Mario Botta (b.1943) Swiss Architect and Designer

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Mario Botta architect designer

Mario Botta is a Swiss architect and designer born in 1943. At the age of 16, he designed his first building, a two-family house in Morbio Superiore, Ticino. While the space arrangements in this structure are inconsistent, its relationship to its site, separation of living from service spaces, and deep window recesses echo his stark, robust and towering style. His designs have a solid geometric sensibility, often based on straightforward shapes and unique volumes of space. His structures are frequently made of brick, but his use of the material is diverse and often one-of-a-kind.


He received his bachelor’s degree from the Università Iuav di Venezia (1969).

Between 1958 and 1961 he was an apprentice building draftsman in the studio of architects Tita Carloni and Luigi Camenisch. 


His signature style can be found throughout Switzerland, particularly in the Ticino region, as well as in the Villeurbanne Mediatheque (1988), a cathedral in Évry (1995), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or SFMOMA (1994). He also designed the Europa-Park Dome, which houses many significant events at Germany’s Europa-Park theme park resort. Botta’s religious works, including the Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center, were on display at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London in an exhibition called Architetture del Sacro: Prayers in Stone. “A church is the place, par excellence, of architecture,” he said in an interview with architectural historian Judith Dupré. “When you enter a church, you already are part of what has transpired and will transpire there. The church is a house that puts a believer in a dimension where he or she is the protagonist. The sacred directly lives in the collective. Man becomes a participant in a church, even if he never says anything.”

In 1998, he designed the new Vimercate bus station (near Milan), a red brick building linked to many facilities that emphasised the city’s recent development. He worked on La Scala’s theatre renovation, which was contentious because preservationists were concerned that historic details would be lost.

He designed Museum One of the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, in Seoul, South Korea, in 2004. President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi bestowed the Grand Officer award on January 1, 2006. He designed his first spa, the Bergoase Spa in Arosa, Switzerland, in 2006. The spa, which cost an estimated CHF 35 million to build, opened in December 2006. In 2007, Mario Botta took part in the Stock Exchange of Visions project. In 2012, he served on the Global Holcim Awards Jury. The Universidad de Navarra awarded him the Javier Carvajal Prize in 2014.


His furniture that was produced by Alias included;

  • 1982 Prima side chair
  • 1982 Seconda armchair
  • 1983 Terzo table
  • 1983 Quarta chair
  • 1985 Quinta armchair
  • 1985 Sesta armchair
  • 1985 Sesto King and Queen chairs
  • 1986 Tesi Table
  • 1987 Latonda armchair
  • 1985 – 1986 Shogun lighting range
  • 1987 Melanos Table
  • Sesta Armchair by Mario Botta
  • Mario Botta Dining Table Model ‘Terzo’ with Granite Top
  • Chaise Morelato designed by Mario Botta


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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