Mario Botta : architect biography

famous architect : Mario Botta [page1] [page2]

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Mario Botta architect
Mario Botta architect
Mario Botta architect
Mario Botta architect
Mario Botta architect

Mario Botta

Many of Botta's projects have been single-family houses. For him, the single-family house includes the problems and the objectives of the entire discipline of architecture. Carrying on the ideas of Kahn, Mario Botta believes in the organization of the relationship between man and nature and the distinctive characterization of man in relationship to his own environment. Mario Botta is keenly interested in history and in the study of man's habitat through time. Because the home has been the one constant through the evolution of history, Mario Botta feels this architectural type deserves both study and elaboration. It is not only individ-ual needs, but the collective requirements of societies that fascinate him. Another theme pervading his single-family houses is the search for the roots of a design and man's identity in a particular place. Cultural traditions are important throughout Mario Botta's projects, and his forms are derived from - but not copied from - "the environment as a testimony of history and memory".

Mario Botta's house projects are numerous. A few of the more notable ones are the single-family houses in Switzerland at Stabio (1965-1967); Riva San Vitale (1972-1973); Ligornetto (1975-1976) with Martin Boesch; Pregassona (1979) with Rudy Hunziker; Massagno (1979-1981); Stabio (1980-1981); Viganello (1981-1982); Origlio (1982); and Morbio Superiore (1982-1983).

From his houses of the early 1970s when projects were conceived as an agrarian metaphor with a linear, asymetrical structure, Mario Botta's designs have evolved to more formal partis where a central axis usually carries a stair to the north, a framed view to the south, and a carefully composed and structured skylight as a crown. His house forms are simple, elementary volumes where the exterior is independent from the interior. Internal planning is developed with a grid and suggests a layering of planes that introduce the carefully framed views and long vistas into the interior, reminiscent of the times before the Ticino landscape was consumed by a building boom.

Other projects in Switzerland include many with fellow Ticino architects: the secondary school at Morbio Inferiore with Emilio Bernegger, Rudy Hunziker, and Luca Tami (1972-1977); the library for the Capuchin monastery at Lugano (1976-1979); the craft center at Balerna (1977-1979) with Remo Leuzinger; and the Fribourg State Bank at Fribourg (1982).

related links

Mario Botta - official page
Mario Botta - Great Buildings Online
Mario Botta - archinform.net
Archpedia - Mario Botta

Mario Botta is fond of competitions. He has submitted numerous entries, some as individual efforts, others as collaborative gestures. Notable among them are the schemes for an urban renewal project at Lugano (1970); the master plan of the new Lausanne Polytechnic at Lausanne (1970) with Tita Carloni, Aurelio Galfetti, Flora Ruchat, and Luigi Snozzi; the school at Locarno (1970); the new administrative center at Perugia, Italy (1971) with L. Snozzi; the enlargement of the Zurich railway station (1978) with L Snozzi; and the urban renewal project at Basel (1979).

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Albert Sartoris, historian and architect, who spends portions of each year in Ticino, has written of Mario Botta: "Before being logical, his original mediation is philosophical and social". Botta infuses his themes with a sometimes hermetic sense of discovery. He reflects before building. With Mario Botta, intuition precedes reason. Botta says further:

More difficult to express, this aspect is essential to me for it is the poetic fact, the intuitive dimension inside the rational process. Trough the experiences I had with Scarpa, Kahn, and Le Corbusier - and the names are to be understood in this sequence - I am hoping to recover the rational as well as the irrational side involved in the process of making architecture.


1. P. Arnell, "Mario Botta: Trans-Alpine Rationalist, " A.R. (June 1982)

2. Y. Futugawa, ed., G.A. Document 6, A.D.A EDITA, Tokyo, 1983, p.7

3. Y. Fugutawa, ed., G.A Houses 3, A.D.A EDITA, Tokyo, Japan, 1977, p.76.

4. C. Norbert-Schulz, "Kahn Heidegger and the Language of Architecture," Oppositions 18, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1979, pp. 28-47.

5. M. Zardini, The Architecture of Mario Botta, Rizzoli, International Publications, Inc, New York, 1984, p.13

6. K. Frampton, "Botta's Paradigm," P. A. 65 (12), 82 (Dec. 1984).

7. R. Trevisiol, ed., Mario Botta: La Casa Rotonda, L'Erba Voglio, Italy (Westbury NY; distribution rights for N.A. by Bellmark Book Co.), 1982, p. 85.

8. L. Dimitriv, "Transfigurer of Geometry," P. A. 65 (7), 54 (July 1982).

General References

K. Frampton, "Place Production and Architecture: Towards a Critical Theory of Building," in Modern Architecture: a Critical History, London, 1980, pp. 291 and 292.

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Title | Adolf Loos | Albert Kahn | Aldo Rossi | Alvar Aalto | Alvaro Siza | Antonio Gaudi | Carlo Scarpa | Eliel Saarinen | Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Owen Gehry | Fumihiko Maki | Gottfried Boehm | Henry Hobson Richardson | Charles Ormond Eames | Christopher Wren | Ieoh Ming Pei
James Stirling | Kenzo Tange | Kevin Roche | Le Corbusier | Louis Henry Sullivan | Louis Isadore Kahn | Ludwig Mies van der Rohe | Luis Barragan
Marcel Breuer | Mario Botta | Michael Graves | Oscar Niemeyer | Paolo Soleri | Renzo Piano | Richard Meier | Robert Venturi | Tadao Ando

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