Venice School of Architecture
Venice School of Architecture
Venice, Italy

First Prize in International Competition “The acceptance of the discipline of the existing: a ghost that is present during the whole changing process of a building as the physical quality of time embodied in things”.

Miralles/Tagliabue felt it was necessary to return the characteristic Venetian freedom and density to the area of the future Venice School of Architecture. At the first stage of the competition Miralles/Tagliabue took the Venice behind the area, the Campo dell’Anzolo Raffaele, the Canale di Ció, San Nicolo dei Mendicoli, as a city fragment - as a reference point to provide the pedestrian scale from which they could start to build. Mimicking what “Venice” is as a general stylistic approach did not make sense and it was not completely satisfactory to base the project on a morphological scale: A building is a building... Part of the city, but not a city. It was necessary to recommence a new intuition. They felt the project should be a kind of “new building” that has always been there. The series of buildings in the area, facing the Giudecca, used for the storage of goods, became storage for groups of students.

 “One phrase reflects a certain Venetian knowledge of how to live life: “Che ben che se stá!” This phrase inspired the design of the grand stairs surrounding the building, which give students the possibility to pass the interim periods outside, conscious of the density which surrounds them. The stairs are gently sloped for sitting, talking and sunbathing, or for reading and studying at the tables which arise from the stairs themselves. The IUAV lands before the Canale della Giudecca like the Chiesa della Salute or the train station land before the Canal Grande: across stairs that one imagines full of people. The classrooms are arranged according to the idea that learning often also takes place outside: in the corridors, in the courtyards, in the act of perceiving the city in which one is studying. For this reason, the entire building has a pedagogical function and creates open spaces through a morphology that is almost a zig-zag: from the gently sloping stairs to the courtyard, then further toward the auditorium, studios and classrooms by way of a ramp or stairs, always finding oneself on unexpected floors. The coffee bar, restaurant, and bookstore, which can also be accessed directly from the exterior of the building, are situated at street level. In the courtyard, certain zones are paved in glass: they reveal fragments of Murano glass, a motif which is also repeated in the facade of the building.

The learning experience often happens in the corridors. Large numbers of students, overlapping of schedules, high mobility, determine a great number of constraints on the building...
Let us allow the classrooms move in free order in between parallel lines, so that the space outside the room has a similar quality to the interior one, both in plan and section.
Let us allow the rooms to be identical. Let’s provide them with roof light. The whole building has a pedagogical function, not only the classrooms".

 "Folding, zig-zagging, seems to give the building a maze quality, increasing the depth in space that has its consequence in time. Now it seems that time -capturing time- has substituted space. Buildings want to capture time, especially in Venice. To enter time, to be at the right time”.


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