原文：Published on the occasion of the exhibition Mario Botta /The Museum of Modern Art/November 20,1986-February 10,1987
You have acknowledged your debt to Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn and Carlo Scarpa. Would you summarize what you see as the important lessons you have drawn from each of them?
Le Corbusier, Kahn, and Scarpa are points of reference for my entire generation. I’ve had the good fortune of having had a number of direct experiences with these masters, and my own formation has been influenced by them. I believe that our manner of making architecture, our sensitivity to new problems, is grounded in the historical legacy established by the architectural culture that preceded us. In architecture, as in art, one cannot speak of progress. There is only continuity in the attempt to provide new answers for new situations.
There are no architects of my generation who do not owe something to Le Corbusier. Some of Le Corbusier’s hypotheses certainly could and should be reexamined critically, but in any case it is impossible not to take them into account. It would be like a twentieth-century painter ignoring the work of Paul Klee. Le Corbusier personified the hopes of the new architecture. What I find most fascinating and astonishing about him is his ability to translate every kind of need, hope, and thought into architectural terms. There was no political, social, or economic consideration that Le Corbusier could not in some way transform into architecture. This, perhaps, is the great lesson he has taught us.
What impressed me most about Kahn was his ability to get to the roots of problems. He had an almost messianic predisposition to focus on man’s primary needs. The edifice was always, for Kahn, a space in which to satisfy the needs and aspirations of the mind before those of the body.
As for Scarpa, what is most important was his capability and sensitivity in giving expression to materials; his ability to read into the very structure of material in order to draw the greatest possible expression from it. Then there’s also the great pleasure, the joy he derived merely from something well made.
As for what concerns I share with them, I would definitely have to say poetry is among them, as well as a hope in man beyond all reason.
What would you characterize as the essential differences between your concerns and those of Le Corbusier and Kahn in their generation?
The difference between my generation and the preceding ones is that we are better able to understand the limits of technological growth. We are better able to evaluate the dangers inherent in this growth and we can no longer delude ourselves that such problems as environmental balance, scarcity of energy resources, pollution, and so on, will take care of themselves.
For Kahn, a logically articulated structural system was an important priority in his work; in your work, structural systems and structural logic do not appear to be of equal importance. What are your priorities?
I agree that in Kahn the question of structure is very important. In my work, I don’t think structure is quite as much a determining factor. In my case, the most important factor in the elaboration of a project is the desire to respond to a particular context. Often I actually subordinate structure to this primary concern, which is a need for dialogue, for discourse with the context. For example, in my comer building in Lugano, the desire to respond to a specific situation —that is, the square diagonally in front of the building — made me break up the static stmcture. In a sense, the building, in its volume, responds to two distinct conditions: the desire to emphasize the comer itself as a strong reference point, and the desire to establish a connection with the existing urban fabric.
I believe that today there is a need for images, for emotion in architecture; a need for architecture to speak once again to people, to become “presence” once again, to become material, to reacquire a meaning that can sometimes be erotic; a need to reestablish a partnership with people, after decades in which architecture was so antiseptic, distant, after the International Style mined all possibility of communication. In this sense, the conditions for my work are quite different from what they were for Kahn, for whom stmcture had an autonomy, an importance of its own. I might also add that for me the deepest significance that an architectural object can have lies more in the relationship that it is able to establish with its context than in the object itself. The spatial relationships that it determines are more important than the object itself.