Luigi Camenisch is one of the lesser-known architects from Switzerland, who graduated from ETH Zurich and whose works and collaboration reverberate with the mid-century era of the architectural being.
Unprecedented times can often hold unforeseen opportunities, which could in time give birth to notions of symbolism or ideas, which when incubated for a period of time can lead to the manifestation of strength and reflect the relevance of its time. And often this relevance is represented in art, materializing cultural architecture, the mundane routines, and all those irregularities that are seen in a given point of time move on to become regular at a different time.
The mid-century modern architecture is known to represent the ideas of simplistic and articulated aesthetics in its truest form. The unprecedented time, the notions of modernism, and new symbols of the post-colonial period were beginning to take shape after the Second World War. This time period witnessed sprouting architects that played either major or small significant roles in changing the course of perception of architecture and visual beauty.
Luigi Camenisch is one of the lesser-known architects from Switzerland, who graduated from ETH Zurich and whose works and collaboration reverberate with the mid-century era of the architectural being. The Casa Balmelli in Rovio is one of the initial projects that seeded his career and this was done in collaboration with Tita Carloni, in the year 1956 and this collaboration lasted for about five years.
The Casa Balmeli was conceptualized with multiple layers that represented the simplicity, the strength and the obvious aesthetics of modern and contemporary architecture. The Introduction to using more angles and quaint divergence of familiar forms is very clearly illustrated in this concrete formation.
One of the most important characteristics of Mid-Century architecture is the deliberate attempt to use the paradoxical demand for spaces being ritualistically rational and organic at the same time. In this setting, the desire to use the formal integrity of the historic architecture and the importance given to the functionality, rationality and the usability of practical space while acknowledging the dramatic interactions with the context, bringing in the organic speech in its architecture. All of this aligned with the mid-century rules of design and other architectural faculty.
The floor plan is distributed progressively perpendicular with the site terrains and contours that it seemingly agrees with the line of sight of the perceiver. A sincere understanding and acknowledgement of the context are indicated while visualising the space and that has resulted in meticulously defining the spatial planning and the indoors have welcomed the outdoors into its interventional existence. The large slant windows, the sloped roof and the embedded plinth spoke volumes with nature and the context, almost a scenario created where it always will be “in conversation with life itself “.
Another project that grabbed the attention of the architectural fraternity was the bold and experimental sculpture of its time the Albergo Arizona Hotel. This drew in recognition to such an extent that the fourth issue of the notebooks of the bachelor course “Construction systems and process” was dedicated to this project that was built by Luigi Camenisch in collaboration with Tita Carloni.
Some of the works that speak a similar language and are silent contributors to the building scape of the mid-century modern architectural style that also sits well are, namely, Casa Carloni in Pregassona, Palazzo Bianchi in Lugano, An house for an Architect in Lugano and Albergo Arizona in Lugano.
It was these initial few projects with Luigi Camenisch that gave a jump-start to the careers of well-known architects such as Tita Carloni and Mario Botta who did his apprenticeship at their studio at the age of fifteen in the 1960s. It is safe to say that he is the lesser-known contributor in their lives in evidently magnificent ways, and also he is almost a significant secret that contributed to the now historic architectural scape of Switzerland.