Procuratie Vecchie
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Procuratie Vecchie

St. Mark's Square through a Procurator's Eyes

David Chipperfield

Procuratie Vecchie
By Redazione The Plan -

This is a journey in space and time, back to the age of the Procurators of Saint Mark, with their enviable position on St. Mark's Square. This restoration project has taken five years, with David Chipperfield Architects behind the design and Migliore+Servetto overseeing the fittings, but now the magnificent Procuratie Vecchie buildings are once again open to the public, with extensive exhibition spaces, multi-purpose halls, co-working spaces, the offices of insurance giant Generali (which commissioned the work) and the Venice home of The Human Safety Net, a foundation created by Generali. Merging conservation and innovation, the first, second and third floors have used contemporaneity to exalt the original structures and materials. For example, on the first and second floors, sections of historic Venetian terrazzo flooring, ceilings, plasterwork and frescoes have been uncovered; while on the third, brick walls were unearthed, providing traces of the transformations that took place over more than 500 years.

Procuratie Vecchie © Alessandra Chemollo, courtesy Secco Sistemi

The project also emphasized the doors and windows, ensuring formal and technological harmony through a return to the original esthetics and appearance of these openings. Secco Sistemi was called in for this part of the project and worked on the basis of the dimensions and specific aspects of both the larger elements – such as the windows on the staircase – and the smaller ones, like the oculus openings along the upper part of the front. The latter look somewhat like telescopes through which to monitor the movements of passersby below.

The need to combine performance, the capacity to withstand the lagoon climate, and esthetics was met with OS275 window and door frames in burnished stainless steel, which also recall the shapes and colors of the original iron profiles. The result is a perfect balance between the transparency and lightness of the windows and the robust solidity of the frames, creating an elegant and sophisticated effect. At the same time, the identity of the doors and windows lies very much in the exceptional finishings, such as galvanized, stainless or Cor-Ten® steel and brass, which helps create further dynamic connections with the building.

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