Mario Botta, after a period of apprenticeship in Lugano, attended art high school in Milan and continued his studies at the Istituto Universitario d’Architettura of Venice, taking a degree in 1969 under the guidance of Carlo Scarpa and Giuseppe Mazzariol. During the period in Venice he had a chance to meet and work with Le Corbusier and Louis I. Kahn.
In 1970 he opened his own studio in Lugano, and since then he has also been active as a teacher, conducting lectures, seminars and courses at architecture schools in Europe, Asia, the United States and Latin America. In 1976 he was a visiting professor at the Lausanne Polytechnic and in 1987 at the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, USA.
Since 1983 he has been a professor of the Scuole Politecniche Svizzere, and from 1982 to 1987 he was a member of the Swiss Federal Commission of Fine Arts. Starting with single-family homes in Canton Ticino, his work has branched out to cover all building typologies: schools, banks, office buildings, libraries, museums and religious buildings. Over the last few years he has been one of the founders of the newArchitecture Academy of Mendrisio, where he still teaches, and was the director for the academic year of 2002/03.
His work has received many important international honors (including the Merit Award for Excellence in Design by the AIA for the SFMOMA Museum of Modern Art of San Francisco), and many exhibitions on his research have been organized. In September 2010 the MART Museum of Trent and Rovereto commemorated 50 years of his activity as an architect with a major retrospective.
The work of Mario Botta combines architecture with a strong sense of the urban context; for Botta, the city is the territory of continuing confrontation between design practice and the pursuit of meaning, the forms and modes with which to respond, case by case, to the themes approached, never resolved with self-referential gestures detached from the constructed building, but through a profound dialogue between the history of the urban and territorial fabric and new construction, conceived above all in terms of civic and collective value.
His most important works includes: the theater and cultural center of Chambéry; the media library of Villeurbanne; the SFMOMA Museum of Modern Art of San Francisco; the Cathedral of the Resurrection at Evry; the Jean Tinguely Museum in Basel; the Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center in Tel Aviv; the municipal library of Dortmund; the Dürrenmatt Center at Neuchâtel; the MART Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trent and Rovereto; the Kyobo tower and the Leeum Museum in Seoul; the office buildings of Tata Consultancy Services in New Delhi and Hyderabad; the Fondation Bodmer museum and library in Cologny; the Church of Pope John XXIII at Seriate; the restructuring of Teatro alla Scala in Milan; the Church of the Holy Visage in Turin; the Tschuggen Berg Oase wellness center in Arosa; the Château Faugères winery at Saint-Emilion; the Bechtler Museum in Charlotte; the church of Santa Maria Nuova at Terranuova Bracciolini, the subway stations of Naples, the museum of architecture in Mendrisio. At Suvereto, near Livorno, he has constructed the Petra winery, and a private chapel in Azzano, Asti.
In 2001 realized in collaboration with Giuliano Vangi, the funerary chapel of D’Angilio’s family situated in Azzano’s cemetery, Seravezza. The library of the Tsinghua University was recently opened in Beijing (2011).