Mario Botta started his career in 1958 as an intern in the office of architects Tita Carloni and Luigi Camenisch in Lugan, Switzerland. During 1961-64 he attended the Liceo Artistico in Milan and then continued to study architecture at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia.
In 1965 Botta got an internship in the office of Le Corbusier where he assisted on the plans for a hospital in Venice, which was never realized. Four years later he founded his own architect’s studio in Lugano and from 1970 on to 1987 he was a lecturer in architecture at both University of Lausanne and the Yale School of Architecture, New Haven. During the early 1970s Botta designed numerous buildings in Switzerland (among other Riva San Vitale) as well as in Tel Aviv, Tokyo, San Francisco and Seoul.
In 1985 Botta designed the iconic lamp Shogun for Artemide and in the same year he became a member of the Federal Art Commission in Switzerland, a position he held until 1987. As furniture designer Botta is most famous for the 601 Prima and the 602 Seconda chairs, designed to Alias in 1982. The concept is strictly minimalistic combined with refined, unexpected industrial details, typical for the High-Tech style from the 1980s. In 2023 Botta became the recipient of the Archiproducts Design Award for the 601 Prima chair.
In 1986 Botta had his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ten years later he founded the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland and in 2011 he moved his architectural office to the same city. In 2014 Botta received the Javier Carvajal Award by the Universidad de Navarra.