A talk with Luca Molinari



The jury president of Archmarathon – the architecture symposium that will get MADE expo attendees thinking – shares his perspective on the latest inspiring ideas from the world of architecture. And on the need for trade fairs to build culture.

A talk with Luca Molinari

“I can’t wait to be totally taken aback. I think all of us in the business are in dire need of something that will blow us away.” Luca Molinari, architect, critic and historian, will be chairing the jury of ARCHMARATHON, the leading international architecture event that has attracted 42 design practices from all over the world. Contenders in this by-invitation only event will unveil the plans that earned them a spot on the ARCHMARATHON short-list during MADE expo, from 8 to 10 March 2017. This novel format is the perfect forum for bringing together all of the players in the architecture and building construction market. It was created to foster the sharing of ideas, know-how and relationships, and offer a non-mainstream perspective on future scenarios"

What international project has caught your eye lately?

"I just got back from Abu Dhabi and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in Muslim communities. I was very impressed by a design for a rural training centre in Gaibandah (Bangladesh) inspired by one of the country’s most ancient urban sites, delivering a fascinating new take on space, matter and geometries. One of the winners was a red brick mosque in Dhaka designed by a woman, Marina Tabassum. It’s a warm and inspiring construction. It blends weighty Islamic tradition with absolute modernity. Designs that speak to communities are truly powerful. It is interesting that both projects come from a country currently experiencing such a dramatic period"


MADE expo is Italy’s number one building and architecture show because it brings everyone together: designers, builders and users of the end product. What are you expecting this edition to deliver?

"I’m expecting insights into the world to come. MADE expo has always had a strong focus on sharing knowledge, and invests heavily in meetings, exhibitions and conferences. It delivers a top-notch cultural experience. The decision to open the last day to the public reflects a desire to give Italians a gateway into a world that is often viewed as complex and impenetrable. It’s a far-sighted decision and an excellent way to raise awareness in our local communities. Culture needs to be at the heart of public debate and people need tools to better understand their environment. Without culture there can be no research and industry will not move forward without research. If industry does not thrive the economy has no future, a prospect that deeply concerns us all"


You feel very strongly about “disaster resistant architecture” as a complex and extensively  studied concept. What role should architects play? What is the most challenging part of rethinking cities from the architectural standpoint?

"Architects are rapidly turning into mediators. They are a bridge between advanced and highly specialised technical expertise and the awareness that architecture always has a major impact on communities. A building will exist for generations. Going forward we will be building less and differently. I believe architects need clarity of vision in a world where blandness abounds, along with a signature “style” that is uniquely their own. But they must also listen to the world around them and to what people want. Architecture only exists because people exist. Unless we learn to listen and communicate we will never learn our craft. The early 20th century Italian architect Edoardo Persico, paraphrasing the Bible, said that architecture is the “substance of things hoped for”. I also think that architecture is only meaningful if it offers a future"

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