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The Theatre of Architecture

Mario Botta presents the Theatre of Architecture, one of his most recent works located in Mendrisio.
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The “Theatre of Architecture” dawns – so to say – from the Accademia. Despite its nice profile that I explained earlier, the Academy has its limits, in the sense that it adheres to the European mechanism of degree conformity, meaning that it must provide a minimum of coordination with other Faculties, the other European Faculties of architecture, to enable academic exchange, mobility, and so on; so, to support, to bolster the afore mentioned commitment, to try to give more visibility to the
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research and the principles of architecture, I thought: “Let’s create another entity, which is non-bureaucratic and detached from the degree conformity mechanism, etc., and let’s create an exhibition venue”.
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The name “Museum of Architecture” echoed vieillot: “We shouldn’t call it a museum; let’s call it a theatre, like the anatomical theatres that were present at the universities”, which also have galleries where students can go and – how to say – where the course of study is architecture. We called it “Theatre of Architecture”, with the metaphor of the anatomical theatres in mind.
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As an instrument to give – as mentioned – visibility to architectural research, to the problems of architecture, and so to keep it at a distance from the production phase, which is often a bit limited, that the application of thoughts gives to the market, and something with fewer limits to enable certain considerations, where we try to the best of what we know, the great masters, we will open not the first exhibit, but one of the first exhibits, with Louis Kahn in Venice; Louis Kahn, as I said before, is a great thinker on the 20th century Man, and we shall bring his considerations in Venice and in Italy, where he says many important things; we found his lectures that were influenced by Ragghianti and by Bepi Mazzariol around the Istituto internazionale d’arte – this academy, this International Arts University that Ragghianti had envisioned between Florence and Venice; and so we bring his thoughts, through the lectures, we bring his drawings – in ‘28 he came and sketched the strategic points of Venice, so we rebuild the itinerary that he made, one of his first ones, even before Le Corbusier who arrived in Venice in ’35 - Ragghianti did this already in ’28 - he came from Estonia.
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And so we would then like to bring the great masters of modernist architecture, Le Corbusier, Hudson, a whole series of architects who we believe are still very current but who have been forced out of the market, by the cultural fashions.
Interviewer’s question: “Why a “Theatre” of Architecture?”
In this video Mario Botta presents the Theatre of Architecture, one of his most recent works, connected to the Academy of architecture. Mario Botta explains why he decided to call it “theatre”, having in mind the anatomical theatres that were present at the universities.
The Theatre has opened in February 2018, coinciding with the launch of the first edition of this course. Botta defined the Theatre as a “thorn in the side” of the Academy; in this interview, Riccardo Blumer, the current director of the Academy of architecture, explains this definition: https://www.usi.ch/en/feeds/9675.
On the USI website you can find more info about the Theatre and its public presentation of February 7, 2018: http://www.arc.usi.ch/it/l-accademia/campus/teatro-dell-architettura (in Italian).
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Mario Botta: To Be an Architect

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