Residence in Riva San Vitale
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Architect Mario Botta
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Location Riva san Vitale, Ticino, Switzerland
Date 1972 to 1973   timeline
Building Type house
 Construction System brick exterior
Climate temperate
Context rural, hillside
Style Modern
Notes A slender truss bridge crosses from the steep hillside out to meet the residence block massing.




Axonometric Drawing

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3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

3D Spatial Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

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Discussion Residence in Riva San Vitale Commentary

"The house at Riva San Vitale, on a sloping site facing Lake Lugano and distant snow-capped mountains, is entered at the upper level via a long steel bridge painted red. The house itself consists of a cubic tower frame with heavy corner pillars built of oversize concrete blocks. The volumes of the various living spaces fill in the frame, starting with one quadrant on the top floor and concluding with three quadrants, four floors below at the living-room level. Unfilled quadrants provide steplike sequences of exterior terraces. A square staircase located almost at the center of the square plan ties the blunt clarity of the massive exterior, the interior is labyrinthine and intimate. Emphasis on the large openings cut into the cubic mass of the house achieves a monumentality similar to that of the local vernacular."

— from Stuart Wrede. Mario Botta. p24.

The Creator's Words

"It is obvious that if the new architects, the new engineers think in technological terms, the conflict with the ecologists is bound to keep expanding. Whoever constructs, destroys nature, and thus intervention of any kind is always seen as something negative. The real problem, however, seems to me to be to cultivate an understanding that construction transforms only a part of nature, that it should engage in dialogue with nature, and that it is up to us, to this generation, to find the way to resolve the conflict with the stubbornly conservative and their committment to anything which was built in the past."

— Mario Botta. from Emilio Pizzi, with Werner Oechslin and Pierluigi Nicolin. Mario Botta: Architecture 1980-1990. p24.

Sources on Residence in Riva San Vitale

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. unit to whole diagram, p161. geometry diagram, p182. — Updated edition available at

Emilio Pizzi, with Werner Oechslin and Pierluigi Nicolin. Mario Botta: Architectures 1980 1990. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili, S.A., 1991. ISBN 84-252-1475-0. NA1353.B67A4 1991. p24.

Stuart Wrede. Mario Botta. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1986. ISBN 0-87979-258-0. LC 86-62324. NA1353.B67W74 1986. p24.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Residence in Riva San Vitale


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