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Verona Possibile

Part 2 Project 1998
Faye Whiteoak
Manchester School of Architecture UK
Venezia Impossibile : Urban Transpositon

Developed from Alvise Cornaro’s project for a theatre, little hill and fountain situated in the basin of San Marco, this scheme explores the idea of Venice as a place of exile. The exiled long for their original home. The scheme started with an exploration of the geometry of Venice and Cornaro’s home town, Padua. Certain major geometrical similarities between Padua and Cornaro’s project in Venice were revealed. These formed the basis for the scheme and the idea of urban transposition, one place representing another through form and ritual.

Verona Possibile : Isolo Library

The library was devised as a scheme which responded formally and spatially to its immediate physical and wider civic context. I was initially inspired by the concept of the library as a repository, and Verona’s history as a trading port. This is represented in the scheme by the reception desk becoming the point of communication. Books are commodities which are delivered, trans-shipped and stored in the basement ‘warehouse’.

Viewed form across the Adige, the elevation of the main library building is flush with the unbroken side of the old riverside dwellings. It’s monumental demeanour is revealed at closer inspection as a simple veneer of green slate cladding, contrasting with the solidity of riverbank.

The tactic of introducing diaphanous structure into existing selectively retained buildings on the site describes islands within an island (the sites original state) and creates an architectural interplay between public and private libraries and old and new materials and techniques.

The library simultaneously represents Verona and dissolves expected spatial sequences allowing the occupant to read the building and consequently understand its relation ship to the city. This is initially stated by the location of the entrance within the building on the site of an old gate house which is partly preserved. It is finally stated in the view that is offered form the third floor cafe where the visitor can simultaneously take in the city whilst observing the various architectural elements which place the building firmly within its contexts, linking the northern hills and the adjacent river.

Faye Whiteoak

Atelier Italia

Unit statement :

If the assertion can be accepted that architecture is merely the interface between the city and the room, then the continuity of space between public and private realms will be apparent. In particular the historical manifestations of the city and interior relationships can be described and interpreted to generate architecture that is responsive to broader urban and landscape contexts. This proposition was explored through an atelier divided in to two investigations. Firstly students were asked to respond to three projects for the city of Venice :

Alvise Cornaro’s project for a theatre, fountain and little hill located in the basin of San Marco; temporary festival structures constructed in the Piazza San Marco; and Frank Lloyd Wright’s unrealised Masieri Memorial House project. The processes established in the first exploration were then applied to a more pragmatic programme in Verona, strengthened by insights gained in study visits to both cities. Through reference to the ‘impossible’ projects of the first semester, perceptions of ‘real’ urban space were explored and transformed through an area of Verona already subject to the most radical topographical transformations. In this way it was observed that it is possible to invest the ‘real’ with meanings that acknowledge both historical situations and contemporary need.

Faye Whiteoak developed sophisticated and well resolved architectural responses to both programmes. Her work linking the urban spatial morphology of Canaro’s project for Venice to the spatial morphology of Padua offered genuine insight. The project resulting from it was sophisticated and poetic.

The Isolo Library project showed a sophisticated and well represented architecture that responded to the physical and cultural context of the building and the themes of the earlier work. The relationship between the historical fabric of the surroundings and the new building is consistently explored at all levels from strategic to the detail.

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