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Architectural Theme of Bianchi House


An Italian architect Mario Botta is accredited for the design of the Bianchi house located at the shores of Lake Lugano in Riva San Vitale village. Bianchi House was built between 1972 – 1973 and attracted attention from various architecture-oriented fields, including scholars and other architectures. Journals such as ‘The Modern House’ have described the design as inspired by the urge to develop contemporary monumentalism regarding the Italian Rationalist style of the 1930s. The design also achieved attention from online website articles such as WordPress, which describes an overview of the house, including its design and architecture. A collaborative information platform, the ‘Poland Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020’, has also embraced the description of the architectural theme of the Bianchi house, emphasizing the essential details.[1]. This section includes a summary of the architectural theme of the Bianchi house concerning the sources mentioned above.

The architecture of the Bianchi House

The Modern House publication on the Bianchi house proved to be necessary to our research on the architectural theme of the house since it was precise and direct based on the basic designs[2]. The source acknowledges the square plan of the building, which embraced a unique design of a pedestrian bridge painted red set on the highest floor of the tower coming directly from the road into the studio. The architecture of the Bianchi house took advantage of the natural and beautiful view of the scenery around the area, primarily through the stairs that lead one through the lining spaces and bedrooms towards a covered terrace on the ground floor.[3].

The single-family house commissioned by Carlo and Leontina Bianchi provides a deep relationship with nature and the environment by emphasizing minimal utilization of spaces[4]. Through the18m long pathway, the house appears to be separated from the land, creating an observatory scenery of the environment around the tower. Tsample (2013) agrees that the tower presents a nice view of the surrounding, primarily through the geometric shape of the building and elevations that provide different views of the surrounding. Tsample (2013) also embraces a quote narrated by architects Halldora Arnardottir and Javier Sanchez Merina, who stated, “His facades are not simply a question of decorating the exterior surface of a building. They express a relationship between the house’s interior with the surroundings, the movement of the sun, or the direction to an existing historical construction; they have a geometry that corresponds to the abstract of the surrounding landscape.[5].”

The design of the house defines geometric forms with a solid dedication to elemental solids. Each section and level is carefully designed to suit specific purposes. The fourth floor is oriented towards the east, with a study section embracing a perfect view of Mt. Genesoro and the lake[6]. The master bedroom suite is accompanied by its balcony area on the third floor and takes a southern view towards the meadow facing the mountain and lake. The second floor is open enough and offers a visual communication space between the children’s bedroom, a study room, and the kitchen diner[7]. The first floor comprises the social area where the living room links the kitchen-dinner, while the ground floor is designed to be a storage area with sections of laundry and car parking.


In conclusion, the architectural design of the Bianchi House is a masterpiece in the industry since it reflects the elemental solids as illustrated by Le Corbusier. It is unique and designed to suit the location perfectly without blocking the environmental view. However, the design fails to embrace the typical architecture of houses where the entrance is at the ground or lower levels of a building. Instead, it provides a creative architectural design different from the standard designs.

Relationship to Site Theme of the Bianchi House


The Bianchi house was explicitly designed to suit the location and present an architectural masterpiece[8]. Mario Botta designed the home to fit the whole family of the couple who commissioned the building. Since the building is located in a sloppy area, the design had to take a unique form that will relate to the topography and create a spectacular view of the environment[9]. Since the environment consists of a lake and a mountain, a clear picture of the surrounding was to be considered while designing the house’s orientation; hence, Botta took different perspectives into account[10]. This section will be concerned with the relationship between the environment and the home.

Relationship with the Environment

According to Archeyes, The work aims to establish a principally vertical volume concerning its surroundings, not to lose its essential link with the mountains. It is based on a clear and defined primary geometric form[11]. Terraces and spaces serve as bridges between the interior of the building and the alpine surroundings of the house. The decks are built within the block structure of the house, and are constructed on all the levels apart from the second and fourth level. Such holes are evident on the building’s south and east sides, providing a panoramic view of Lake Lugano and the mountain. On the third level, where the living room is located, a large window is designed by Botta to provide a clear view of Lake Lugano on the eastern side.

A metal bridge connects the top of the building to the old road, shaped like a 13m high, 10m square structure. The 18-meter-long gangway emphasizes the house’s detachment from the earth and displays it as an observatory of the surrounding countryside. The bridge on the entrance provides an impression of the countryside since one can look past the bridge towards Melano church situated opposite the lakeshore. The building is shaped like a carved structure with four levels that correspond with the surrounding area: Melano’s church, the lake, the meadows, the ancient green road, and the forests.[12]. Every facade’s apertures present a different view, expressing Mario’s conviction that architecture refers to a design of a location[13]. As a result, his facades are more than just a way to decorate a building’s façade. The building has a geometry relating to an abstraction of the surrounding landscape; it represents a relationship between the house interior and the environment, the orientation to an existing structure, or the position and movement of the sun[14].

Since the building was constructed around a central staircase, the spiral circulation offers a variety of views. From the entrance, on the east, there is a studio and a top balcony with views of the mountains and the lake. There is a spacious balcony on the southern side with views of the meadows. There is a play area and a bedroom on the ground floor designed for children. Furthermore, the design of bedrooms embraces a bigger space towards the roof, allowing them to visually communicate with surrounding structures below, such as the living room and kitchen.[15]. Finally, the design included a cellar and a large porch with direct access to the lower level.


In conclusion, the building presents a deep relationship with the surrounding because it does not block any surrounding features. The visibility of the surroundings prompts the conservation of the environment because if one notices the environment directly, any changes or damages can be easily detected by the residents. It is evident that Mario Botta designed the building with a keen consideration of the surroundings and needed to conserve the environment significantly since he did not alter the typical setting of the environment.


arnardóttir, halldóra. n.d. “Stories of Houses.” STORIES OF HOUSES. Accessed March 17, 2022.

Bianchi House. 2020. “Bianchi House – Data, Photos & Plans.” WikiArquitectura. July 6, 2020.

Mason, Emily. n.d. “Bianchi House, Rhino Rendering.” Behance. Accessed March 17, 2022.

McCormick, Bradford Robert. 2021. “Bianchi House at Riva San Vitale / Mario Botta.” Archies. June 1, 2021.

The Modern House. 2013. “House of the Week: House at Riva San Vitale by Mario Botta: Journal.” The Modern House. January 22, 2013.

tsample2013, LA102 ActionScapes, and tsample2013. 2013. “Mario Botta – the House at Riva San Vitale.” LA102 ActionScapes. May 15, 2013.

[1] (Bianchi House, 2020)

[2] (The Modern House, 2013)

[3] (The Modern House, 2013)

[4] (tsample2013 , 2013)

[5] (tsample2013 , 2013)

[6] (Bianchi House, 2020)

[7] (Bianchi House, 2020)

[8] (arnardóttir)

[9] (McCormick, 2021)

[10] (mason)

[11] (McCormick, 2021)

[12] (mason)

[13] (McCormick, 2021)

[14] (arnardóttir)

[15] (arnardóttir)


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