What is your architectural vision? “It’s a powerful instrument that can bring light, culture, art and energy into the city. Architecture is not about the details: [they] annoy me.”

Where do you get your ideas? “It usually happens in the early morning, when I’m still in bed. With my eyes shut, I can imagine the shape of a new structure and the light dimming through it. I always have three kinds of lights within this vision: the direct one, the indirect one and the ‘magic’ one.”

“Later, I paint what I saw, with brush on canvas. Then people in my studio construct models – a lot of models, so many I could donate them to public libraries – but that is only to allow others to understand my vision. Otherwise, to me, the project is complete, done, when I put down my paint brush. That is probably because, deep inside, I am still six years old.”

A building is just a build­ing: stout, stupid. I chose stainless steel and a mirror finish to define the volumes of the Cultural Centre, because I love the idea of having life that unfolds outside the build­ing reflected on its surface, like an instant movie
Architect Massimiliano Fuksas

What do you mean by that? “I lost my father at that age, and it is a moment frozen in time. I am still basically just a child who follows his dreams. Everything else comes down to professional experience that counts practically, of course, but not in substance.”

‘No more weird architecture’: Chinese directive draws line in the sand on ‘strange’ buildings

What inspired your Cultural Centre project in Beijing? “I like to see things happening despite the stillness of a built structure. A building is just a build­ing: stout, stupid. I chose stainless steel and a mirror finish to define the volumes of the Cultural Centre, because I love the idea of having life that unfolds outside the build­ing reflected on its surface, like an instant movie. I am convinced that to understand reality we should start from its reflection.”

Can you explain that? “I was talking to a prominent Chinese man 10 years ago. I was curious to understand how he thought China would develop. So I asked him: ‘Where do you think the United States – not China – will be in 10 years?’ He said: ‘They have tremendous capital in patents and tech­nology; this is where their power comes from. If they can maintain this, they will still be strong.’

“And then I could see where China was looking to build its bright future. It was just a matter of reflection.”

Massimiliano Fuksas was in Hong Kong recently with his wife, Doriana, who leads Studio Fuksas with her husband.