Giudecca apartment blocks

PlaceGiudecca island, Venice

AuthorGino Valle

Chronology: 1980 | 1986

Itinerary: Building houses, making cities

Use: Residential neighborhood

Located in the southern part of the Giudecca island in Venice, behind the former Stucky Mill, the IACP complex designed by Gino Valle presents an aggregative principle with a decreasing number of floors, from 4 to 2, proceeding from north to the south. This guarantees every apartment a view of the lagoon, favoring sunlight in all the dwellings and the open spaces between the houses. On the east and west fronts, the intervention is enclosed by two 4-storey continuous buildings.

Gino Valle demonstrates a great sensitivity for the place and for the relationship between design and construction, creating a compact but flexible fabric that considers the traces of the old demolished industrial building. At the same time he pays tribute to Venice’s urban character with its dense settlement and its clear hierarchies of open spaces or porticoes.

The building’s ground attachment to the north, set back from the side ends, can be crossed until reaching the courtyard inside the fabric of houses, a sort of closed campiello, the protected and introverted heart of the neighborhood.

Without relying on vernacular or folkloristic references, also materials and colors are chosen to establish a dialogue with the lagoon environment: soft pink bricks for the cladding and the structure, reinforced concrete on the face for some structural framing elements, beams, slabs and arched bases in the manner of Khan, colored plaster coating for staircase blocks, and roof tile for pitched roofs.

The system ends in the south, with the enclosed gardens of the terraced houses, towards another paved outdoor area, this time open onto the lagoon.

The five houses in line, “the towers”, interspersed with very narrow passages orthogonal to the Giudecca canal, are arranged along the canals to the east and west and have a direct berth for navigation.

Text by Luca Reale
Photos by Marco Introini