Masieri Foundation Hostel, Venice

      The adopted programme is a free interpretation of a design originally given to Frank Lloyd Wright, providing single bed-study rooms, day spaces at every level, a breakfast bar area and other ancillary functions. It is organised on four levels, in keeping with the height of the existing building.
     The main reason for undertaking this project was the celebrated and unique historical city itself. Establishing the relationship of a new building to a rich physical and cultural context was a major challenge.
     The presence of the Grand Canal was a dominant factor in the design. The exaggerated frontal loggia and ceremonial access stair running parallel to the canal were developed in order to give a grandiose scale to an otherwise small building. At the same time, this formal configuration attempts to establish a visual relationship with the adjoining building.
     The proposed building is conceived in reinforced concrete and faced externally in reconstructed stone slabs similar in colour to the Istrian stone used extensively in Venice.
     As Kenneth Frampton writes: 'Venice has, in fact. been the prime source of inspiration for most of Koulermos' recent (hypothetical) projects: above all, of course, for his Masieri Foundation Hostel, predicated on the configuration and attributes of an irregular and unique site, even more contextual Venetian than the Recreation Center. Based on a free interpretation of the program adopted by Frank Lloyd Wright in his unrealized proposal for the same site in 1954, Koulermos was to take a rather unusual approach to the design of the palazzo: "The proposal reverses the Venetian residential typology - the pedestrian entrance is located at the front and along the canal rather than the rear. and the access from the canal does not relate directly to the building but to the alley. This resolution was considered more appropriate than the existing plan types, given the fact that the pallazi on the canals are no longer used as initially intended." This deceptively simple design makes a very ingenious use of an awkard triangular site, and in many ways this is one of the most brilliant of Koulermos' entire career...'

Model: John Charles Marvick
Below: Ground floor plan