Palermo based 48-year-old architect Giovanni Lucentini owns a little 7 square meter home studio that has earned international dimension in the last few years with projects in Russia, Ghana, Albania and Switzerland. Awarded 4 times with the World Architecture Community Award, he has recently integrated a selection of architects that will represent the Made in Italy architecture in the world.

Simplicity and convertibility are dear concepts to Lucentini, who regards cities as ever-changing dynamic places that must be adaptable to the all circumstances. Inspired by the metabolist architects and designers from the 1960’s, Giovanni believes that architects and architecture will act as a “driving force” towards territorial transformation, which will be determined by the cities different uses.

Featuring five selected projects at City of Future®, the Italian architect took some time to answer our questions via e-mail. Read below the full interview:

CoF: How do you think the city or cities of the future will/should be like?

GL: I think that the city of the future must be prepared to be more dynamic and ever-changing. I think that the “unfinished” architectures will have greater value then and will act as a driving force to produce the territorial transformation actions.

For example, the ease of movement of persons will lead to foresee the possibility of building some areas in cities for the nomadic populations, that could produce similar effects to those that the metabolist architects have thought about.

But above all, the local governments will still have to take care to make rapid transformations of infrastructure and services possible. I think winning cities will be those that will be able to find a way to renew their structural skeleton. But also the cities that will be able to intercept the cultural flows and innovate its image.

Also I imagine a city where leisure time will be more and more a commercial product of living, of social actions that create life.

CoF: How can your projects contribute to make cities (of today and tomorrow) better places to live in?

GL: In my projects I have always tried to reach a goal: the simplicity of the architecture design. For me is a pressing need to communicate the meaning that I plan to give to things.

I think the contribution that I want to give to architecture is to imagine many small objects that transform the perception and the use of sites.

Floating Homes by Giovanni Lucentini Studio

In this sense I think I have always thought of my work as low cost, built with reusable materials or that can be continuously integrated and developed. My houseboats – Floating Homes and Floating Homes 2 – for example, were designed to be transported on a truck and to be disassembled and then reassembled in another place. This is my way of thinking a social contribution and an improvement of life in a town created from my architecture.

I think that architecture has the task of bringing a transformation to society starting from the use of the city.

CoF: What should be the role of architects in reinventing cities, making them smarter and more sustainable?

GL: An architect will be more and more a cultural promoter and a director of urban action activities, rather than a traditional architect. Architecture will be increasingly called upon to work for change.

In this sense I think the project for the neighbourhood of Tor Marancia in Rome [public art project known as Big City Life], where there was a unique direction that coordinated the project involving artists and landscape designers, is a good example of that. I believe that this type of works will be increasingly present in our cities.

In the same way projects are constructed, they can be replaced and deleted. I often imagine a system of provisional and recyclable infrastructure (like my project to a small library), where the most interesting part is the convertibility of these architectural objects.

Pizzolungo Memory Park by Giovanni Lucentini Studio

In one of my projects, that of Pizzolungo Memory Park, the most interesting part for me was the design of a wall whose structure would become oxidized with time and change its function. A very simple idea, but I think that the sense of the project was to stop the story at any given time (the project was that) so that from that moment on it could continue and fill with wrinkles. The project lives its own life from the moment that it is built.

Related: Waterfront Durres / Giovanni Lucentini

I know for me sustainability is a mental concept, that also depends on the ability of the architecture to be part of the place. This means that mimetic architecture is not always sustainable. Because often it does not belong to the spirit of places. So I think that architecture is also an abstraction (a social action is architecture). Love builds deep places and architectures. So rather than try to create green barriers, the architects should try to create places where people live their emotions, places that belong to people and that people transform over time.