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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds I was asked to build a restaurant on the top of the Generoso mountain, where there was an old English-style hotel of the late 19th century – early 20th century, which was gradually abandoned, and eventually demolished; so there was this very important commonplace, a topos, connected by a ‘naval string’, which is a 9km-long cogwheel railway, running from Capolago up along the slopes of the Generoso. In the culture of ‘conquering’ the Swiss Alps, there are plenty of these utopias in Switzerland, there are the great 19th-century visions of great men who envisioned the physical conquest of the mountains with these railways. So, you reach the summit, there are no roads, just the little train, and there’s this restaurant that needs to be rebuilt.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds But a restaurant is also - I wouldn’t want to be misunderstood – something trivial, because one goes there to socialise, it is not - so to say - a venue for dramatic experiences; nevertheless, it has this condition of the topos, this watershed condition of the mountain ridge, with the 500/600-metre cliff on one side, facing North, with a view of the Monte Rosa, the Alps, in the background, but also with the ravine, the gorge right beneath you, so it’s a bit like flying, but more intense that by helicopter or by plane, because there is this closeness that you cannot have on a plane; so, you feel that the valley drops, that the cliff climbs back up, then it becomes a lake.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 seconds This is an extraordinary geographical reading of the amazing position of the Monte Generoso, which is the last mountain of the Alps, just before the Po Valley; then you begin to feel the Mediterranean, though with a bit of imagination, as the light mellows, the dry grasslands soften over the Po Valley, and then you feel that there, there is the mare nostrum.

"Il Fiore di pietra" (1) (Stone Flower)

Interviewer’s question: “Let’s take one of your most recent works: the “Stone flower” on the Monte Generoso. What is the process an architect follows to bring to completion such a big project?”

In this video, Mario Botta presents one of his most recent works: the “Stone flower”, a restaurant built on top of the Monte Generoso, focusing on its amazing geographical position.

In the video below, made by DW English, you can find an additional interview to Mario Botta about the “Stone Flower”: “Mario Botta’s new building and its panoramic view”.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

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This video is from the free online course:

Mario Botta: To Be an Architect

Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)

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