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David Chipperfield to transform 16th Century Procuratie Vecchie on Venice’s Piazza San Marco
Italy Architecture News - Oct 9, 2017 - 12:58 12237 views
World-renowned architect David Chipperfield has been selected to renovate and reconfigure Venice's 16th Century building Procuratie Vecchie, located on the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Following an international competition, David Chipperfield Architects was selected by the Italian insurance company Generali to transform this historic building into a new venue of art exhibitions and seminars, as well as to become the hub of a new initiative - called The Human Safety Net - launched by Generali.
Image © Martino Lombezzi
The Procuratie Vecchie, known as the longest building in Venice, stretching for 500ft along the piazza that Napoleon famously called "the drawing room of Europe." The building was originally completed in the sixteenth century by Jacopo Sansovino and features a monumental façade that would go on to establish the classical language for the subsequent developments on the southern and eastern sides. Behind the façade, however, centuries of modifications from multiple occupancy have severely compromised its internal structure.
The multi-million pound renovation led by David Chipperfield is planned to be opened to the public for the first time in 500 years when the project is completed in 2020.
Procuratie Vecchie. Image © Shutterstock, courtesy of Generali
Chipperfield's renovation plans will focus on reunifying the interiors of the Procuratie and introducing clarity to the building, establishing suitable spaces for the foundation, as well as improving circulation.
The Procuratie Vecchie will provide an open door for people to seek inspiration from programmes, exchange ideas, and volunteer to take collective action. The hub will host regular public exhibitions, events and discussions on pressing social and demographic challenges from poverty to migration. The renovation plans will also connect other parts of the square and the Royal Gardens. When complete, it will re-establish the historic paths and flow to and from Piazza San Marco.
View from the 3rd floor exhibition space. Image © David Chipperfield Architects
"The Human Safety Net and its home in Venice, a city steeped in history and culture, brings together knowledge and inspiration for the common good. I am delighted to be working on this architecturally and socially coherent project, which will convey and connect ideas and people around the world," said David Chipperfield.
"Working closely with Generali, we have a vision to transform the Procuratie Vecchie into a more active and engaged space, which embodies the global mission of The Human Safety Net, while retaining the dignified beauty and history of the buildings," he added.
View from the entrance. Image © David Chipperfield Architects
David Chipperfield Architects Milan will be involved in a longer-term plan to create a public route through the Procuratie Nuove to the Giardini Reali on the Bacino di San Marco waterfront, the restoration of which is also being funded by Generali.
Renovation works already started on the Procuratie Vecchie. Image © Martino Lombezzi
"The beauty of Venice is a source of inspiration for the world, and Generali is very proud to enrich the city’s heritage by restoring the area of Piazza San Marco. By opening the Procuratie Vecchie to the public for the first time in nearly five centuries, we are creating new and vibrant spaces where people can meet to discuss some of today’s most pressing social and global issues," said Philippe Donnet, CEO of Generali Group.
Renovation works from the interior of the Procuratie Vecchie. Image © Martino Lombezzi
"We are grateful to the Venetian authorities for their support in this endeavour. Venice has long been a crossroads of different cultures from around the world, and we hope to build on this tradition through The Human Safety Net and our movement of 'people helping people."
"David Chipperfield Architects was a natural choice due to his love of Venice and shared vision for an architecturally and socially coherent restoration," added Philippe Donnet.
Image © David Chipperfield Architects
The Human Safety Net is based on the idea that communities of people helping people can bring about sustainable change, creating a positive ripple effect. It reflects Generali’s commitment to contribute towards a healthy, resilient and sustainable society where people can develop and flourish to their full potential.
The initiative has three different programs: The Human Safety Net for Families, The Human Safety Net for Refugee Start-Ups and The Human Safety Net for Newborns.
Top image © Martino Lombezzi