There are buildings that seem to be detached from the environmental logic in which they are placed, and which hold a mysterious aura.

They are "metaphysical" places, agonising survivors of worlds that have now vanished or curious alien objects, which seem to come from possible future worlds.

They are spaces, geometries, materials that make up suspended atmospheres, on the borderline between reality and dream, between real and invisible.


"Metaphysical" Places: Ghosts of the Past and Visions from the Future

With its large communal spaces, its monumental shapes, the geometric cleanliness, the clever play of solids and voids, and its chromatic combinations, the housing complex designed by architect Mario Botta in Novazzano retains a certain futuristic charm, like a utopian (or dystopian) city.

The immense empty central space and the slabbed pylons give the impression of the ruins of an ancient temple, or of a magnificent disused theatre. The contrast between the majesty of elevation and the calm of abandonment makes it a melancholy landscape of the mind: "already we are the oblivion we shall be". 



Like an alien spaceship descended from outer space, the Oval Centre breaks the surrounding geometric monotony, transforming junctions and roundabouts. Inside, the imposing concrete shell houses a multi-storey structure, whose irregular and organic shapes create an atmosphere that is both archaic and futuristic.

There is something magnetic in the vastness of these spaces, in which the sounds of the past, the mechanical vibrations, the industrious bustle of bodies and machines still seem to echo. This fascinating place, similar to a giant decomposing Leviathan, still commands great respect.

A periscope that explores the horizon of the future and rises up in the landscape like a colossal twisted sculpture. A tower of breath-taking precision and bare complexity, which dares to rival the mighty ruggedness of the mountains.

An intriguing object that arouses curiosity because of its location in the surrounding landscape. The severity of the dimensions and the imposing grandeur are reminiscent of a Romanesque building. The bare interiors, illuminated only by the diffused light that penetrates from above and erases the shadows, invite contemplation.

This story has been edited by

Francesco Rizzi

Francesco Rizzi is a screenwriter and director from Ticino. After studying Literature and Art History in Freiburg, he graduated in Film Direction in Rome. He currently lives and works between Ticino and Zurich.