Last June, during the Summer exam session of the Design course by Professor Valerio Paolo Mosco, IUAV University of Venice hosted Eterno Ivica as an outstanding company engaged in spreading architectural culture based on research and innovation of construction systems, one capable of combining aesthetic functionality and sustainability.
We believe it is important to establish synergies between academia and the business world, especially in a context such as the Veneto one, where PMIs are the backbone of the entire production system. Involving students means showing them the excellence of the territory, possible realities to collaborate with, not only after college but also during the undergraduate curriculum, through research partnerships – an opportunity to promote knowledge and development.
When Eterno Ivica’s people Federica Favero Falconi and Elisabetta Balzani told me about ARKT we agreed it could be an opportunity to start a dialogue based on the principles set out above. In this regard I thank Prof. Mosco for allowing us to open up the initiative to our study course and I also thank the students who responded enthusiastically to this invitation and agreed to make their work available.
THE AA 2018/2019 LAB
In order to describe the path we took together I will use the words written by Prof. Mosco to introduce the course to his students.
The academic year was marked by a series of lectures dedicated to archaic and primitive architecture, to the primordial forms of building, to their needs, and to the techniques of the ancient populations, and particular attention was given to the study of primitive urban conformations. This served as a premise to reflect on how modern thought has rediscovered the architecture of the origins as if it were the “original” matrix of a style whose legitimacy has a solid anthropological foundation. A process that from Laugier and Semper passes through Le Corbusier to reach today the so called “frugal” or “sustainable” architecture. In parallel to this theoretical part the class was divided into small groups with artists’ workshops on the island of Sant’Elena in Venice.
Students were deliberately allowed to understand the functional program in a rather flexible way, without giving them any instruction regarding preordained spatial standards or codes. This method allowed us to reflect on space and its conformations. The projects on display are very different from each other because they are not constrained by detailed stylistic indications but rather, they are the result of the intuition of each single student. This intuition was then supported and made coherent language-wise through revisions made by teacher Valerio Paolo Mosco and his collaborators: Silvia Codato, Irene Peron and myself.
– Giacomo Ghinello
At the basis of the realization of this project there is a study of the buildings of the urban fabric of Venice. From observation it turned out that the inner courtyard is a characterizing element of the structures of the city, and so we decided to replicate this conformation in our project as well. The courtyard is a space of aggregation and socialization, and it is made permeable on all sides, and inside there are stairs that constitute the access point to the students’ residence. The position of the two buildings is created in such a way as to provide a dialogue with the existing urban fabric and with the view of the lagoon from the island of Sant’Elena.
The two bridges play a role of connection between the workshop and kitchen areas that are positioned on the two short sides of the building, while the rooms along the major axis create a separation between the two spaces with different use.
The project we carried out consisted of designing some student housing on the island of Sant’Elena, a little known and little visited area in Venice, in the eastern part of the city. The neighborhood is made by two distinct islands: the ancient one, where the Military Navy School, the “Pierluigi Penzo” stadium and the church of Sant ‘Elena, from which the island takes its name are; and the new one in which the actual residential district was created, which dates back to the early 1900s.
The peculiarity of the neighborhood is that it was built from scratch: houses, buildings, parks, gardens were planned and built in an area that previously housed a shipbuilding warehouse where steamboats and railway carriages were built.
The Parco delle Rimembranze constitutes the green oasis of Venice and is a public park that welcomes many people, from children to adults and also many elderly people.
“Even a space intended to be dark should have just enough light from some mysterious opening to tell us how dark it really is.”
— Louis Khan
The area of intervention of our project included the area near the Navy School. First of all we started to study and analyze the territory on which to intervene in order to highlight the relationship with the outside, with the surrounding green areas and with the lagoon. We then thought of some project ideas that could be in complete harmony with the main principles of the area regarding settlement.
The particular aspect and the magical atmosphere which Sant’Elena takes on during the hours of the day, has led us to the development of a fundamental theme in architecture: light. It was interesting to observe how light penetrates the various environments and how it operates precisely when creating different shapes and cuts inside the space. The building is characterized by the presence of large arched openings that develop in all three floors of the structure.
The pitched roof has a dense system of skylights facing north that give light to the highest floor, which, supported by beams, allows light to pass even on the second floor, intended for workshops. This floor, almost totally open and illuminated, is in fact designed as a space for the aggregation of more students for the development of labs and group activities; a place where thought can become form, a creative environment in which everyone has the opportunity to share ideas, and then make them reality.
On the ground floor there are communal classrooms dedicated to study and relaxation, while on the first floor there are the actual accommodations for students; each apartment consists of 2 rooms with 2 beds each, a dressing room, a bathroom and a living area. The structure, on the whole, has been designed for about 25 students.
In our project we have inserted a slab supported by wooden beams, an element that allows light rays to enter creating a particular play of light and shadows: it is, in fact, a sort of loft dedicated only to an aesthetic function. The building is covered with single-color plaster and is alternated with wooden walls, partitions or panels also in wood that protrude into the walls facing north and south of the building. This last element is one of the peculiarities of the project as it also contributes to the creation of particular shadows and reflections.
The project appears to have a completely atopic character, as it appears to be a structure that could be inserted in any other place, not only within the area of the city of Venice.
The wooden partitions in the project also refer to the particular play of light of the Municipal Auditorium of Teulada by Francisco Mangado. The depth that is created with these rays of light that enter directly into the building gives it a greater sense of three-dimensionality, consequently moving away from the classical and traditional two spatial dimensions.
The project in question deals with studying a solution for the construction of university residences, located on the island of Sant’Elena, Venice.
In the initial phase of the project it was decided to study three distinct buildings: the library, the food canteen and the block of residences. It was necessary to differentiate the services, in order to look for a solution of continuity, one able to link the different blocks, but at the same time diversify them according to their functions; for this reason a repeated structure is used, consisting of extrados pillars and beams, in white plaster with Istrian stone dust.
Another fundamental element is the arcade; within the project it generates paths connecting the buildings. The arcades are made in different ways depending on their position, thus differentiating the functions of the areas. At the entrance, after the bridge, there is a long open arcade, flanked on the right side by the library, once the library is finished it stops, changes direction and comes back, in reduced dimensions, towards the block dedicated to the canteen. Other porches are present respectively in front and behind the residences, where two types of different shelters are used; for the front side with an inclined pitch, while for the back side a horizontal plate with a pleated pattern. The last porch, in the canteen building, is located on the side facing the lagoon.
Unlike the other porches mentioned, made of metal, the latter consists of a real slab to keep the rhythm of the building structure constant and also in order to create an internal area.
Once we realized that nowadays new constructions often impose themselves in a presumptuous and disrespectful way on the natural or man-made environment, we have chosen to summarize some concepts suggested by the context of the project area to favor a non-impacting intervention. The aim of the project is therefore to unite nature and structure in such a way as to adapt the building to the “lung of Venice”.
Hence the idea of a simple green space in front the structure crossed by the cobble street, and the long wooden terraces, enriched with climbing plants, which recall the vineyards. These “antique” materials combine with glass and steel, giving shape to a building not comparable to the classic plastered Venetian factories.
The building will be located in the space currently used as a soccer field, it will consist of three tiered floors and long terraces that will appear on the south side of the area. The main entrance will be on the south elevation of the building and will be connected through the garden under the terraces to the main street that will extend from the entrance east to west of the area. Each floor will have an area of 635 square meters. The ground floor will consist of entrances, a stairwell with elevator, communal areas, bar, workshops and bathrooms.
On the first and second floor there will be student apartments and the stairwell with elevator. From the terraces you will have direct access to the apartment’s kitchen. For each accommodation there are two double rooms with bathroom. The building can accommodate up to 48 students. The area currently occupied by the basketball courts will be used as a green space bordered by trees on the east and west sides, so as to leave the view of the lagoon free. Along the entire perimeter there will be a street organized with outdoor seating and floor lights.
STRUCTURE AND MATERIALS
The structure of the building will be made of steel pillars and beams in the covered part of the accommodation and communal areas. The beams will be left exposed in the west and east elevation. The external walls and partitions will be made of “ISOTEX” wood-cement blocks. In the north elevation a curtain wall will be mounted with an aluminum frame, cross-pieces and uprights, with 120 cm modules in which windows will be mounted for ventilation in the rooms. In the south elevation, adjacent to the terraces, a curtain wall will be set up with a frame, wooden beams and uprights with the same 120 cm layout, and there will be glazed doors for access to the apartments.
The windows overlooking the terraces will be slightly darkened to ensure privacy inside the kitchens. The interfloor slabs will be composed of exposed wooden joists that will rest on those of the main steel structure, above which a double plank (5.00 cm) will be placed, the concrete screed (5.00 cm), the waterproof sheath (1.00 cm), “pedestal SB2 ETERNO IVICA” system (7.00 cm) in which all the systems will pass and on which the floor will rest in wooden slats. The roof will rest on the wooden joists and will be composed of the double plank (5 cm), the concrete screed (7 cm), the insulating panels (3.00 cm), the waterproof membrane (1.00 cm) and plaster (2.00 cm) with a slight slope to allow the rain drain.
The internal U-shaped staircase will be made of reinforced concrete and it will not be finished with plaster; along the outer perimeter wooden pillars of 5 cm and 15 cm will be placed apart, and will have the function of parapet. In the space inside the U the elevator that connects the three floors will be placed. The long terraces connect to the south elevation of the building on the first and second floors. They have a structure in pillars and wooden beams, they stick to the pillars of the building with steel L-shaped flanges. The floor of the terraces will consist of wooden joists and planks. On the terraces there will be various pergolas with climbing plants. The parapets will rest directly on the floor and will be made of steel with steel cables. The terraces will be equipped with wooden stairs with parapets, the same as those used in the rest of the building.