Piazza San Marco, Venice
Foscari Widmann Rezzonico Associati
Antonio Barone, Laurence Bolhaar, Barbara Materia, Ekaterina Nuzhdina, Clément Périssé, Silvia Sandor, Ronald Yeung, Mayssane El Barkani
Conceived as an integral component of Piazza San Marco since its original instalment in the XII century, the Procuratie Vecchie underwent a series of radical alterations as part of the historical mutations of the Foro Marciano as a whole. Behind the rigorous seriality of its endless horizontal façade, the building has been a territory of urban and typological experimentation: courtyards introduced (Sansovino XV), urban connections opened, level added, façade adapted, domestic units reinvented, punctual modifications injected, etc. Its current organization echoes surprisingly a modern rationale, with an unseen potential for flexible adaptation.
To meet the demands of the project launched by Assicurazioni Generali, with its mixed ambition of centre for the simultaneous display and production of ideas, and to define a new crucial role for the Procuratie Vecchie for the entire Piazza San Marco, OMA developed an approach that is more strategic than aesthetic; one that looks in parallel, at the urban system of the Foro Marciano, and at the internal programmatic organization of the building.
Through a series of ad-hoc interventions – a combination of strategic additions, tailored demolitions and functional choices – the project aims to, (1) introduce a new set of urban accesses and connections able to orchestrate public and private flows between the Square, the building and the city, while ensuring direct access to the fabric during high water phenomena; (2) define a new tridimensional urban system of paths that connect the Procuratie to the Museo Correr, and ultimately to the Giardini Reali, by introducing two newly built functional inserts and by opening the courtyard at the corner between the Napoleonic wing and our site reenacting the original Sansovino’s project; (3) organize the interior spaces around a sequence of open parallel bands, providing the opportunity for flexible and modern uses for both workspaces and museum; (4) design an exterior lighting concept able to mutate through time and to interact with the occasional visitors of the square, while setting the path for a possible lighting masterplan for the entire forum.
The interiors are presented as series of curated and tactile micro stories, each one tailored to a specific component of the project. Every story navigates across a series of references, objects and materials mediating between the needs of the program for adaptability and exposure, and the character of the ancient building the notions of layering and autonomous strata are the common thread of this “Interiors Atlas”.
Far from any nostalgic reconstruction or reinterpretation, the project will mark a new phase in the evolution of the Procuratie Vecchie, one defined by a modern organization and efficient connection to the city, internal flexibility and adaptable design. At a larger scale OMA believes that the project for the renovation of the Procuratie Vecchie could set the base for a new masterplan for the Foro Marciano as a whole, drafting the beginning of a new chapter in its millennial history.
Text courtesy of Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli