Today I took a day trip to see Mario Botta's Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista in Mogno, Switzerland, but it wasn't the church that inspired a religious experience. It was the bus ride. For a full 30 minutes, our normal-size (aka pretty damn large) bus navigated a ton of 180-degree switchbacks, one right after the other, with nothing but sheer cliffs on one side and vertical wall on the other. I don't know how I didn't throw up and/or have a panic attack, but I didn't—in fact, I had a huge smile on my face the entire time. That has to prove the existence of some kind of higher power, right? That or it just proves the skill of our trusty bus driver, who told me later that he's been running this route for 28 years.
Oh and the church was gorgeous too, as you'll see in the nifty video farther below. The exterior's stripes and the interior's checkerboard effect were made using two types of stone that were mined locally (Peccia marble and Vallemaggia granite), and interestingly the church has no windows—just natural light coming through a glass roof.
The village's original place of worship was built way back in 1626, but when a landslide brought it down in the 1980s, they eventually called in Swiss architect Mario Botta to come up with something new (if his name sounds vaguely familiar it's from last year's criticism of the SFMOMA extension, which kind of obliterated Botta's original museum building). If you look closely, you might notice some similarities between his SFMOMA design and this church.
Whatever. It's not like he's the first architect to lazily recycle an idea. He's not even the first I've called out on this particular trip.
Anyway, here's the video followed by some arty shots of the church, because I am a #photographer now. Cue the funky music!