Valdagno, Vicenza, Italy
The Gio Ponti’s unfinished villa for the Marzotto family represents nowadays, after more than 70 years, a new and unusual design opportunity within the valuable setting of Parco La Favorita in Valdagno.
The villa draft plans by Gio Ponti allow the imagination and appreciation of what would have been an unquestionable work of excellence within the architectural survey of the period.
The Park is undoubtedly a privileged context for architecture, but here my planning approach is more prudent and discreet than usual, because someone took this task before me.
Discretion and respect arise of their own accord for the work of the great Architect, for the work incompleteness, for the misfortune and the drama of the events that didn’t allow the realization of the idea of the Architect and his client
Today the sight of the villa’s ruined foundations evoke the image of something unfinished, something unexpectedly interrupted… that should have been done and that should have been started again later. But it didn’t happen, all was rudely interrupted by the War.
So the beauty of an idea revives from its own foundations, like a ghost hovering in mid-air… This is the genius loci here revealing itself, outliving time, events dynamics, changes in the functional assets, and granting an indelible character to the landscape.
It isn’t about reconstructing or interpret again the Gio Ponti’s building. And it is not even possible to violate this genius loci. It is about materializing the symbol of his idea.
The ghost of this villa materializes through a white faint metal frame, outlining the building in the air, while rising on the meadow.
The project proposal respects the current asset of the area and introduces only a few small buildings, which satisfy the functional plan.
The project creates new ways to enjoy the park. A hall for meetings and musical events and a museum with entrance on the groundfloor and exhibition rooms on the basement are at the base of the metal installation.
A palm house will rise in the North East area of the park.
The park represents a privileged habitat, where a new nature-oriented architecture can find its typological, morphological and technological legitimization.
The spatial structure of the buildings comes from simplicity and rationality needs, further to a project poetics according to which natural and artificial light set up the space. The project aims at defining open, bright, transparent and flexible spaces.
Comfortable rooms, characterized with an accurate study of colours, materials and building details, with a variable ratio between voids and heights during the course of the day.
The marking character of the space is based on the changeable ratio between clearness and substance. Here the natural and artificial light, the transparency and the visual permeability of the space assume a major part, brought out using glass.
A glass parallelepiped is designed on the sediment of current foundation on a sole level, where a 117 seats meeting and music hall is planned. This building can serve several purposes: meeting, reading, music performance, and so on.
On the ground floor of the adjoining two-storied museum building, there are the main entrance to the museum and terrace bar.
The metal installation dominates both the buildings and the open space between them is sheltered by three peculiar covering made of a metal framework supporting a semi-transparent material.
The two-storied museum exhibition spaces are arranged on the basement. The access to the exhibition area is preceded by the box office and by a book shop which is specialized in botany and architecture, with special attention to Gio Ponti’s bibliography. The museum is divided into a first introductory area with a permanent exhibition on Gio Ponti’s work and a wider area intended for temporary thematic exhibitions.
The basement areas get natural light and vent on the East side, where a square connected to the park is planned.
The palm house is a complementary space to the park. It’s a steel and structural glass building, housing a cultivation and exposition of exotic plants collections, along a multi–level path, a green shop and services. It protects plants and increases the visits to the park, as it is a place re-creating the exotic flowers and plants habitat, raising curiosity and fascination. The palm house is intended to be a relax spot, where to withdraw to read a book or listen to the music.