Luigi Snozzi

Luigi Snozzi (born 29 July 1932 in Mendrisio and died 29 December 2020 in Minusio1) was a Swiss architect.


Snozzi studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich from 1952 to 1957. After graduating, he did internships with the Ticino architects Peppo Brivio in Locarno and Rino Tami in Lugano. In 1958 he opened his own architectural practice in Locarno. Modern architecture was largely exotic in Ticino at the time. Snozzi had studied at the ETH Zurich together with his equally famous colleagues Livio Vacchini and Aurelio Galfetti; their common feature was the obvious reference to modernist architecture. Snozzi worked with Livio Vacchini from 1962 to 1971. From 1973 to 1975, Snozzi was a guest lecturer in architectural design at the ETH Zurich. From 1975 to 1988, Snozzi maintained a second office in Zurich with his office partner Bruno Jenni. It was not until 1985, ten years after his guest lectureship in Zurich, that Snozzi finally became a full professor at the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale) in Lausanne, where he taught until 1997. From 1986 to 1988, Luigi Snozzi was chairman of the design advisory board of the city of Salzburg. In 1988, Snozzi then opened a second office in Lausanne.

Snozzi's central position in the Ticino school of architecture was presented to a broad public for the first time with the exhibition "Tendencies - New Architecture in Ticino" in 1975 at the Institute for History and Theory of Architecture at the ETH Zurich. From this time onwards, his influence on the younger generation of architects in Switzerland increased - and can hardly be overestimated to this day. Modernist architecture is a constant point of reference for Snozzi's work, which the "self-confessed socialist", however, never adapts uncritically. Snozzi does not make a decisive break with the past, but rather understands history as an impulse for the new. His credo is: "You don't have to invent architecture, you just have to rediscover it."

Beyond all clichés and against great resistance, Snozzi, who was also politically committed, was able to realise his idea of reinterpreting small-scale urban life in the impressive example of the revitalisation of the village of Monte Carasso (from 1977), which he transformed from a fragmented settlement deprived of its structures into a place of identification again with various interventions, his architecture never being obtrusively fashionable, but always restrained and submitting to the purpose, yet always full of poetry.

A fan of concrete and austere lines, he designed, among other things, the primary school in San Nazzaro and the Casa Bianchini in Brissago (Ticino).

He was elected a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts in 19942.

Luigi Snozzi died in Minusio on 29 December 2020, aged 88, after contracting Covid-19.

Architectural language

Snozzi's buildings, often executed in exposed concrete, are not autonomous objects, but always seek a relationship with the city. Snozzi only develops his architecture through a precise "reading of the place". In his aphorisms, too, he persistently emphasises the important dialogue between individual buildings and the city. "I love the city," Snozzi confesses.


  • 1959: Casa Stratmann, San Nazzaro (TI)
  • 1962-1965: Administration building Fabrizia, Bellinzona with Livio Vacchini
  • 1964-1966: Casa Snider, Verscio with Livio Vacchini and engineer Alessandro Rima
  • 1970-1974: Condominio Collina, Locarno
  • 1975-1976: Casa Kalman, Brione sopra Minusio
  • since 1977: Urban planning and several residential buildings, Monte Carasso
  • 1977: Casa Bianchetti, Locarno (Monti della Trinita)
  • 1977-1979: Constantini office building, Minusio
  • 1981-1984: Raiffeisenbank, Monte Carasso
  • 1982-1984: Sports hall, Monte Carasso
  • 1983-1984: Sports club, Monte Carasso
  • 1985: Casa Barbarossa, Minusio
  • 1977-1987: Renovation of the Madonna del Sasso monastery complex, Orselina
  • 1985-1987: Apartment house Bianchini, Brissago with Bruno Barosso, Gian Franco Chiappini, Michele Arnaboldi, Maurizio Vicedomini
  • 1988-1990: Casa Diener, Ronco sopra Ascona
  • 1987-1993: Primary school, Monte Carasso
  • 1983-1994: Parish centre, Lenzburg
  • 1992-1995: Casa Cassina, Bellinzona
  • 1992-1995: Giannini and Salzborn houses, Cureglia
  • 1996: Masterplan residential development Neues Bauen am Horn with Adolf Krischanitz & Diener & Diener
  • 1993-2002: Residential row "STOA", Maastricht
  • 2003: Stadthof, Sursee
  • 2004: Casa Gobbi, Tegna
  • 2004-2008: Extension primary school, Monte Carasso
  • 2009-2011: Casa Stefano Guidotti, Monte Carasso
  • 1993-2013: Administration Centre with Sabine Snozzi Groisman and Gustavo Groisman

Awards and memberships

  • 1983: Honorary member of the Association of German Architects BDA
  • 1994: Member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin and honorary member of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects SIA
  • 2013: Honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University of Munich
  • 2018: Prix Meret Oppenheim


  • "If you build a path, a house, a neighbourhood, then think of the city!"
  • "Every intervention implies destruction, destroy with understanding."
  • "There is nothing new to invent, everything is to be reinvented."
  • "Architecture is 'EMPTINESS', it is up to you to define it."
  • "Variety is the prelude to monotony. If you want to avoid monotony, repeat your element!"

Former collaborators

  • 1966-1981: Walter von Euw
  • 1979-1985: Michele Arnaboldi
  • 1982-1985: Raffaele Cavadini


  • Roger Diener
  • Jacques Herzog
  • Pierre de Meuron

Dutch architect Jo Coenen studied with Snozzi in Locarno in 1977. When Coenen drew up the master plan for the Céramique district in Maastricht at the end of the 1980s, he came up with a partial assignment for his teacher. Snozzi designed the Stoa apartment complex, a more than 300-metre long building on the Charles Eyck Park with 131 luxury flats, all with a view of the Meuse.


  • Pierre-Alain Croset Luigi Snozzi, Progetti e architetture 1957-1984, Electa, Milano 1984, (ISBN 88-435-1290-0)
  • Luigi Snozzi und das Politiche in der Architektur, DU Nr 11, Tages Anzeiger AG, Zurich 1989, ISSN /?/
  • Snozzi Vacchini Galfetti, 1960-1990, Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki 1990, (ISBN 951-9229-64-7)
  • Peter Dish Luigi Snozzi, Costruzioni e progetti 1958-1993, ADV, Lugano 1994, (ISBN 88-7922-005-5)
  • Luigi Snozzi and Fabio Merlini L'architecture inefficiente 2016, Cosa Mentale Publishing, (ISBN 978-2-9557010-1-0)


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Critical Regionalism
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Luigi Snozzi


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This page was last changed on 2021-09-21.