Doing big things that matter …

The MATERIA Foundation fosters the development and transfer of construction and community building knowledge, skills and techniques through social and cultural projects that aim to strengthen collective thinking and solutions dictated by local conditions.

The foundation’s core belief is that symbiosis with environment, insights from local communities and our on-location expertise, provides us opportunities to bring forward quality building and core statements that matter in the long term. This approach allows us to be in tune with complex challenges of contemporaneity while sustaining a perennial model encouraging exchange between people and values.

The Foundation is envisaged as a platform of encounter for best-in-class practitioners and institutions having the opportunity to work on actual projects that get built or implemented.

Cultural Interventions

Universita’ della Svizzera Italiana (USI) Building Reality Workshop

MATERIA has sponsored and hosted the January 2016 ‘Building Realities’ Students Workshop in Mozamibique at its project Benga Riverside.

The workshop has seen 30 students travelling across Mozambique for five weeks to explore MATERIA’s projects in the country and study the best possible local construction solution in terms of materials and climate sustainability. The workshop has designed and built a community centre built within our project Benga Riverside which is to be published across architectural and construction magazine and publications worldwide. Addtionally an international exhibition about this workshop is being organised in Geneve at the Musée international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge and at the USI Campus.

Al Quoz Park (Dubai, U.A.E.)

In collaboration with Cultural Engineering, MATERIA is developing an innovative park in the true manufacturing hub of Dubai – Al Quoz – which hosts dozen of large labour camps and has also become the centre of the arts in the Emirate.

With the express desire to create a welcoming park encompassing a mosque, a library, a coffee and an outdoor garden, MATERIA and Cultural Engineering aim to bring forward an inclusive model of development which can reform Dubai’s image and growth strategy for the better.

MATERIA is working with Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA for the realization of the park.

Al Quoz
A labour camp in Al Quoz

Dar Eyquem Performance Arts Pavilion

MATERIA is working on the creation of a new Dance and Music Pavilion to be hosted within the Dar Eyquem Cultural Centre in Hammamet, Tunisia.

Dar Eyquem is one of the finest property in the whole Mediterranean and stands for over 70 years of cultural and intellectual history in the region, having hosted over the years the like of Andre Malraux, Jaques Lang, Andre Gide and more.

MATERIA is developing a 200sqm dance pavilion that will be hosted in the park of Dar Eyquem and that will host the Dance and Music workshops launched by the institution. MATERIA is currently working with Francis Kere and other leading architects who know how to value the heritage of such an important location for our contemporary times.


Observations of an Urban Framework

B+H Architects and Cultural Engineering invited a selected number of city designers to participate to a design workshop that took place in the creek area of Dubai (Deira and Bur Dubai).

A book was produced as results of the input of each city designer with the aim to broaden the collective sources of inspiration and trigger consideration of how alternative models of development might be included in Dubai’s growth.

MATERIA’s CEO contributed an essay to the book, Dubai Reimagined, which can be found below or by selected bookshops across the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

The Essay can be found here: Dubai Reimagined – Lucio Frigo

ARCHI MAGAZINE: MATERIA’s Building Reality Workshop 2016

Alberto Pottenghi summarises the lessons learnts by students during the Universita’ della Svizzera Italiana’s workshop in collaboration with Atelier Francis Kere and MATERIA by our project Benga Riverside (see more in the project page)

Article can be found here: ARCHI Magazine article – MATERIA Atelier Kere workshop 2016

ARCHI Building Reality Workshop 2016

MATERIA’s Construction Manual – on the Ground

MATERIA is leveraging the experience being matured on the ground through its Projects, to produce a visual construction manual that can transfer sustainable construction practices and guideline for other private and public operators.

The project is forecasted to be published in 2018.


Building Reality USI Exhibition, Atelier Kere, Mendrisio, November 2016

Photographic and architectural exhibitions of the USI workshop in Mozambique sponsored by MATERIA. Exhibitions dates: Nov-Dec 2016

The exhibition at USI (Nov 2016)

Philadelphia Museum of Arts, Creative Africa, Philadelphia, U.S.A., May 2016

Photographic and architectural exhibitions on various African projects in architecture, fashion and arts. Featuring the work of Francis Kere and MATERIA’s project Benga Riverside. Exhibitions dates: May-Oct 2016

MATERIA boots at Creative Africa @ PMA

Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge, Geneve, May 2016

Photographic and architectural exhibitions of the USI workshop in Mozambique sponsored by MATERIA during January and February 2016.


Casabella MoreTalks at Salone del Mobile, Milano, Apr 2016

MATERIA’s CEO, Lucio Frigo, is a panelist together with architect Ricardo Blumer and Federico Tranfa, at the opening event for the MoreTalks cycle of conferences. The conferences are organised by leading architectural magazine Casabella that since 1928 has helped fostering the architectural and design discourse in Europe and beyond.

The talk will focus on the housing typologies more apt for the contemporary living and its consequences from an economical perspective.

Wharton Africa Summit, Addis Ababa, March 2016

MATERIA’s CEO, Lucio Frigo, has been invited to chair the Real Estate panel that includes some of the leading Real Estate investors and developers in Africa, including: Samuel Sidiqi – CEO, National Real Estate Co (Kuwait) / Kevin Teeroovengadum – CEO, ATT Africa / Koome Gikunda – Head of Real Estate (East Africa), Actis / Michael Chu’di Ejekam – CEO, Atreus / Jameel Verjee – Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Diar Capital / Wagane Diouf – Managing Partner, Xterra

The summit sees leading politicians, entrepreneurs and investors working for Africa to gather and discuss future economic and investment trends in the African continent.

Dubai Family Office Forum, Dubai, Feb 2016

MATERIA sponsored the Dubai Family Office Forum in Dubai on the 16-17th of February 2016. MATERIA’s CEO, Lucio Frigo, hosted a talk where he reminded some of the leading international family offices of the relevance of Impact Investing [link to Our Approach/Impact Investing] for Africa.

Discussion reverted around the key importance of encouraging local production in the construction industry so transfer knowledge and skills to local population, create jobs, create transport costs and pollution and, eventually, reduce end-product costs for higher quality of construction.