The Artigianelli Complex

Interventions: conservation, restoration, restructuring, technological modernisation, functional adaptation

Venice, Italy, 1982 - 2006
Function: Church and Residence for the Priests, Student residence, Religious guest house (with congress room, meeting rooms and studies, library, restaurant)
Client: Religious Province of San Marziano di Don Orione
Dimensions: total indoor area 7,400 m2 - outdoor area 1,641 m2
Stage: completed

This vast architectural complex is made up of various buildings from different periods, arranged around two cloisters, the first of late-mediaeval origins, and the second from the eighteenth century by Giorgio Massari.


The religious ownership, who devoted themselves to the education of young people for years, wanted to restructure the entire complex, combining its existing functions, church, priest house and student residence, with new functions related to culture and tourism. In this manner, abandoned areas such as the Printing House underwent profound transformation.


Logistical issues, above all, the impossibility to suspend or transfer the activities in the Institute, meant work had to be carried out in different stages. Once the general layout had been defined in the preliminary project, it was possible to start with the architectural restoration, structural consolidation, securing and refunctionalisation of the spaces, system and equipment refurbishment, as well as the reorganisation of the pathways in distinct areas.


Activities in the House were never interrupted and restoration was carried out in successive stages over the following two decades, with the annual verification of the objectives and updating of the general project.


To allow the most rational and efficient management and layout of the various activities, the detailed distribution of the functions and a detailed system of the pathways was defined, with the primary aim of the protection and respect of the places reserved for the religious community.


In those places where ex-novo intervention was necessary, the decision was taken to avoid any kind of ambiguous mimicry with the pre-existing structures and to design elements that were clearly modern, but that transpired reflection on the nature and meaning of the existing places and architecture.