European Cultural Centre Venice Designing in Dialogue between Traditional and Modern
The Academy for Architectural Culture (aac) is a private, non-profit insti- tution founded by the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp). With research studies and intensive courses held throughout the year, the aac is dedicated to finding solutions to relevant architectural issues and the further education of young architects from different cultures (see p. 470 in this catalog).
The aac spring workshop 2015 was dedicated to designing in dialogue between traditional and modern with the specific assignment to accom- modate a European cultural centre in a traditional Venetian palace. Archi- tecture students and young graduates from Germany, Italy and China formed four teams and worked out specific design proposals with many variations. The three-and-a-half-week course was started with a site visit to Venice. The excursion offered the possibility to meet with the initiator of the idea of the European Cultural Centre (ECC), the Global Art Affairs Foun- dation, represented by Rene Rietmeyer, and learn more about his motives and understand the challenges of the selected building Palazzo Mora.
Subsequently back in Hamburg, the studio work on the actual assignment took place at Campus Rainvilleterrasse. Lectures from renowned experts, namely Giulia Foscari (OMA/AMO), Alexander Schwarz (David Chipperfield Architects Berlin) and Maria A. Segantini (C+S Architects), complemented the course. The results of the workshop were shown in a public exhibition in Hamburg and now also in the object of the workshop itself.
Time seems to have come for an institution to make Europe’s cultural identity its main objective beyond the institutional political associations.
Venice, with both the Art and Architecture Biennale already hosting two of the most renowned cultural events worldwide, suggests itself to be the location for a future European Cultural Centre. It seems desirable to find sustainable cultural reuses for the increasing number of vacant buildings in Venice which prove appropriate to actively contribute to pre- venting the further decay of the lagoon city. For this reason, the Global Art Affairs Foundation decided to take up the initiative for making the broader public aware of the importance of the project.
Palazzo Mora in its present form is result of an elaborate, historical process in which two originally separate buildings that faced each with their own representative façades to one of the plot defining canals in the east and in the west of the plot gradually merged into one ensemble; the last addi- tion, for the time being, as single-storey extension facing Strada Nuova took place in the first half of the 20th century. Already before, at the end of the 19th century, the carving of Strada Nuova into the existing structure led the original garden courtyard to become address of the ensemble.
The space allocation plan requires a variety of functions to particularly provide spaces for exhibitions and conferences, furthermore a library, a research archive, a café as well as spaces for researchers and artists in residence. The designs of the workshop cover a wide range of architec- tural possibilities to activate the Palazzo Mora for use as an ECC. It is the wish of the Global Art Affairs Foundation that the designs form the basis for the further implementation of the project.