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Green futures Is the future of the European construction industry green?

-A discussion exploring the future of sustainability within the construction industry-

The presence of nature in today’s cities is being rethought and redesigned, creating new and radical scenarios. Cities are being colonised by “green” architecture as architects respond to our increasing ecological footprint. Society faces an extraordinary challenge in overcoming our environmental deficit, and sustainable solutions for architecture have a crucial role in this. In this discussion, architect Mario Cucinella and engineer Giorgio Bignotti (technical consultant of Federlegno Arredo, the Italian association of wood and furniture industries) explore a broader understanding of sustainability and present their visions of a greener construction industry.

Cucinella will interrogate the notion of sustainability as something that is not only based on budgetary concerns but emerges out of the networks that surround us, from the relationships between citizens, climate and the concept of place. He will look into how we might need to rethink buildings so that the relationship between architecture and engineering is based in form and matter, not just technology. The latter change should bring construction closer to the complexity of nature, rather than mechanical artifice, and produce buildings with a higher degree of empathy.

Bignotti will offer a survey of the evolution of wood construction in recent decades and discuss how it can contribute to creating a greener future. While arguing that the future of the construction industry is undoubtedly green, he has identified wood as the material that offers most opportunities for innovation and thus has the most potential to speed up change in the traditionally conservative construction industry.

The discussion will be chaired by Hattie Hartman, Sustainability Editor at the Architects’ Journal.

This event is organised by the Italian Trade Agency.


Giorgio Bignotti

Giorgio Bignotti was born in 1962 to a family of engineers and since childhood has seen himself as civil engineer. After studying structural engineering at the Milan Polytechnic, he joined the glued laminated timber company Holzbau Inc in 1987, where he got the chance to design an impressive number of large timber structures. Since then, he has been committed to the field of wood construction and has attended the most important international symposia and conferences on wood and timber.

He has marketed, designed, and installed timber structures worldwide and helped to spread knowledge on timber to young engineers and architects. He was the general manager of Holzbau Sud Inc from 2000 until 2016 and manager of Sistem Costruzioni Ltd from 2016 to the end of 2017. From January 2018, he is the technical consultant for Federlegno Arredo, the Italian association of wood and furniture industries.

Mario Cucinella

Mario Cucinella is the founder of Mario Cucinella Architects. With more than 20 years of professional practice, MCA has developed expertise in a wide range of sustainable practices ranging from individual residences to urban master plans. In 2016, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awarded him with their prestigious International Fellowship. Mario Cucinella is also the curator of the Italian Pavilion at 2018 Venice Biennale. In 2017, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognised Mario Cucinella with the Honorary Fellowship Award.

In 2012, he founded Building Green Futures (BGF), a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable development through green architecture and urban regeneration. In 2015, Cucinella founded SOS – the School of Sustainability – a multi-disciplinary post-graduate programme in Bologna. SOS serves as a nexus for knowledge exchange within the building industry, the community and the profession.