Guest Lecture Series

Robin Monotti RMA

Cultural Memory and Architecture

Tuesday 10th October, 1pm 

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In this lecture Robin Monotti Graziadei will talk about the idea of cultural memory and how it informs his architectural work. By referring to projects ranging from the scale of a drinking fountain to a block of flats Robin will attempt to show how cultural memory resonates in interventions that can range from the scale of civic objects to larger architectural interventions, and is equally valid as an idea in an urban or rural setting. Robin will argue that one aspect of sustainability has been left behind in contemporary architectural discourse: cultural sustainability. Cultural sustainability is achieved by tapping into a shared pool of cultural memories that forms the basis of our cultural imagination, and forgetting this shared social pool of memories can result in alienating works of architecture that do not establish a successful bond of identification with the end users of these architectures themselves. Robin will argue that cultural memory is a useful idea to reintroduce into contemporary architectural practice in an attempt to tie back present practice to the cultural richness of the past.


Robin Monotti Graziadei is a London based architect who was born in Rome, where he began his career by working with Professor Vittorio De Feo on projects which included the new Italian Embassy in Berlin. Work that Robin completed for De Feo is now held in the collection of the MAXXI in Rome. Robin obtained a distinction in the MA in Histories and Theories of Architecture from the Architectural Association in London where he studied the relationship of space to psychoanalysis with Mark Cousins, space and politics with Paul Hirst, and space and culture with Robert Maxwell. He worked in Milan with Gino Valle and Ennio Brion, client of Carlo Scarpa’s Brion cemetery, on the Nuovo Portello urban regeneration plan.

Robin taught a postgraduate Diploma Unit with Rik Nys from David Chipperfield Architects at London Metropolitan University between 2001-2007, and within this period also taught a Degree Unit at Greenwich University with Thomas Goodey and Ioana Marinescu. From 2016 he is external examiner to MARCH (Moscow School of Architecture), on behalf of London Metropolitan University.

In 2006 thanks to a grant from the London Consortium doctoral program in Cultural Studies Robin wrote an introduction to and published the first and only English translation of Curzio Malaparte’s book Woman Like Me (Donna Come Me). Robin undertook this translation because he believes that to truly understand Casa Malaparte in Capri you have to read Malaparte, and especially this book as it was written as the house was being built.

From 2007 Robin also runs his architectural office Robin Monotti Architects. RMA won first prize in the International Drinking Fountain Design Competition 2010 held by the Royal Parks Foundation and the RIBA, and First Prize in the Interior of the Year Award in Ukraine 2013. RMA also won a 5 Star European Property Award 2013-14.

In 2016 Robin opened a film production company called Luminous Arts Productions and is currently working on producing a feature film on the perception of the human body in modernity executively produced by Terrence Malick.