Giovanni Battista (Tita) Carloni was a Swiss-Italian architect and politician. His birth town was Rovio, in the district of Lugano, Switzerland. He was born on 24th June 1931. He had a family background which gave him the first idea of buildings and drawings. His father, Taddeo Carloni was a painter and teacher at the School of Applied Arts in Lugano.  He since Tita’s childhood developed an understanding of the culture of buildings and drawings in the young mind which ultimately over time led to the creation of the architectural marvels by Carloni. After his high school studies, he picked the architecture field for further studies and went to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich for his course. 

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Architectural Works

Carloni had a diploma degree in Architecture and also worked with Architects Rino Tami, Peppo Brivio and Boileauu et Bourdette at Lugano, Locarno and Paris respectively which shaped his early understanding of architecture into a professional one. In 1956, he started his architectural firm in Lugano with Luigi Camenisch. Some important works that they did together were Casa Balmelli in Rovio, Palazzo Bianchi in Lugano, the Albergo Arizona in Lugano and Casa Carloni in Pregassona.

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Ideology

The initial works of Tita Carloni as an architect represents his idea of not being so coherent with the interesting and attractive creations but his main focus was always to justify the actual requirements of a project. In other words, rather than making a project look interesting, Carloni tried to solve out requirements and problems to the maximum extent possible. The motive of Carloni behind his designs is to get maximum functionality out of the design through justified use of the resources available along with the proper amalgamation of site context and construction techniques. The selection of suitable materials had always been a plus point with Carloni’s designs. His special attention to the details in the design always led to highly functional outputs.

Philosophy

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The concepts and criteria followed by Tita Carloni often led to contradictory thoughts about rational and organic drives. The rationality in terms of working discipline but was often the workforce available led to failure in the achievement of the criteria thus diluted the rationality. The attention to the construction materials and the geographical context of the site along with the elaborate detailing of design elements which was supposed to be given was not always provided. In some way, it can be inferred that his concepts were not much like Le Corbusier but more like Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto. His architectural judgments were based on the progressive needs and the tradition of the building.

One of his projects was a turning point in the architect’s career. The Casa del Popolo in Lugano, Switzerland was the project in which he advanced his frontiers to try some different styles of architecture. It was one of his works that stands out and attracts the attention of the viewers. It is a G+6 floor building having a restaurant on the ground floor, then the next four floors are provided for offices and the top two floors are dedicated for a hotel.

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Other than Architectural Practices

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Though in the later period of his life before entering into the teaching profession, Carloni got involved in politics. He was a member of the Federal Commission for the Preservation of Monuments (EKD) from 1960 to 1967. And later, he represented the Partito Socialista Autonomo (PSA) in the Grand Council of the Canton of Ticino from 1971 to 1976. From the year 1968 to 1991, he involved himself in the teaching field and taught at the School of Architecture of the University of Geneva. He has also been on the jury from time to time for architectural competitions. 

Due to getting involved in politics, his projects became limited and his architectural philosophy could not evolve into some upgraded version but one must accept that his philosophy in the early period was amazing enough to create highly functional architectural marvels. As seen in his works of early and late-life, the idea of using and blending the available resources of all kinds, most efficiently to get the maximum possible functionality of the buildings, shows how important it is for us today to go back to his time and understand his concepts so that we can apply them towards achieving more and more sustainable designs in the coming future.

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Tita Carloni died on 24th November 2012 in Mendrisio at an age of 81 years. He was a multi rounder, an architect, a teacher, a man of culture, and a politician. He was one of the most renowned architects of Ticino and every one mourned for him. He has gone from this world but his wonderful creations will always keep him alive in everyone’s heart. He will always be loved and remembered by us for the contribution he gave to this world. 

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Reference:

  • RTF | Rethinking The Future. (2020). Tita Carloni- 15 Iconic Projects. [online] Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/know-your-architects/a2118-tita-carloni-15-iconic-projects/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
  • hls-dhs-dss.ch. (n.d.). Carloni, Tita. [online] Available at: https://hls-dhs-dss.ch/it/articles/027325/2012-12-13/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
  • Ticinonline. (2012). È morto l’architetto Tita Carloni. [online] Available at: https://www.tio.ch/ticino/cronaca/709009/e-morto-l-architetto-tita-carloni [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
  • www.hochparterre.ch. (n.d.). Hochparterre – Erinnerung an Tita Carloni. [online] Available at: https://www.hochparterre.ch/nachrichten/architektur/blog/post/detail/erinnerung-an-tita-carloni/1354099541/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
  • www.fondazioneaat.ch. (n.d.). Fondazione Archivi Architetti Ticinesi. [online] Available at: http://www.fondazioneaat.ch/index.php?page=36 [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
  • www.vitruvio.ch. (n.d.). Vitruvio.ch. [online] Available at: https://www.vitruvio.ch/00_vitruvio_20/autoweb/maestro.php?id=291&titolo=Tita%20Carloni [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
  • Martinelli, P. (2014). Tita Carloni architetto e uomo politico | Espazium. [online] www.espazium.ch. Available at: https://www.espazium.ch/it/attualita/tita-carloni-architetto-e-uomo-politico [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
Author

Shreya Sinha, a passionate future architect. Interested in Sustainable Design and Planning of our buildings and spaces, her driving force is her wish to contribute to creating the world a better place for our future generations. She loves listening to music and exploring nature's beauty with her adventurous trips.

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