Università della Svizzera Italiana
Accademia di architettura
Mendrisio, CH
Università della Svizzera Italiana
Accademia di architettura
Villa Argentina


N 45° 52' 2.69'', E 45° 52' 2.69''

 International Office  

e: direzione.arc@usi.ch
t: + 41 58 666 5000
Prof. Arch. Marco Della Torre 
Dean's Board Coordinator
Degree programmes
Bachelor programme
Master programme
Faculty profile

Since its foundation in 1996, the Accademia di architettura has tried to follow a different path to that of polytechnical architecture schools. This aim falls within a specific vision of the contemporary architect as a professional and cultural figure, whose competence lies in a different relationship to that of the past with their techno-scientific training. Of course that training remains fundamental, and is guaranteed at the Accademia. At Mendrisio, however, it is constantly grafted onto another form of preparation: that of practical project experience. This pattern of learning, based on the direct practice of design, explains the great importance attached to the design studio in our students’ work here, supervised by professors with a vast and international experience of construction. At the Accademia students are expected to construct their own curriculum, through numerous theoretical courses. In addition to scientific and technological subjects, the courses also highlight philosophical and humanistic reflection. But precisely because it is our belief that abstract knowledge should not be absolutist, it is always backed by an education that grows with practice: just as every real architectural project is informed by that same process.

The campus is in Mendrisio, a little town in Canton Ticino, on the southern slopes of the Alps: close to Milan, immersed in Italian culture but still very Swiss. Ticino is one of the richest European districts in the history of architecture. Many important architects were born in Ticino: from medieval Maestri Comacini to Carlo Maderno, from Francesco Borromini to contemporary architects such as Mario Botta and Aurelio Galfetti (founders of the Accademia).

803 students (507 Bachelor, 276 Master, 20 PhD), 0% of foreign students.

Student Activities

The student association (AsMA) is actively involved in organizing cultural activities such as workshops, meetings, exhibitions, publications.


Exhibition hall,
Laser Cutter


Accomodation can be provided.

Admission Requirements

Please contact school for information.

Tuition fees

Please contact school for more information.

Application Deadline

Bachelor: June 1. Master: April 15.

Bachelor programme, Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree., 3-year programme, Bachelor,
Master programme, Master of Science in Architecture degree (Diploma)., 2-year programme, Master,

The studies at the Accademia di architettura are compatible with the new European University Studies System (Bologna process). The degree awarded at the end of the studies (Master of Science in Architecture) is recognized by the European Community.
The studies are divided into semesters. The first two offer an introductory training, followed by six semesters to complete the Bachelor of Science (three-year degree) – including two semesters of practical work outside the school – and another four for the Master of Science. The last semester is devoted to the diploma project.

In the first year of the Bachelor, students will have the opportunity to verify their aptitudes as they establish the theoretical and practical foundations of the architect’s education. It will present introductory lessons in the various subject areas of the Accademia’s syllabus and gain practical drafting skills in the architectural design studios. The course of studies includes a period of work experience in a firm for a minimum total duration of two semesters, to enable students to acquire the essential skills in using drafting instruments. In the subsequent semesters, students will develop their theoretical knowledge and practical skills by attending lectures on historical-humanistic and technical-scientific subjects as well as the design studios (ateliers).
Courses in historical-humanistic and technical-scientific subjects cover the following subject areas: Philosophy, Theory of Art and Architecture, Culture of the Territory, Ecology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Structures, Technology.
Architectural design will be of central importance through the whole course of studies and will be closely related to the teaching of the historical-humanistic and technical-scientific subjects. The design work will be organized in design studios. Guided by a professor or chargé de cours assisted by two architects, design studios will have a maximum of 24 students. Attendance at studio sessions is compulsory. In terms of course loads and credits earned, the design studios amount to half of the course requirements.

The Master of Science in Architecture offers the opportunity to acquire the most advanced theoretical knowledge and operative skills for the practice of contemporary architectural design. Architectural design is taught through its disciplinary foundations and is closely related with technological innovation, environmental issues, models of territorial management and the themes of restoration and reestablishment of the historical, architectural and environmental heritage.
The objective the Master pursues is to train professionals who, on the basis of the acquired awareness and in-depth knowledge of the complexity of current architectural practice, are competent both to carry out the functions of direct architectural design and to coordinate the different specialists involved in professional projects.
The study programme consists of a series of theoretical lectures and design studios dedicated to arguments and methods of architectural design in its different forms (housing, services industry, culture, etc.) and scales (from interior design to the architectural structure all the way up to the urban and territorial plan).
The programme draws on three different but correlated teaching approaches. The first consists in theoretical courses pertaining to the methodological, technological and historical knowledge that will enable future architects to explore central themes of contemporary architectural culture critically. The second approach is embodied in the so called horizontal design studios and combines theoretical consideration with practical design work carried out on individual case studies. The third approach entails, each semester, the choice of a design studio which focuses on a specific project typology, whether architectural or urban.

The PhD programme offers the possibility to brilliant students to continue their academic studies by proposing a research project to a professor of the Accademia.