After Shelly Kappe’s introduction, Mario Botta presents a series of built projects that illustrate his practice of using site conditions and context to determine the programmatic layout. He describes his architectural language as always shifting toward something unknown. Botta talks about architecture being in the negotiations between contextual meaning and conceptual planning.
Botta presents examples of how he takes existing site context and relates it to architectural solutions. He shows several slides to explain visually the role of specific elements of the house typology.
Botta discusses his designs for an architecture school and a library. He explains how the program and form are a result of existing conditions, with architecture harnessed to pull the visitor through the space. Botta shows more houses in which contextual elements have cued the programmatic layout and material choices.
Botta presents some bigger civic projects. He describes these as attempts to engage with problems bigger than the problems specified in the original program. He describes how the planning and formal elements relate to the site. Botta ends by showing two chairs he has developed.
Mario Botta responds to several questions from both American and Italian students. Botta defends his methodologies as personal preference. He also fields questions about postmodernism and his role in contemporary architectural discourse.