Mario Botta is a famous modern architect born in Mendrisio, Ticino canton, Switzerland. He studied at the Liceo Artistico in Milan and the IUAV in Venice. His ideas were influenced by Le Corbusier, Carlo Scarpa, Louis Kahn.
He opened his own practice in 1970 in Lugano. He designed his first buildings at age 16, a two-family house at Morbio Superiore in Ticino. While the arrangements of spaces in this structure is inconsistent, its relationship to its site, separation of living from service spaces, and deep window recesses echo of what would become his stark, strong, towering style.
Botta's designs tend to include a strong sense of geometry, often being based on very simple shapes, yet creating unique volumes of space. His buildings are often made of brick, yet his use of material is wide, varied, and often unique. His trademark style can be seen widely in Switzerland particularly the Ticino region and also in the Mediatheque in Villeurbanne (1988), a cathedral near Évry (1995), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art or SFMoMA (1994). Recently (1998) he designed the new bus station for Vimercate (near Milan), an impressive red brick building linked to many facilities, underlining the city's recent development. He worked on La Scala's theatre renovation, which proved controversial as preservationists feared that historic details would be lost. On January 1, 2006 he received the Grand Officer award from President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. In 2006 he designed his first ever spa, the Bergoase Spa in Arosa, Switzerland. The spa opens in December 2006 and cost an estimated CHF 35 million. Mario Botta participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project in 2007.