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Carlo Ratti

Pioneering Architect & Engineer, Founder SENSEable City Lab, MIT

Carlo Ratti is a civil engineer and architect who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs the SENSEable City Laboratory, which explores the "real-time city" by studying the way sensors and electronics relate to the built environment. He's opening a research center in Singapore as part of an MIT-led initiative on the Future of Urban Mobility. All of his work provides an interesting perspective on the kinds of sensory technologies we'll see in the smart cities of the (near) future.

"Carlo Ratti is almost redefining what being an architect is"

Carlo Ratti

In detail

Carlo Ratti grew up in several European countries, graduating in engineering at the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chausses in Paris, France, and at the Politecnico di Torino in Italy. He later earned his MPhil. and Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Cambridge, UK. In 2000 he moved to MIT as a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow, working with Hiroshi Ishii at the MIT Media Lab. In 2002 he established the design office carlorattiassociati - Walter Nicolino and Carlo Ratti in Torino, Italy. His projects use data gathered from sensors to actually create dazzling new environments. The Digital Water Pavilion, for instance, reacts to visitors by parting a stream of water to let them visit and a project for the 2012 Olympics in London turns a pavilion building into a cloud of blinking interactive art.

What he offers you

Carlo Ratti is a world renowned thinker whose research into the less tangible qualities of the contemporary urban environment could radically alter the way we understand and design for the city. He provides a fascinating view of the technologies he has been developing. He has spoken at prestigious events worldwide, including the World Economic Forum in Davos (2009) and at TED2011 and brings his own unique perspective on how he uses interesting media to create flexible, interactive structures and visuals.

How he presents

Carlo Ratti is a tall, slender and slightly gangling arc of good-natured exuberance. He has a clear, humorous and fascinating speaking style and his presentations are high in fresh and exciting content.


He presents in Italian and English - he speaks French and has knowledge of Spanish & German.

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  • Smart Cities
  • The Rediscovery of Wonder
  • Architecture that Senses and Responds
  • The Future of Architecture
  • Senseable City Lab Projects


  • He has authored over 100 academic papers.
  • He is a regular contributor of articles on architecture to the Domus and Casabella magazines and the Italian newspapers, Il Sole 24 Ore and La Stampa.


  • 2009
    Queensland Government's Innovator in Residence
  • 2008
    Esquire's Best and Brightest and was featured in Seed Magazine's Salon
  • 2007
    TIME Magazine's Best Invention of the Year
    Membership of Design Council of Italy

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