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Craft School in Venice

Part 2 Project 2000
James Munro
University of Portsmouth, UK
My dissertation entitled "Material Mannerism - The Spiritual Craft of Carlo Scarpa" dealt with the methods of incorporating craft and traditional influences into modern architecture. My thesis uses the polarities of the cellular quality of traditional crafts found in Venice and the more global forces of tourism as a starting point to solve the city's dilemmas.

The urban strategy for my site proposes a high level density mix of housing, retail, office and research type buildings. Drawing on the influence of Le Corbusier's hospital scheme for Venice, a series of urban blocks set in a pin wheel grid, form a new edge to the city and create new public spaces.

The form of the craft school is influenced by the Venetian Palazzo Ducale, and by the Palazzo Congressi scheme by Giuseppe Terragni which proposed a public loggia on the piano noble. The building is conceived as a naturally ventilated, concrete framed building with a veneered skin of stucco and marble applied in reference to the process Ruskin termed encrustation. The scheme incorporates craft workshops, lecture rooms and public accommodation, grouped around a canal, with a public front facade acknowledging the docking of cruise ships.

James Munro

Using the site for the recent architecture school competition in Venice, his thesis project created an urban proposition for the site based on the staggered grid that can be identified in Venice and in particular Le Corbusier's Venice hospital plan, providing a new housing quarter. To one end of the site, a new international conference centre is planned, while at the other, a craft school is provided which was taken to a greater level of detail. This provided a true thesis in its scope, ambition and depth.

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