||Community Recreation Centre, Venice
Design Research Project,
This design research project was
for a community recreation centre sited to the west of the Arsenale
in Venice, adjacent to the Church of San Francesco della Vigna
designed by Sansovino and Palladio It was conceived during an
international workshop conference in Venice in 1980 and further
developed in LA.
The centre provides recreational and
cultural facilities for the community. It accommodates three
basketball courts, an indoor tennis court and multipurpose hall.
rooms for meetings and games, supporting functions such as changing
rooms, an open-air skating rink and an open-air amphitheatre
The basketball courts and tennis court
are organised in a parallel manner and contained within a rectilinear
plan which terminates with the amphitheatre on axis with the
canal. In section, the basketball courts step up towards the
canal, allowing the space below to be used for community rooms
and support functions. Each basketball court is roofed with
a barrel-vaulted structure constructed and covered in aluminium.
The roof to the tennis court is used as a skating rink.
to all parts of the complex is provided via external ramps situated
along both sides of the building. The long, compact plan and
the idea for the section were developed as a response to the
narrow site The architectural expression attempts to make a
connection to Venetian structures such as the salt warehouses
and Rialto bridge. The proposed building, conceived in reinforced
concrete with metal barrel vaults, is faced externally in locally
produced ceramic tiles similar in colour to existing materials
Kenneth Frampton described the prefect
in this way: 'A more structurally expressive manner possibly
accounts for the varied antecedents cited by Koulermos as the
basis for his project for a Community Recreation Centre in Venice...
Acknowledged references range from the Rialto Bridge to Venetian
salt warehouses, or from Louis Kahn in general to Palladio's
Basilica in Vicenza. What we have here is a Rationalist tour-de-force
in response to an invented programme and yet what is of most
interest, aside from the extraordinary lucidity and lyrical
articulation of the barrel-vaulted structure, is the implicit,
hybrid-type form which, while a utilitarian building devoted
to indoor sport, remains in part, at least, a monument with
an open-air amphitheatre on axis, facing out over the canal.
For all its rationality, this project has a decided Venetian
flavour for the simple reason that the structure of the vaults
reminds one of ship-building.
(From Context + Response, exhibition
catalogue. Los Angeles Municipal Art
on Venice project : Steven Topkins. Bath School of Architecture
Kiat Yee, John Weiss
: Tony Nagelmann, Grover Gilchrist
: Entrance level plan