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Botta House

Berlin, Germany
1 of 5flickr.com

The residential building designed by Mario Botta is part of Wohnpark am Lützowplatz (IBA Lützowplatz Apartments) in Berlin and occupies the corner between Lützowplatz and Lützowstraße. Together with the neighboring residential units, it reconstructs the neighborhood, and was a part of the International Bauaustellung IBA Berlin 1987.

The two sides of the facade are joining the street facade, in particular with the Lützowplatz Building of Peter Cook. The two exterior elevations are covered with a clay layer. The main entrance positioned exactly on the corner, is framed by two columns high two floors. Above them, the corner facing diagonally toward the square, it is completely emptied by the presence of four loggias. As in his Ticino villas type, Botta avoids the functionalist concept of home "that opens to the city." It is in fact closed and introverted, a sort of lookout bunker in which the family feels secure. The defensive metaphor is emphasized by the rapid pace of these window-slits. Locked behind this hermetic shell wall, slightly cracked, the accommodations are estranged and almost completely divorced from the urban context.

From a formal point of view, the building is conceived as a strong sign of the Lützowplatz in the urban landscape. Compared to the design method of the modern movement, in this case, the architecture has been generated in advance through the assembly and interlocking volumes archetypal and elementary. The volume is, in fact, simple geometric and austere. Botta adopted a symmetrical central scheme, with the two strictly identical facades. They are punctuated by small square windows, all equal and equidistant from each other, arranged within a rigid reticular grid. The solid parts are formed by yellow and red bricks that form a modular composition. Botta architecture characteristic is, besides the use of the brick, the presence of visible cracks and cuts, as well as on the vertical axis of the building, even in the two horizontal incisions that empty the volumetric body on the ground floor and the first floor.