This just in from OMA! The firm has unveiled their plans for the major restoration project of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi – a landmark building in Venice, Italy. Rich in history, this icon was constructed by in 1228 as a major trading post for German merchants, and under Napoleon it became a customs house in 1806. Its most recent use has been as a post office, yet currently, the building has fallen into a state of disrepair as most of the building is unused and inaccessible for the first time in centuries. Now, the next step in the building’s evolution is to become, yet again, a thriving trading post – yet, in a contemporary way. OMA has been commissioned to the create a culturally-programmed department store that will, once again, give a new spirit to the building.
More images and more about the project after the break.
For the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, change is common. The building has been rebuilt twice ( Its current configuration dates from 1506), and as the building has accommodated new uses, different elements have either been removed completely or modified.
OMA has designed a range of architectural modifications and developed a cultural program to reactivate the building as a vital public space, from top to bottom. A terrace with rare views of the Grand Canal will be created by removing two sides of the existing roof, leaving the building’s profile intact while unlocking exciting potential for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi as a major destination and vantage point for tourists and Venetians alike. The rooftop, together with the courtyard below, will become a public venue for events including exhibitions and film screenings. A year-round cultural program will be aimed at locals and tourists – the 20 million who visit the city each year, as well as the 900,000 who come specifically for the Biennales and festivals.
New entrances to the Fondaco will be created from the Campo San Bartolomeo and the Rialto to encourage circulation, escalators will be added to create a new public route through the building, rooms will be consolidated in a way that respects the Fondaco’s structure, while crucial historic elements like the corner rooms will remain untouched. Historic aspects of the building, lost for centuries, will be resurrected: the walls of the gallerias will once again become a surface for frescoes, reappearing in a contemporary form.
With OMA’s restoration project, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi will again be reestablished as a major component in Venice, bridging the present with the past and linking commerce and culture.