Occhio / Emilio Ambasz


Architects: Emilio Ambasz
Location: Venice,
Photographs: Emilio Ambasz

© Emilio Ambasz

This 5.000 square meters medical facility houses several functions related to the latest scientific and medical advances in eye transplant and research: a surgical facility, stem cell research laboratories, eye treatment center, administrative offices as well as the EIDON Foundation educational facility, which includes a 450-seat auditorium.

This building is very visible from the roadway and traffic roundabout. The site is a flat, triangular-shaped 2.8 hectare site located near the entrance to a new regional hospital, also designed by Ambasz, a local railroad, and major roadway.

The triangular-shaped building is defined by two 12 meter high walls, shaped as trapezoidal figure, clad in pre-stained (prepatinato) copper set at right angles to each other. The two extreme points of the orthogonal walls seem about to touch each other.

© Emilio Ambasz

In the triangular space created by these wall, a volume is defined by a series of landscaped terraces at each floor level make up one side and on the opposite side, the building rises as a series of steps that lead to a flat planted roof garden. These steps make the entire roof an outdoor amphitheater. A parabolic opening forms the main entrance through this stepped façade. Administrative, research, and surgical functions are located on the three floors above ground while a ground level circular courtyard provides light to the educational spaces located below ground. A two-story high wall of glass bisects the courtyard making a grand lobby space. A 450-seat auditorium is located off this lobby. The EIDON-Center for Education occupies the spaces surrounding the courtyard for classrooms. Its courtyard is planted with fragrant flowering trees.


All of the spaces receive direct natural sunlight from the large walls of glass places at a distance from the edge of the terraces. The combination of the plantings and deep overhangs minimize the impact of heat loads by blocking sunlight during the middle of the days. Spaces away from the terraces such as treatment rooms and restrooms receive additional light from clerestory windows. Each riser of the steps leading up the roof has glass blocks installed into them allowing light to penetrate the rooms below.

A below grade parking garage eliminates all visible cars on the site to ensure a continuous green surface around and onto the building’s roof. The garage connects at the lowest level to the facility through a corridor towards the auditorium. All mechanical, air handling equipment and medical gases are located off the parking garage and under the circular drop off. The surface of the driveway here is grilled to allow for ventilation from the spaces below.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Occhio / Emilio Ambasz" 16 Apr 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=225535>