His career began in Lugano in 1970. Mario Botta was born in Medrisio in 1943 and, after training as a draughtsman in Lugano, attended art school in Milan and then studied at the Instituto Universitario d'Architettura in Venice, where he met Le Corbusier and Louis I. Kahn, with whom he later worked. In 1970 he opened his own office in Lugano and lectured at architecture schools in Europe, Asia, North and South America. He was a visiting professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and at the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, USA. He became a titular professor of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and a member of the Swiss Federal Art Commission. He has received numerous international awards and honorary doctorates from various universities. More recently, he has been involved in the creation of a university in Italian-speaking Switzerland and initiated a new Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio. His career as an architect began with the construction of single-family homes in Ticino, followed later by schools, banks, administrative buildings, libraries, museums and sacred buildings – and a jewel among them: the Garnet Chapel on the Penken.
As a counterpoint to nature, Botta places an oversized crystal in the shape of a rhombic dodecahedron on a rocky outcrop east of the Penkenjoch reservoir. Especially in the mountains, perception is heightened, according to Mario Botta – and a piece of pure geometry like this chapel helps us to better read nature, the landscape, the sky and the atmosphere. A monument imbued with the passion of the garnet digger, asserting itself in the grandiose nature, yet showing it respect, sign of faith, place of contemplation, reflection and gratitude.
Mario Botta's work more than meets the requirements.
Together they visit a restaurant. At the next table, architect Mario Botta discusses a major project in China with a delegation. He also describes the Garnet Chapel project on the Penken, which he has grown very fond of,to the Chinese – and illustrates the project with a quick sketch on a placemat.
Construction meeting at the Penken with architect Mario Botta.
The interior is taking shape, a model of the altar planned by the architect is set up.
“It won't work!”
Architect Mario Botta develops a new idea on the spot, on the altar model. With the pencil, he searches for the new form – it grows out of the lines, fits into the space.
The shape of the seats also emerges.
Dear Mr Brindlinger!
We are pleased that the idea for the chapel on the Penkenjoch has been successfully realised, and that work was completed on time, under the good direction of architect Bernhard Stoehr and thanks to the pleasant cooperation of all those involved...
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