Architect, teacher, a man of culture, and a civic leader. Tita Carloni was born in Rovio on 24 June 1931. As an ambitious kid, he picked up the rudiments of art and drawing from his father and later graduated in architecture at the Zurich Polytechnic in 1954. Immediately after graduation, he got engaged with practice with architects Peppo Brivio in Locarno, Rino Tami in Lugano, and Boileau et Bourdette in Paris. In 1956 he opened a studio in partnership with Luigi Camenisch in Lugano, which was the turning point in his early career. His first important works notably were Casa Balmelli in Rovio and Casa Carloni in Pregassona. In the later years with a boom in his career, he also collaborated with architects Livio Vacchini and Luigi Snozzi, which gave rise to some of his remarkable works. From 1970- 1980, he dedicated his time to his political life and as a professor of design and theory at the School of Architecture of the University of Geneva until 1991. However, this didn’t prevent him from working in Ticino. The city of Ticino mourned for one of it’s most ambitious men as he died in November 2012.
1. Casa Del Popolo
The Casa del Popolo represents the turning point in the architect’s career, where he pushed boundaries to create a different architecture. From all his works, this building stands out. The building is designed as follows: the ground floor is composed of restaurants; the first four floors are dedicated to offices and in the last two a hotel. The articulation of these functional volumes is extremely flexible. The façade reflects the freedom of space and is divided into three main parts on different heights.
2. Casa Balmelli, San Vigilio
One among the first works of Tita Carloni, architecture rooted in time and space is the casa Balmelli, designed between 1956 and 1957. The house is positioned in a way to create a dialogue with its site characteristics. Designed on the hilltop, the house has three bedrooms, which are at different heights, connected by a staircase corridor to minimize excavation. The sequence of pitch shaped roofs resonates with similarity with a ‘shed’, creating a dynamic tension between diagonals of the roof and the contour of the ground.
3. Building With Shops And Apartments, Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
Built-in the new setting of Piazza Battaglini, towards the breathtaking view of the ocean in Lugano is this building located in. Composed of 3 blocks: the building comprises two side blocks of six storeys each with a central stepped four-storey block. The exposed structure stands out in the facade and establishes the plot. The ground floor is composed of sops while the upper storeys hold the housing spaces.
4. Apartment House Via Beltramina, Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
Designed during 1976-1979, the apartment house is one amongst the most commendable works of Tita Carnoli both in form and technique. Buffered with facing bricks is the modular reinforced concrete structure on which the building is placed. The concrete pillars spectacularly highlight the modular blocks and divide them into commercial spaces. The cathedral was open to the public in the year 1980 and has continued to spread its glory since then.
5. School House, Stabio
During the 1970s, ‘small is beautiful’ was a popular motto among the swiss architects. Flexibility and system construction became dominant. Tita Carloni did not design the building linearly from the function rather from the site characteristics, morphology, and urban conception.
6. Restoration of San Lorenzo Cathedral, Lugano
Hovering high above the medieval city core, the magnificent San Lorenzo is worth a visit, even today. Carloni carried out the restoration work of this magnificent Cathedral during 1998-2003. The splendid Renaissance façade, Romanesque structure, and series of frescoes hail all justice to its glory.
7. Church of San Giovanni Battista, Gnosca
The first restoration was never carried out thoroughly but the second was entrusted to Tita Carloni in 1993. The restructuring plan never intended to restore its function but instead to enhance the form and space of the basilica thereby making it flexible enough to have a variety of uses. The masonry was reinforced and some missing blocks were added to do so. The dilapidated flooring was re-laid in concrete blocks. Cleverly enough, modern materials such as concrete blocks were chosen to harmonize with stone both in color and appearance.
8. Casa S.Vigilio, Rovio
The famous single house at via vigillo Rovio was one of the most remarkable works of Tita Carloni designed in the year 1974 overlooking the lake and the heritage of Vigilio. The functional spaces of this villa are sunken under the contours of the mountains. The first basement level comprises the living room, pantry, and the master bedroom whereas the second basement consists of a guest room making it the perfect holiday home.
9. Casa Perucchi, Arosio
Materiality being key, this villa was designed in 1968-1970, to its full potential to bring out the beauty of the local stone that was the primary material used in the exteriors. The plinth emerges from the earth and becomes the base from which the structure starts, cladded with natural wood. The harmonic composition is defined by the size, color, and pattern of stones and wood.
10. Casa Jelmorini, Pregassona
Designed in 1966, Villa Jelmorini set an example among the new buildings being constructed at the time. Moving away from conventional materials and adopting new materials replicating the color, texture and shape of the conventional brick was a technique introduced by Tita Carloni and followed by many.
11. Albergo Arizona, Lugano
Tita Carloni was appointed to design the Albergo Arizona in 1954 just a few months after graduating. It is a 7 storey building accommodating 60 rooms, flanked towards the north and southeast side of the two towers. As the central core foreshadowed the solution adopted by the architect, the plan of the hotel was articulated differently thereby adding shops, bars, and grill rooms on the ground floor. This solution led to a Y shaped building further guaranteeing best views to rooms.
12. Villa In Rovio
This architecturally eccentric villa is one of the most important masterpieces in the career of Tita Carloni. Well integrated into its surrounding landscape, this villa is one of its kind due to its impeccable design and prudently selected materials. Elevated in position, this property enjoys breathtaking views of the mountain ranges and lake Laguna, also paving a path for the ideal setting to relax and take walks amidst mountains, lake, and this splendid villa.
13. Villa Gerosa, Rancate
The generously large living room spread across 2,400 m2 opening up to nature is the most captivating part of this villa. The challenge was to define a new dimension constructively. To reflect the natural setting, the ceiling of the immense living room was detailed in wood. The monumental brick fireplace protruding outwards like a sculpture brings in dynamism in space.
14. Pinacoteca Cantonale Giovanni Züst, Rancate
The art gallery located in Rancate was opened in 1967, initially built by Valente Botta. Built-in a parish house, suggested renovations in the art gallery which was done by Tita Carloni To the existing volume, Carloni added an elongated mass in the southern end containing two intended galleries exclusively for paintings of Giuseppe Antonio Petrini and to the south-east the building opened up to the magnificent views of the valley and village of Mendrisio. The road leading to the art gallery from Mendrisio was opened up and made wider by eliminating the wing.
15. Lausanne Polytechnic Master Plan Lausanne, Switzerland
The Lausanne project sited in the countryside in Lausanne was designed in 1970 in collaboration with Mario Botta. Its non-hierarchical structure being flexible and expandable consists of a square grid with infill university buildings and the pedestrian circulation spine cutting through it, at an angle. The residual areas serve as large garden spaces and breakout zones which are considered as expansion areas for future development.
These unarticulated open spaces allow activities within these blocks to be flexible and easily interchangeable.