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Autosilo Balestra, multi storey car park and shopping centre, Carlo Cesarini, Lugano, 1978 Ticino, Swiss brutalism. Explore more on Heartbrut.com

Autosilo Balestra

Picture of Words & Photography: Karin Bürki

Words & Photography: Karin Bürki

Autosilo Balestra may look like a weather-beaten boulder in Lugano’s chic financial district. But this old but bold relic of the car age is here to stay.

Designed by Carlo Cesarini, Autosilo is a Brutalist (or ‘nudi et crudi’ in Italian) car park and mini shopping centre in Lugano’s financial district. Its fortress-like appearance and zigzag lines cut into the sky like saw blades. The ageing concrete boulder stands in sharp contrast with the sleek and shiny Mario Botta postmodernism of its neighbourhood. But Autosilo Balestra’s lack of facelifts has its trumps: it offers a rare, authentic glimpse into the car-positive Swiss shopping experience of the late seventies.

For extra 70s vibes, make a pit stop at the snack bar – another 70s original – before venturing down to the dingy underground bus terminal. It is an impressive reminder of the pecking order between people, cars and public transport back then.
In 2011, a driver managed to crash his Ford Mustang through the solid concrete wall on the fourth floor. After a spectacular fall of 15 metres, the Mustang landed in the motorcycle parking space. The car was a total write-off. Three motorcycles were crushed by falling concrete. The 24-year-old driver escaped with minor injuries.
Autosilo Balestra, multi storey car park and shopping centre, Carlo Cesarini, Lugano, 1978 Ticino, Swiss brutalism. Explore more on Heartbrut.com

© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut

© Karin Bürki/Heartbrut

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