|IL FONDACO DEI TEDESCHI, ITALY, VENICE, 2010|
|Renovation and redefinition of landmark building in Venice|
By OMA © All rights reserved
First constructed in 1228, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi was a trading post for German merchants before becoming a customs house under Napoleon in 1806. Depicted by Canaletto and other masters, and photographed numberless times as the impressive but anonymous backdrop for the Rialto, the Fondaco - at 11,000m2 one of Venice's largest buildings - now stands as a muted icon of the Venetian mercantile era. Twice destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 16th century, the Fondaco was radically altered again in the 1930s, its structure almost completely replaced by reinforced concrete to allow its new use as a post office. The Fondaco has constantly reshaped itself, accumulating many layers of 'authenticity': its preservation is a history of change.
Fondaco's current role as a post office has diminished in tandem
with the native population of Venice: an annual decline of 1.2
percent mirrors the gradual emptying out of the building. Today, it
is largely unused for the first time in centuries. The latest
evolution of the Fondaco will reactivate the building a thriving
contemporary trading post, in the form of a modern department
store. In tandem with the department store, the renovation will
create three major areas of commerce-free public space.
The gallerias, which will remain untouched, will form a public promenade.
courtyard will become a major public hub. As well as new entrances
to the building from Campo San Bartolomeo and the Rialto, existing
shortcuts through the courtyard, used by locals, will be retained.
The escalator reaching from the courtyard to the gallerias can be
lifted up, freeing the courtyard for a program of public events as
part of cultural masterplan: film screenings, performances,
Art Newspaper, October 2010
Partner in charge:
Concept: Andreas Kofler, Augustin Perez-Torres, Miriam Roure Parera, Carlos Pena
Research and Cultural Master Plan: Andrew Chau,
Augustine Perez-Torres, Kayoko Ota, Marco de Battista, Miriam Roure
Parera, Pietro Pagliaro