San Lazzaro Monastery

Intervention: conservation restoration, technological modernisation, functional re-use

Venice, Italy, 1997-2000
Function: Monastery and guest house.
Client: Armenian-Mechitarist congregation
Dimensions: total covered area 7,100m2
Stage: complete

Situated on the eponymous island in the Venice lagoon, work on the Mechitarist Monastery of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in Venice was part of the programme set up by the Italian government in 1997 for the 2000 Jubilee. The funding received made it possible to start the first phase of the works that the Armenian congregation deemed necessary to restore the island's and monastery's role as a reference centre for the production and dissemination of the Armenian culture in the world.

This work regarded the consolidation of the island's canal banks, the repair of the external paving that had sunk considerably in many places, the requalification of the green areas, consolidation and the general repair of the buildings in the original nucleus of the complex (constructed between 1724 and 1740 on a design by the Abbot Mechitar, and modernisation of the technological equipment and systems. In addition to this, the buildings outside the cloister were to have been restructured, with the aim of making the vast documentary patrimony of the Congregation available to scholars and researchers without disturbing the monastic life.

What was considered the most urgent work was completed to avoid the collapse of buildings that had never been properly restored in over 250 years.