Villa Bianchi landscape

© Mario Botta

The Bianchi House was designed by Italian architect Mario Botta in 1971. Built on a sharply inclined hillside above the village of Riva San Vitale on the shores of Lake Lugano the house is set in the lower part of the plot and laid out on different levels like a tower.

Bianchi House Technical Information

  • Architects: Mario Botta
  • Location: Riva San Vitale, Switzerland
  • Client: Leontina and Carlo Bianchi
  • Material: Concrete
  • Typology: Residential Architecture / House
  • Scale: 5 story house
  • Project Year: 1971
  • Construction Year: 1972-1973
  • Site Area: 850 m2
  • Net area: 220 m2
  • Drawings and Photographs: © Mario Botta Architects

Architecture is the constant fight between man and nature, the fight to overwhelm nature, to possess it. The first act of architecture is to put a stone on the ground. That act transforms a condition of nature into a condition of culture; it’s a holy act.

– Mario Botta

Bianchi House Photographs
Entrance to the Bianchi Residence by Mario Botta

© Mario Botta

Entrance to the Bianchi House

© Mario Botta

Interior Bianchi House

© Mario Botta

Access to the Bianchi Residence. Mario Botta Architects

© Mario Botta

Text by the Architects

Swiss couple, Carlo and Leontina Bianchi were close friends of Mario Botta when he reformed an old apartment in the small village of Genestrerio for them. Not long after, in 1971, when Botta had recently graduated, the family commissioned him for a new house project, but this time in the canton of Ticino, at the foot of Monde San Giorgio and with views over Lake Lugano. Although the list of requirements was very similar to the previous project, a cost-effective house with bedrooms for a couple with two children, the thought process for the new house was very distinct. In fact, it became like building a house from the roof down.

The house can be considered as a compendium of all the compositional methods characteristic of Botta. A house determined from a clear and defined primary geometric form, in what could be perceived as an echo of Le Corbusier‘s dedication to elemental forms. The figure is comprised of a series of large vertical subtractions that generate voids of various heights. In relation to its surroundings, the work intends to achieve a primarily vertical volume so as not to lose its key connection with the mountains, as they are also presented in a vertical form.

A red metal bridge links the road uphill to the house. The configuration, perfectly square in plan, with the square staircase at its center, is modified on different levels with the gradual decrease in the density of habitable space making ay for interior terraces that project out into the various living areas. The vertical dimension is maintained even in the functional distribution: on the upper floor, corresponding to the entrance level, there are the hall, the study and the staircase leading to the lower floors. On the second level, there is the master bedroom whereas the children´s bedroom is on the first floor. These spaces are partially open and linked to the living area on the ground floor.

Villa Bianchi Floor Plan and Elevation
Axonometric Plan View Bianchi House by Mario Botta

© Mario Botta

Floor Plan Bianchi House by Mario Botta

© Mario Botta

Section Villa Bianchi Mario Botta

© Mario Botta

About Mario Botta

Mario Botta is a Swiss architect born in 1943. He designed his first buildings at age 16, a two-family house at Morbio Superiore in Ticino. While the arrangements of spaces in this structure is inconsistent, its relationship to its site, separation of living from service spaces, and deep window recesses echo of what would become his stark, strong, towering style. His designs tend to include a strong sense of geometry, often being based on very simple shapes, yet creating unique volumes of space. His buildings are often made of brick, yet his use of material is wide, varied, and often unique.

Bianchi House Image Gallery

Other works from Mario Botta