Image 0 - The school of Mendrisio.  A Project
Image 1 - The school of Mendrisio.  A Project
Image 2 - The school of Mendrisio.  A Project
Image 3 - The school of Mendrisio.  A Project

The school of Mendrisio. A Project

The Academy of Architecture has always offered and exhibited annually to its public a show devoted to its curriculum and of the results achieved during the semesters of teaching activity and the work of its students.

With a completely new format compared to past editions, this year's exhibition once again aims to showcase the work produced collectively by the academic community during the period 2022/23. On the premises of the Teatro dell'architettura, the intent is to show the general public, and not just insiders, the range of teaching and activities conducted on the USI campus in Mendrisio. Here the purpose is to train new generations of architects with a specific and original educational imprint while transmitting knowledge of the discipline. This innovative and experimental project is a legacy of the founders of the Mendrisio school, who wisely judiciously laid the groundwork for it in 1996, the year when the Academy of Architecture was established.

At the same time, the exhibition is also an opportunity to reflect further on the nature of a school of architecture. In fact, after the withdrawal of its founders from teaching, the Academy of Architecture has the duty and the necessary task of continuing to rethink itself in order to plan its future in terms of its educational offering, while following in the path laid down 27 years ago by Mario Botta and Aurelio Galfetti.

In the 1900s, Pompier academicism, fostered by the École des Beaux-Arts, was undermined by the example provided by the Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin. In 1933, the Nazis’ closure of the school founded by Walter Gropius spread modernist principles across the rest of Europe and especially the United States, as a result of the diaspora of the former teaching staff who found refuge there. In Chicago, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, having to revise the syllabus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, reiterated his intention to move away from stylistic academicism: ‘We don’t teach them solutions; we teach them a way to solve problems.’ For this reason we decided that the exhibition should include a brief outline of the principles guiding the formation of some schools in the last century, important models for the educational programmes of schools of architecture in the twenty-first century. They are: the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Florence, the Architectural Association in London, the University Institute of Architecture in Venice and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York.

The exhibition begins on the ground floor of the Teatro dell'architettura with a presentation of the design studios and those of visual representation and spatial awareness in the first year of the BSc course, and then continues in the two galleries on the upper floors. The layout proceeds with a display of the activities related to the following years in the different educational areas, organised by sections. These range from the historical-humanist disciplines to the culture of the territory and landscape, from those related to conscious, traditional, innovative and sustainable construction technologies to the exact sciences, from the techniques of representation and workshops for the cinema and photography for architecture to courses devoted to design for the ephemeral. Confirming the importance and centrality of the architectural project in the Academy's educational path, the gallery on the second floor presents the results of the design studios divided into groups according to the intentions and vocations they express: from those devoted to housing for individual and collective residences to those for architecture on a territorial scale, from studios to design the reuse of the existing heritage to those that embody values in the name of ‘critical internationalism’.

The exhibition is interspersed with a series of interviews conducted with students, assistants and lecturers to represent the broad and varied community that animates the campus of the Mendrisio school.

The exhibition is the result of the collective work of students, assistants, lecturers and professors - who supplied the texts, projects, images, and models - as well as the organisational support of the staff of the USI Academy of Architecture.


  • OPENING Mon: Chiuso / Closed / Geschlossen / Fermé
    Tue... Fri: 14:00 - 18:00
    Sat... Sun: Chiuso / Closed / Geschlossen / Fermé
  • CATEGORIES Exhibitions and fairs