Want to keep learning?

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 Human beings are the quintessential dwellers, they have always had the need to organise the 24-hour solar cycle to find spaces for eating, sleeping, living, working, and so on, and all of this is part of what an architect does; so, habitation is perhaps the architect’s main function, in the sense that other activities - leisure, theatre, museums, worshipping- are all important but only part-time; habitation instead conveys the idea of the 24 hour cycle, thus entailing a notion of territorial possession, of geographical ownership, and above all

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds inhabiting entails, even if it is never said, the notion of community: one cannot live alone; one dwells because of the indirect experience of the rituals and the myths of the community, one lives first of all because of the need to adapt oneself to a 24-hour working rhythm, but mostly because one has off-duty days, holidays, celebrations, etc. and therefore habitation is a way of living the community. No one can truly live alone, not even the most extreme hermit can escape this condition, but indirectly he partecipates in the community through his ponderings, his prayers, his isolation, which indeed are a measure of the life of the community. Therefore dwelling always entails a collective behaviour.

Dwelling and the community

Interviewer’s question: “How would you define dwelling? What is a habitation?”

In this video, Mario Botta suggests that habitation is the main function of the architect. Inhabiting entails the notion of community: one cannot live alone, one dwells because of the indirect experience of the rituals and the myths of the community.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Mario Botta: To Be an Architect

Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: