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Mario Botta


Born in Mendrisio in 1943, Mario Botta attended the Liceo Artistico (High School) in Milan and graduated in architecture from IUAV, Venice in 1969. During his time in Venice, Botta met Luis Kahn and worked at Le Corbusier.
Strongly influenced by two great masters, his design style evolved into pure, geometric and imposing forms. Brick is a key material in his body of work, used as cladding to accentuate the severity of his designs.
All his work has a spiritual connotation, through which he demonstrates the importance of architecture as a means of expression of human memory.

In 1969 he opened his own architectural practice in Mendrisio, beginning a career that would lead to him creating significant, exemplary work, including several religious buildings.
The 1970s saw the beginning of his teaching career and research work, with conferences, seminars and courses in Italy and overseas.
He is a visiting lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale EPFL, Lausanne and Yale School of Architecture, New Haven, Connecticut, and a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne. When the University of Switzerland opened in Italy in 1996, Botta designed the program for the new Mendrisio-Ticino Architecture Academy, and lectured there prior to becoming Dean.

His openly asserted principles on which he bases his architectural designs include the importance of the site, since “the territory is an integral part of the project and never an incidental element”. Light, especially, should be taken into account in the individual environment since it “generates space, provides emphasis and rhythm, defines the space and creates balance in the structure”, but above all it makes the space and architecture discernible and complete.
In addition, his preference is for natural materials and geometrical designs, simple, primary forms that, when combined, lead to a precise, recognizable symmetrical order, immediately perceived and understood. Last but not least, values linked to memory, in respect of the past and finally ethics in architecture, whose objective is to “offer good quality living values as opposed to merely aesthetic images. The search for a better quality of life is ongoing through the search for a better space for life”.

His vast body of work includes the Library and restoration of the Cappuccini Monastery, Lugano (1976-80), Freiburg State Bank (1982), Dortmund Municipal Library (1999), extension to the Dürrenmatt Center, Neuchâtel (2000), Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (1995) and Museum of Art, Rovereto and Trento (MART) in Rovereto (2002), Kyobo Tower, Seoul (2003), New Casino, Campione d’Italia (2006), "Cittadella delle Istituzioni" in the Appiani area of Treviso (2010), Tsinghua University Library, Beijing (2011) and the Fossil Museum, Monte San Giorgio di Meride, Mendrisio (2012).

Religious projects include Evry Cathedral (1995), Church of San Giovanni Battista, Mogno (1998), Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center, Tel Aviv (1998), Papa Giovanni XXIII Church, Seriate (2004) and Monastery of the Holy Apostles Saint Peter and Andrew. Lviv, Ukraine (2014).

Recent projects include the imposing Theater of Architecture, Mendrisio (2017). The circular floor plan, with 3 levels above ground and 2 below, features a large, empty central area for exhibitions and a tent-style roof.
From the 1980s, Botta also worked as a designer, creating tables and chairs for Alias, and lighting for Artemide. In addition, he designed scenery for the Opera House and Kunsthaus, Zurich and Stadttheater, Basel.
He is an honorary member of numerous architecture institutions and academies, including: BDA-Bund Deutscher Architekten, AIA-American Institute of Architects, Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), London and the International Academy of Architecture, Sofia. Several universities have awarded him honorary degrees.

He has received significant awards and acknowledgments over the years including the Chicago Architecture Award (1986), CICA, International Committee of Architectural Critics, International Biennial of Architecture, Buenos Aires (1989 and 1993), European Award for Culture, Karlsruhe (1995), Swiss Award 2003 and "Urbanpromo" Award at the Milan Triennale in 2015.
Mario Botta selected works and projects
- Teatro dell’architettura, Mendrisio (Svizzera), 2017
- Monastero dei Santi Apostoli Pietro e Andrea, Leopoli (Ucraina), 2014
- Cappella Granato, Penkenjoch, Zillertal (Austria), 2013
- Museo dei fossili del Monte San Giorgio di Meride, Mendrisio (Svizzera), 2012
- Hotel Twelve at Hengshan, Shanghai (Cina), 2012
- Biblioteca della Tsinghua University, Pechino (Cina), 2011
- Nuove terme, Baderquartier Baden (Svizzera), 2009 - in corso
- Società di assicurazione nazionale “Ethniki”, Atene (Grecia), 2006
- Centro wellness Bergoase, Arosa (Svizzera), 2006
- Nuova parrocchia del Santo Volto, Torino (Italia), 2006
- Nuovo Casinò, Campione d’Italia (Italia), 2006
- Ristrutturazione del Teatro alla Scala, Milano (Italia), 2004
- Chiesa, Seriate (Italia), 2004
- Torre Kyobo, Seoul (Corea del Sud), 2003
- MART - Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (Italia), 2002
- Giardino della Pilotta, riqualificazione dell’area della Pilotta, Parma (Italia), 2001
- Parco di sculture Arca di Noé, Gerusalemme (Israele), 2001
- Uffici e abitazioni La Fortezza, Maastricht (Olanda), 1999
- Sinagoga Cymbalista e centro dell'eredità ebraica, Tel Aviv (Israele), 1998
- Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, Mogno (Svizzera), 1998
- Museo Jean Tinguely, Basilea (Svizzera), 1996
- Scenografie per l’Opernhaus, Zurigo (Svizzera), 1993 e lo Stadttheater, Basilea (Svizzera), 1995
- SFMOMA museo d’arte moderna, San Francisco (USA), 1995
- Banca UBS, Basilea (Svizzera), 1995
- Chiesa Beato Odorico, Pordenone (Italia), 1992
- Banca del Gottardo, Lugano (Svizzera), 1988
- Banca di Stato, Friburgo (Svizzera), 1982
- Biblioteca del convento dei Cappuccini a Lugano (Svizzera), 1979
- Case unifamiliari nel Canton Ticino (Svizzera), dal 1965
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