Ticino architect Luigi Snozzi dies

Luigi Snozzi in 1996 Keystone / Str

Luigi Snozzi, considered the leader of the so-called new Ticino school of architecture, has died aged 88 in Minusio, southern Switzerland.

This content was published on December 30, 2020 - 17:02

Snozzi died on Tuesday at the Casa Rea old people’s home in Minusio, according to Swiss public radioExternal link, RSI. The cause of death was Covid-19.

Born in Mendrisio in 1932, Snozzi graduated from the federal technology institute ETH Zurich. He worked in Locarno (1958), Zurich (1975-88) and Lausanne (1988), and collaborated with Mario Botta, Tita Carloni, Aurelio Galfetti, Bruno Jenni (his brother-in-law) and Livio Vacchini.

He taught at the federal technology institutes in Zurich and Lausanne (EPFL), as well as at various universities and schools of architecture in Switzerland and abroad.

“The aim of teaching architecture is not simply the forming of brilliant and skilful architects, but rather that of intellectual critics endowed with a moral conscience,” Snozzi said during his inaugural lecture at the EPFL in 1987.

In 1996 he represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. In 2018 he was awarded the Meret Oppenheim Prize.

Role of the city

Snozzi's buildings, often realised in exposed concrete, always strive for a relationship with the city.

“I would say the biggest problem today for architects is the city, and for that reason it is important in architectural education to start with the problem of the city,” he said in an interview with the AEFoundationExternal link.

“Whereas usually in education one starts with a small project – a little house or something like that – I think that instead I would rather start with giving them a piece of the city to design. You first have to learn about the city and then you can do a house because that is in a sense out of context with the city and it’s the most difficult project because every single room has different requirements; living room, bedroom, kitchen and so on.”

His most famous works include the Snider and Cavalli houses in Verscio; his urban planning projects include the redevelopment of the convent area in Monte Carasso.

“Any intervention implies destruction,” he once said. “Destroy consciously, and with joy.”

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