Alexander Schmidt

Alexander Schmidt

Palazzo Contarini Zustinian. RWTH Aachen (Germany)

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Key task of this design was to plan a student residence and workshops in Venice, located at the Canal Grande on one of the last remaining building sites.

After analyzing the classical building type of the Venetian palace, the question was how the distinct typological elements can proof their legitimization today and to what extend they have to be adjusted to modern understanding.

The building in both axes is organized in three segments. Lengthwise it is divided in the head-end facing the waterfront supplying room for community-spaces, the central main-building containing individual apartments, and a court on the landside. Also in its other dimension the building forms three zones, alike the classical example: There is a central-zone which works as a circulation and exhibition area, where students meet and present their work, and two symmetrical side-aisles, which provide the individual livingand workspaces of the students.

In the vertical axis the functional areas are organized in a suprapostion. On ground-floor there are exhibition areas, workshops and storage spaces. On second-floor there are individual working spaces and a seminar room. While the third-floor provides room for private and communal living spaces, the bedrooms are located on fourth-floor.

Each of the 12 apartments is organized as a triplex, with every function (working, living, sleeping) being orientated towards- and connected by - the central room-continuum of the palace. This way these central spaces (Andron and roof-alley) become heart of the life inside the building.

The facade is the palace´s representative face. The strict division into three parts of the historic example is moderated, being interpreted in a rather continuous fashion and thereby displaying the function inside. Still there are subtle references to the archetypical facades of the neighbors, embedding the building as an independent yet respectful completion of the historic surrounding.

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