Following a catastrophic double avalanche that swept away most of the village of Mogno in the remote Magia valley near Locarno, Switzerland, in April 1986, the mayor of the town, Giovan Luigi Dazio, called on Mario Botta to design a replacement for the 17th-century church that had stood there. Botta’s response for the 178 m.sq. site was an unusual oval plan that resembles a truncated cylinder in elevation.
The design drew substantial criticism, which delayed the construction and incidentally led to Botta receiving another commission for a chapel on the Monte Tamaro, near Bellinzona. Clad in white Peccia marble and Riveo gray granite, both of which are locally mined, the completed chapel in Mogno is a defiant symbol of architectural solidity, affirmed in opposition to the tower of nature.
The alternating bands of white and gray together with the density of the stone evoke Romanesque architecture, of which Botta is admittedly quite fond, while the strict use of a modern geometric vocabulary makes it clear that this is no pastiche.
Jodidio P. Building a New Millennium: Architecture Today and Tomorrow. Taschen., 1999. P. 110-111.