area 101 | álvaro siza

architect: Álvaro Siza

location: Venice, Italy

year: 19851995

The project for this council housing complex, now in its final stages of completion, was a result of a competition which took place in 1985 and was won by Alvaro Siza, to whom part of the project was entrusted. Surrounded by other buildings designed by the likes of architects such as Carlo Aymonino, Aldo Rossi and Rafael Moneo, the project entrusted to Siza includes two lines of terraced housing arranged at right angles, one of which has been completed and the other still under construction. The two wings formed by Siza’s buildings and Moneo’s one form a large internal courtyard, of which Siza had preserved a part to be transformed into Venetian gardens for the use of the ground-floor inhabitants. These gardens, inspired by the architecture of Venice Minore, form the connecting elements between the public and private spaces. The project involves fifty one housing units distributed on four floors. On the ground floor there are two meeting halls for the various groups and associations of the district, and a warehouse located at the southernmost end of the building. At the corner between Siza and Moneo’s two structures is a small raised square. The façade overlooking this square, designed by Siza, is a purely stone element, which aims to underline the decidedly urban quality of this building. A stone plinth which has the same aim runs along the building, the only sign of prosperity of this extremely simple construction, but whose dignity recalls the great tradition of Venetian façades, referring back also to the concept of both Loosian and Palladian architectural composition. Here Siza presents a different version of his desire to integrate history into new construction.

competition: Álvaro Siza with José Paulo Santos, 1985, first prize
collaborators: Miguel Guedes de Carvalho, Luísa Penha, Jorge Nuno Monteiro,             Hughes Grudzinski, Angela Jimenez
client: Ater De Veneza
date: 1995-1997
architects: Álvaro Siza, Raffaele Leone (project coordination)
collaborators: Daria Laurentini, Edison Okumura, Roberto Cremascoli, Francesca Montalto, Michele Gigante
realization first and second phase: 2004-2007
project coordination: Chiara Porcu, Andrea Smaniotto
collaborators: Cristina Ferreirinha, Edulo Lins
third phase (not built): 2007
project coordination: Chiara Porcu
structures and systems: Favero & Milan Ingegneria
photos: Alberto Lagomaggiore