Yesterday, David Chipperfield Architects Milan (DCA Milan) was chosen to spearhead the renovation of the Procuratie Vecchie, a 16th century building located on the north side of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy, that has not been open to the public for 500 years. The project was commissioned by Italian insurance company Generali, which held an international design competition earlier this year to select an architect that would transform the historic building into a headquarters and hub for the company's newest flagship initiative: The Human Safety Net, launched in conjunction with the announcement of the winning design.
The 500-year-old building, which was originally intended to house the apartments and offices of the procurators of San Marco, was rebuilt in the 16th century by Italian architect Mauro Codussi after a fire burned the original 12th-century structure to the ground. Up until recently, the Procuratie Vecchie has been used as Generali's headquarters since 1832, but was closed to the general public.
Now, the building will play a pivotal role as a center for people to "seek inspiration from programs, exchange ideas, and volunteer to take collective action," according to a press release by Generali. "The hub will host regular public exhibitions, events and discussions on pressing social and demographic challenges from poverty to migration." The Human Safety Net initiative aims to help the most vulnerable people and communities around the world through three main programs: The Human Safety Net for Families, The Human Safety Net for Refugee Start-Ups, and The Human Safety Net for Newborns.
The restoration of this building, "will reunify the interiors of the Procuratie and introduce clarity ... establishing suitable spaces for the foundation, as well as improving circulation," DCA Milan said in a press release. The firm also plans to create a public route from Procuratie Nuove (the second building on the south side of the Piazza San Marco) to the Royal Gardens of Venice (Giardini Reali) on the Grand Canal. The project is set to be completed in 2020.