Quando il Moderno cerca radici. Casa Balmelli di Tita Carloni e Luigi Camenisch

When the Modern puts down roots. Casa Balmelli of Tita Carloni and Luigi Camenisch


Nicola Navone
(Lugano, 1967) is vice director of the “Archivio del Moderno”, professor at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio - Università della Svizzera italiana, and a member of the Doctoral College “Architecture. Innovation and Heritage” - Università degli Studi Roma Tre.
Keywords: Cantone Ticino, Modernism, organicism, Organic Architecture, geometry, materials
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The article reconstructs the genesis of Casa Balmelli, designed and built in Rovio (Canton Ticino) in 1956-1957 by Tita Carloni and Luigi Camenisch. Among Carloni’s first works in Ticino after the completion of his studies at the ETH Zurich, Casa Balmelli has often been presented as an example of the current of Organic Architecture that developed in Ticino in the 1950s and saw a particularly flourishing phase in the following decade. However, while the house certainly embodies organic features by aiming at a perfect integration with its surroundings through the use of natural materials and the geometric reinterpretation of the landforms of its setting, its internal spatial qualities have little to do, for instance, with Wrightian models. Rather, the ordering function attributed to geometry is its most notable quality and is a common denominator of the research conducted in Ticino on the organic architecture front: a geometry that relates to the characteristics of the site and seeks a certain degree of formal abstraction.