Given the historically charged site of Piazza Matteotti bordered by Palladio's Palazzo Chiericati and Teatro Olimpico in Vincenza, Italy, we looked to explore the proposal of contemporary architecture within the formal, historical, and contextual frameworks of Andrea Palladio. As an approach to designing historically informed architecture, we positioned ourselves within Palladio’s canon of influence through addressing the physical site context, utilizing structure as a spatial system, and utilizing both mass and free plan to emphasize the base separately from the piano nobile. The massive vaults of the base floors reinterpret the strict, symmetrical bays of Palladian design into repeated, linear bays that continue the same language of massive spatial structure. Sectional relationships on the vaulted levels create compression and release between the modest scale of typical building and the grander scale of Chiericati. The upper levels open into a free plan populated by objects that continue to speak to the objectified spaces of Chiericati and Teatro Olimpico, freed from the necessity of massive structure in the modernity of architectural practice. As a result, the design makes references beyond the immediate site into the historic, intellectual, and constructional traditions of the Veneto. This project was completed collaboratively with Adam Kor, Elizabeth Levy, Kelly Li, and Sally Sohn.
Ground Floor Nolli Map: The three base levels of the building consist mainly of functional programming broken by the public entrance and exhibition on the ground level. This physical relationship to the urban context manifests itself in a massive, linear system of spatial vaults. that is sectionally broken to reference the scale of Palazzo Chiericati in experiential locations.
Piano Nobile Nolli Map: The upper levels of the building include a lecture hall, storage space, stairs and a floating library floor. These spaces are articulated as objects surrounded by public exhibition space, all visually enticing from the exterior, yet separated from the lower base. They reference the spatial objects created in Palladio’s Chiericati and Teatro Olimpico, but are isolated by the freedom of structural capabilities allowed in modernity. Their colors give them further definition and emphasize their individuality within a closed-off, massive context.
Front Render: The piazza and garden act to integrate the building into its larger urban context. Within the space, the building is an object in and of itself that pulls elements into its exterior and allows the visitor to further engage. The piazza angles itself from parallel to Chiericati to present it at an oblique view, as it was intended to be viewed.
Garden Render: The garden is raised to the level of the building as an extension of the exhibition space, and piers and vaults pull out of the building as a continuous architectural language.
Transverse Section: The vaults of the base intellectually and physically reference Palladian design and the historical context of Vicenza while the objects of the piano nobile exemplify the geometric spacemaking of Palladian design in the modernity of free-plan structural capabilities.
Plans: The distinction between the base and upper levels is evident especially in the structural systems as highlighted in the plans.
Longitudinal Section: The vaults are sectionally broken to reference the scale of Palazzo Chiericati in experiential locations such as the exhibition space of the ground floor. The piano nobile contains objects that split up the space, including a library that floats as a mezzanine object in and of itself.
Ground Floor Exhibition: Integrated with the urban context as an extension of the garden and piazza, the ground floor exhibits drawings, maps, and information regarding the context to tell the story of Vicenza and Palladio as a singular, entertwined tale.
Piano Nobile Exhibition: After ascending through the main staircase, constantly confronted by Chiericatti on every level, occupants reach the piano nobile. Dedicated to the objects of Palladio specifically, the architectural spaces objectify geometric spaces similar to those carved in Palladian design at full scale while models act as smaller objects to show the work of Palladio.