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This content is taken from the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)'s online course, Mario Botta: To Be an Architect. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Welcome to this online course: “Mario Botta. To be an architect”. This is a course about Mario Botta and with Mario Botta, as we will see. This course is offered by USI Università della Svizzera italiana, which is a young university based in Lugano and in Mendrisio, so in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. My name is Stefano Tardini, I am the responsible of eLab, the eLearning service of USI. And eLab is the unit that has designed and developed this course together with Mario Botta and other collaborators. This course is designed for any person who is interested in architecture and in arts in general, and more specifically for researchers, students, teachers and professionals in the field of architecture.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds The big question behind this course is: “What does it mean to be an architect today?”, and we’ll try to answer this question in this conversation, in this meeting with Mario Botta. Mario Botta will drive us in this journey through architecture and through the craft of the architect starting from his experience, his approach to architecture, his masters, his works, and so on, you will discover it. Before going into the details of this course, I would like to introduce the other members of the team, who collaborated

Skip to 1 minute and 29 seconds to the design and to the development of this course: my colleagues at eLab: I will mention specfically Giorgia Mora, an instructional designer, who helped me design this course, and Shondel Bervini, our videomaker - she made all the videos of this course. And then I have to mention professor Lorenzo Cantoni, who is the real mind behind this course, he was the person who interviewed Mario Botta in the videos you will see later; and Gabriele Neri, an architect and a teaching assistant in the Academy of architecture in Mendrisio.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds In communication sciences we reflect extensively on what does it mean to understand a person; and I have been always fascinated reflecting on how an architect is able to understand his / her own client, by at the same time reflecting on the natural and cultural environment where the new building is going to be built. This MOOC was born as a conversation with Mario Botta reflecting on this very issue and on what does it mean to be an architect by profession.

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 seconds Hallo everyone, my name is Gabriele Neri, I am educator for this course about the architecture of Mario Botta; I am architect, and I have a PhD in history of architecture and urban planning, and since 2011 I’ve been researching and teaching here at the Academy of architecture of Mendrisio. Through this course you will have the opportunity to

Skip to 3 minutes and 1 second dig into one of the most exciting human activities: architecture, which is made out of art and science, theory and practice, knowledge and experience; so, we really hope that you will learn a positive approach to your built and unbuilt environment. How is this course structured? The course is organized in four weeks. In the first week, Mario Botta will introduce his very concept

Skip to 3 minutes and 37 seconds about architecture: what is architecture today? What does it mean to be an architect? What is the relationship between architecture and the other arts? In the second week,

Skip to 3 minutes and 46 seconds Mario Botta will present three important concepts interrelated with each other: the concept of dwelling, of the city and of the community; and in the last part of this week a focus on one of the most important and most beautiful cities in the world will be done, namely Venice. In the third week, we will address the topic of sacred architecture, and this will be the occasion also to reflect on the relationship between past and present, and between architecture and restoration. In the last part of this week, Mario Botta will tell us something also about fashion and design. In the fourth and last week, Mario

Skip to 4 minutes and 24 seconds Botta will tell us something more about himself: he will present his most important masters, for instance Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, and Carlo Scarpa; he will present some of his most recent works, for instance the “Stone flower”, on the top of the Monte Generoso, and the Theater of architecture, which is connected to the Academy of architecture in Mendrisio, and he will explain also the philosophy behind the foundation

Skip to 4 minutes and 50 seconds of the Academy of architecture, so:”What does it mean to build an architect?”.

Skip to 4 minutes and 55 seconds In each week different kinds of activities will be proposed: we will always have some videos, where Mario Botta will explain his perspective on the different topics; we will have some discussions, where participants will have the opportunity to give their own perspective and to learn from the perspectives of other participants; and we will have some articles or papers, to go more in depth in the topics we are addressing. On average, you will need more or less three to four hours to complete each week of this course. So, before we can

Skip to 5 minutes and 25 seconds start the real course, just one practical information: please, remember to flag the button “Mark as complete” that you can find on the bottom of each activity you do, so you will be able to see your progress, and you can check your progress in the tab that you can find on the top right of each page. In the next step of this course, we would like to know something more about you; so, please go to the next activity

Skip to 5 minutes and 51 seconds and introduce yourself in the discussion: tell us something about yourself, about your motivation in this course, about what is architecture for you. We look forward to meeting you online, we really hope you will enjoy this course, as we enjoyed creating and developing it and … “See you online”.

Information about the course


Welcome to the course “Mario Botta. To be an architect” offered by USI Università della Svizzera italiana. This course was born as a conversation with Mario Botta, one of the most famous and influential contemporary architects: in this conversation, the Swiss architect will guide you in a reflection about what does it mean to be an architect.

The main objective of this course is to help you develop critical thinking about Architecture: in a continuous dialogue between you and the famous Swiss architect, you will be guided to build your own approach to architecture.

The course is divided into four weeks. In each week, different activities are proposed, such as watching videos, joining discussions, reading articles, and others. Additional readings and resources will be available for those who want to deepen their knowledge.

A course map will help you in your journey through the course.


Your learning will be supported by two tutors: Giorgia Mora and Stefano Tardini, and one expert from the sector: Gabriele Neri.

Special thanks to all those who contributed to the creation of this course:

  • Lorenzo Cantoni - The interviewer

  • Shondel Bervini - The video maker

  • Dimitri Loringett - The translator

  • Laura Peter - The instructional designer

  • Kelly Dos Santos Monteiro - The assistant instructional designer

  • Mattia Pera - The assistant video maker


Take to the stage: In the next two steps assess your knowledge about Mario Botta with two simple questions, introduce yourself to your fellow learners, then have a go at our pre-quiz!

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Mario Botta: To Be an Architect

Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)

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