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Giudecca Residencies

Venice, Italy
1 of 33

The intervention on the Giudecca by Gino Valle is his recent and significant interpolation of contemporary housing in a historical context. It is a project of 94 housing units and commissioned by the city council, located in Venice. The area of the Giudecca, on the edge of the city, is an area marked by degradation and by the presence of residences and productive activities. The project fits precisely in the area, it is a broader intervention plan that provides integrated recovery of pre-existing functions.

Located in the southern part of the Giudecca island in Venice, behind the former Stucky Mill, the IACP complex designed by Gino Valle presents an aggregative principle with a decreasing number of floors, from 4 to 2, proceeding from north to the south. This guarantees every apartment a view of the lagoon, favoring sunlight in all the dwellings and the open spaces between the houses. On the east and west fronts, the intervention is enclosed by two 4-storey continuous buildings.

Gino Valle demonstrates a great sensitivity for the place and for the relationship between design and construction, creating a compact but flexible fabric that considers the traces of the old demolished industrial building. At the same time he pays tribute to Venice's urban character with its dense settlement and its clear hierarchies of open spaces or porticoes.

The principle of the Giudecca is the square modular grid, which acts as a control element of the settlement at different scales. The urban grid define the relationships between the built volumes. Despite being composed of a single type of dwelling, the complex is the sum of three well-defined building objects.

The building's ground attachment to the north, set back from the side ends, can be crossed until reaching the courtyard inside the fabric of houses, a sort of closed campiello, the protected and introverted heart of the neighborhood.

Without relying on vernacular or folkloristic references, also materials and colors are chosen to establish a dialogue with the lagoon environment: soft pink bricks for the cladding and the structure, reinforced concrete on the face for some structural framing elements, beams, slabs and arched bases in the manner of Khan, colored plaster coating for staircase blocks, and roof tile for pitched roofs.

The system ends in the south, with the enclosed gardens of the terraced houses, towards another paved outdoor area, this time open onto the lagoon. The five houses in line, "the towers", interspersed with very narrow passages orthogonal to the Giudecca canal, are arranged along the canals to the east and west and have a direct berth for navigation.

The quality of the project lies in its ability to relate to the site and to consolidate it in harmony with the principle of settlement right in Venice. The Venetian environment is a complicated mixture of lights and shadows, suspended between earth and sky; Valle tried to reproduce this difficult balance, working on building the environment, both on the materials and colors. The brickwork is marked by squaring concrete in white color view. The light of Venice is particularly changeable, and continuously changes the relationship between volume and color; to get the desired outcome the designer has worked at a desk but especially on job controlling effects achieved gradually and making the necessary changes.

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bostjan, June 28th, 2021
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