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Academy award

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Massimiliano Fuksas was on good form at the Royal Academy annual architecture lecture on Saturday, attracting a large crowd. While UK architects have to put up with contract conditions which insist on 'no innovation' as a mark of approval, MF's work shows no such inhibitions. Having completed 42 buildings in France, he has now returned to Rome, partly because he feels that the architecture of that city has cropped up consistently in his work, even if unconsciously. And he has his European Congress Centre project ('a cloud in a box') to complete (tenders are now in), won in competition against a galaxy of stars including Lord Rogers. His most interesting international project is the Peace Center in Israel, backed by Simon Peres and Yasser Arafat, who could talk to each other when the project began a couple of years ago. How things change. Intriguingly, finance for the project has been voted through by the Israeli government, even amid the current distressing events, and work is under way. A sign of rationality in an irrational world.

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