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In December last year, we asked the architect Mario Botta to send us sketches that he made during the past years for his own projects. He liked the idea to present sketches in our magazine, so now you have the opportunity to see them.
Thus, we continue the practice started in earlier numbers, when we presented Steven Hall’s watercolors, and after that Richard Meier’s drawings.
An interesting feature of Botta’s sketches is big similarity of the conceptual drawings with the accomplished works, which proves his great imaginative ability. Sketches are dominated by form of the design, but on the sketches is clearly discerned an extraordinary sense of texture that the objects will later get through the project.
We selected the most interesting sketches without referring to the period in which they were made.
LEEUM – SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART IN SEOUL, KOREA 1995-2004
The merlons on top of the building set on the higher part of the hill stamp an archaic silhouette on the skyline. Alongside, a truncated-cone volume, solidly rooted to the ground, enhances the images of a new spatiality dug out of the bowels of the hill. In this volume clad in strips of bricks, the daylight penetrates and plays on the surfaces, highlighting the spiral circulation system leading to the various exhibition levels. Thanks to this luminous funnel, the exhibition itinerary is always connected to the large access space at the lowest level of the building.
The architectural languages in the handling of the surfaces of the two volumes are complementary with a staggered alternation of horizontal bands, originally thought in a clad of concrete and stone, changed in the final design into a brick cladding, though maintaining the intentioned effect of bands , slightly different for each volume.
WELLNESS CENTRE “BERGOASE”, AROSA, SWITZERLAND 2003-2006
Arosa offers an extraordinary geographic configuration of natural basin surrounded by mountains. The site for the new structure Berg Oase is characterized, next to the great hotel, as free space and park at the foot of the rear mountain. We imagined to build without building, to assert the presence of the new through the emergent parts (artificial trees as metaphor of the nature) and to leave interred the great volume with the functional program. The cover of the hypogeal spaces becomes a stage marked by geometric vegetal presences that rouse the visitor curiosity. This particular context therefore suggested us an intriguing solution, of visual impact and, above all, of great respect for the surrounding village.
The new building, beyond the “unbuilt space” of the “leaves”, resolves the relationship with the existing hotel and the ground through a great wall in natural stone.
CHURCH OF “SAN GIOVANNI BATTISTA”, MOGNO, VALLE MAGGIA, SWITZERLAND 1986/92-1998
The approach to this project was therefore somewhat unusual and was the fruit of a meditation upon the relationship between the building, as an expression of man’s daily labour and his very presence on the land, and the boundless power of nature. The subtle play between the massiveness of the stone wall and the lightness of the glass roof is a testimony to the survival of the building, which is designed as a bulwark for the village, in defiance of the mountain. The thick lower mass of the stone wall reflects the nature of the construction as a whole, and is skillfully lightened by the gradual tapering of the courses towards the top.
TCS TATA CONSULTANCY OFFICES, HYDERABAD, INDIA 1999-2003
This project is located in a district in the city of Hyderabad where the new technological hub known as “High Tech City” – India’s version of Silicon Valley – has burgeoned ever since the Nineties. Before the area was overrun by the haphazard constructions of new software production centres, pristine natural plains were the keynote of this landscape. The underlying intention of the design for the TCS Offices is to present a monolithic element hollowed out on the inside and open towards the city. The interaction between the two the landscape and the construction is resolved in this work through the complicity of the various parts, in which each one discovers its raison d’être in its rapport with the others.
CHAPEL “SANTA MARIA DEGLI ANGELI”, MOUNT TAMARO, SWITZERLAND 1990-1996
The building ‘detaches’ itself, as it were, from the mountain, to form a new horizon, the starting point of an ideal viaduct. The passageway begins at the natural slope of the mountain, and offers two paths: one, open air, leading out to a belvedere that looks out across the valley, and another leading down inside the walls towards the church entrance beneath. The roof of the chapel is formed by the amphitheatre-type steps, turned back towards the mountain, thereby negating the very idea of a roof and transforming the architectonic gesture into a continuous passageway that offers new mountain views.
MOMA—MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, SAN FRANCISCO, USA 1989-1995
Dropping the museum into a space already containing three very tall buildings led to the design of a project that is formally pecular. It stands out because of the power of the image yet defies comparison with its immediate environment. Point zero found the architect and the clients setting three clear aims: natural lighting, in the first place, must predominate in spite of the unfavourable façade-surface relation. To satisfy this need, the idea came about of a skylight system that would figure in almost every exhibition room. The result would be diffuse natural light, the ideal setting for works of art. Aim two: the façades needed to be homogeneous and still stimulate visitors to go in and walk around the incredible installations.
Final objective: a unifying interior image will be generated to harmonize the different parts of the museum: to carry this out, they restricted the array of materials that go into the final figuration of facings.
SAN CARLINO, LAKESHORE LUGANO, SWITZERLAND 1999-2003
The wooden model has been realized in occasion of the exhibition at the Museo cantonale d’arte in Lugano, to mark the 400 year anniversary of Francesco Borromini. Standing almost 33 meters high and made up of 35,000 planks each 4.5cm thick, mounted modularly with a “separation” of 1 cm, the large
wooden model of San Carlino is held together with steel cables, in turn fixed to a steel frame weighing 90 tones. This life-size cross-section view of the church sits on a 22-meter-square platform just a few meters from the shore, at the end of the lake promenade and at the entrance to the Parco Ciani.