Florence, Paris, Dubai: An Architect without borders

Andrea Cubattoli holds a degree with honours from the International Laurea Magistrale in Architectural Design. He also studied and worked in France but now he is about to leave for the Arab Emirates.
17 March 2015

A study abroad experience as well as a good knowledge of foreign languages are often key factors – especially for a recent graduate – in landing a job. However passions, fine skills and a bit of luck are also very important in finding the right path. This is what the story of Andrea Cubattoli tells us. Andrea, 27, was born in Florence and graduated with honours in Architectural Design taking part in an international degree programme. He then worked as intern for a prestigious French studio before landing his first job also thanks to AlmaLaurea. Andrea speaks English and French very fluently, but he knows Spanish as well and some German. He his now packing his suitcase again for a new job adventure which will take him to Dubai. “I’m sure I’m gonna miss the Italian quality of life but I’m also sure this experience will make me grow”.

Andrea, where does your passion for architecture come from?
“It is a family passion as my father is also an architect”.

What about your experience at the University of Florence?
“Overall, I can say it was a pretty positive one. If I can advance any criticism, I may say not all the teachers were as prepared as they should be, some of them were too theoretical not showing real interest in the daily reality of the architectural profession, while others lacked that caring attitude that a teacher has always to express towards students”.

What are the most important features of the Architectural Design degree course?
“The Architectural Design degree course is conducted in English even though I have to say not all the lecturers had a great command of the English language. During my first year I was based in Florence: we were only fifteen students, so we were very well looked after, almost as during high school years. During the second year, I went to Paris to study under an Erasmus programme, where I completed a Semester at the École Nationale Supériore d’Architecture and the second half of the academic year of internship.”

What can you tell us about the main differences between the French course and the Italian one?
“In both Florence and Paris we were not a high number of students. Unlike in Italy, however, at the Paris School of Architecture professors are really focused on an artistic as well as social approach to architecture. The study projects put a strong emphasis on human components such as composition, with less prominence on structural and technological factors. All the professors were also successful designers by profession”.

You said you also worked as intern…
“Yes, I did an internship at the atelier of Christian de Portzamparc, where I had already been during the period in-between the end of the Laurea Triennale and the beginning of the Specialistica and with whom I was in touch ever since. It is a renowned studio with international orders. Mr. Portzamparc is a versatile artist who explores well beyond architecture itself. He is a celebrity in France. This was a great learning experience: I was dealing directly with the studio’s clients and I supervised projects supposed to compete at the main architectural contests”.

And after Paris, what else?
“I came back to Florence in order to complete my thesis fascinated by a project proposal from my professor Lorenzo Giorgi about simulations’ software in a dynamic regime. It was a very specific as well as hard work which took me almost a year, even though at the end my commitment was rewarded with the honours. After my graduation I had started looking for a job abroad, when I was contacted by a large construction company in Florence, the Inso, one of the largest construction engineering company in Italy. They approached me right through AlmaLaurea: it was a surprise as they were looking for an intern as a proposal manager for the French-speaking countries and they came across my resume through the website”.

What are the main tasks for a proposal manager?
“A proposal manager is the person who manages the tender process with special reference to the tender preparation and the interfacing with the various professionals involved; it is a professional figure that must demonstrate both technical as well as creative skills”.

What are you doing these days?
“I’m about to leave for Dubai, where I got a very interesting job offer still as a proposal manager for an Arab Emirates company. I will be responsible especially for international trade relations. I will begin with a three-year contract with the first six months as a probation period”.

At last a typical question: what do you think about AlmaLaurea?
“I find AlmaLaurea’s website really intuitive, easy, and, from my personal experience, also very functional. Therefore my judgement can only be positive”.

Available translations for this content: