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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds For centuries, architecture was considered as the main or – let’s say – greater art compared to its sisters, painting, sculpture, graphics, and so on, because, indeed, it puts together different forms of human expression, and of course architecture, beyond its technical distributive service function, is an expressive form of humans; therefore, still today we recognise through the beauty of our cities the history of the civilisations

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds who have built these cities: this is a part of the Middle Ages, this is a part of the Renaissance, of the Baroque, of the 19th and 20th centuries, and of the Modern age; so, we enter into a suburban area and we know that it reflects a culture of our time, we enter an old town and we see its Medieval origin, with reference to the European context. So, from this point of view architecture interprets, in a way, complexity and above all it always stems from a real need,

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds this is its strength: a home to live in, a school for studying, a hospital for health treatments, a church for praying, a theatre as a place for collective imagery; but beneath these functional aspects lies the need for human expression. So, it has a spiritual form,

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 seconds I would say even of trascendence: the value of architecture starts there where the building ends, to tell a story to the future generations, eventually, because architecture lasts - this is its other strength - lasts longer than the author’s life itself; thus the author vanishes, the architect passes away, and his work lives one day, lives a year, lives more than a century, speaking therefore of that spirit of this man to future generations. The lifespan of architecture is one of great assets, it is one of the great values of this form of expression that, alas,

Skip to 3 minutes and 4 seconds are in crisis today: today it’s the mobil house, short-lived architecture, which is now also a product, it’s all about consumerism as if the market could… if we could only market also the human spirit; thus, all is a consumable product. It’s a major limit of current production that architecture instead tries to - so to say - oppose… the dream of an architect is that his own work be eternal; even though he knows that the pyramids too will disappear one day, but the desire to last in time is a way to overcome death, a way to survive wars and conflicts.

Skip to 4 minutes and 0 seconds Thus the act of building, of modelling human living spaces, pressured by a functional demand which actually masks so many primary or primordial human needs.

Architecture as a form of human expression

Interviewer’s question: “What is the relationship of the architect with the other persons who participate in the design and building of a house or of other buildings?”

In this video, Mario Botta presents his perspective on the roles and responsibilities of an architect. Architecture is a form of human expression, which has functional and also spiritual aspects: the architect’s work lives longer than the author’s life itself, and speaks of the spirit of the architect to future generations. The lifespan of architecture is one of the great values of this form of expression that, however, are in a crisis today.

Which are the roles and responsibilities of an architect? What does it mean that architecture is a form of human expression? Discuss with the other participants adding your comments below.

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Mario Botta: To Be an Architect

Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)

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