustainable access to natural resources in developing and least developed countries. The flagship project of Building Green Futures is the Kuwait School in Gaza, developed in partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Further to this, since 2014, Cucinella has worked with Architect and ‘Italian Senator for life’ Renzo Piano on the G124 project for the recovery of the suburbs in Italy. He is currently a Director of the Scientific Committee of PLEA (Passive and Low Energy Architecture).

Cucinella’s knowledge and experience is sought after internationally. He has appointments in several academic institutions such as the Faculty of Architecture in Ferrara, Italy, The University of Nottingham, UK, ‘Guest Professor in Emerging Technologies’ at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, ‘Guest Professor of Architecture’ at the Faculty Federico II in Naples, Italy and elsewhere. Cucinella also delivers high profile lectures on a very regular basis in countries all over the world.

In search of high impact and needed model for educating the leaders of tomorrow, in 2015, Cucinella founded SOS – the School of Sustainability – a multi-disciplinary post-graduate program in Bologna. SOS is an integrated education, practice and research experience intended to build a culture of sustainability design methods, practices through dialogue and sharing a common vision of the future. SOS serves as a nexus for the exchange of knowledge for the building industry, the community and the profession.