OMA restores Fondaco Dei Tedeschi

One of the largest and most iconic buildings in Venice, Fondaco dei Tedeschi, has been given a new lease on life, with a restoration led by international architecture and urban design practice OMA.

Commissioned by the Benetton family in 2009, to be transformed into a department store, the restoration of the 16th Century building, led by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Rem Koolhaas and Silvia Sandor, was announced as complete – with OMA handing over the keys to Hong Kong-based luxury retailer DFS, last week.

As reported in DesignBoom, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi was first constructed in 1228 as has been used as: living quarters and a trading site for German merchants; a customs house during the Napoleon era; and a post office under Mussolini.

“The contemporary department store has been designed to stage a range of activities, from shopping to cultural events, social gatherings and everyday life,” they wrote.

“Rather than a nostalgic reconstruction project, the restoration continues the fondaco’s tradition of vitality and adaptation, adding another chapter to the building’s incomparable history.”

An article published by Architizer expands on the composition of the refurbishment, touting it as “subtle and ambitious”.

“The project – composed of both architecture and programming – opens the courtyard piazza to pedestrians, maintaining its historical role of covered urban ‘campo’,” Architizer reports.

“The new rooftop is created by the renovation of the existing 19th Century pavilion, standing over a new steel and glass floor which hovers above the central courtyard, and by the addition of a large wooden terrace with spectacular views over the city.

OMA’s renovation, both subtle and ambitious, continues the Fondaco’s tradition of vitality and adaptation, its preservation yet another chapter of the building’s illustrious and multi-layered history. It avoids nostalgic reconstructions of the past and it demystifies the ‘sacred’ image of a historical building.”

Click here for more about this incredible restoration, or to view recently released images.

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