Mestre Market Square

Rediscovering Apprenticeship, Craft and Useful Work

The scheme seeks to saturate the heart of an abandoned and underutilised block between the new M9 development and the Piazzale Donatori di Sangue creating a series of connected public outdoor spaces, one of culture, one of vibrancy and one as a buffer to the street.

Our conceptual approach to the site focused on three main objectives. First, saturation; a concentration of detail, intricacy and vibrancy of both program and architectural expression. Reveal; a peeling and and

lifting to create openness and encourage occupation of found space. And lastly, meander; the unobstructed freedom of movement which is reminiscent of the ‘gothic mind’ as mentioned by the Smithsons.

The site’s history as a former agricultural estate growing produce for the region drove the ambition for its repurposing as a market space. In the mid-19th century the site was used as a meat market, the Foro Boario, moved out of Piazza Grande as its purpose turned to more civic and communal purposes. Slowly this evolved into a space of entertainment — Circuses, theatre, fairs and performances started moving in and the market was again pushed out.

The main operation is the liberation of the ground floor which is achieved by the removal of the existing architectural skin at the ground plane, allowing the pavement of the surrounds to run into and under the buildings, connecting the public spaces in its vicinity. What remains is the existing column grid of the

buildings, a field of varying grids which gives structure to the newly liberated space, the site now of a covered and dynamic market space. Occupants are encouraged to meander, weaving between the grid and engaging in the dialogue of the ground plane — a composition of void, grid and mass, with a series of glazed boxes containing fixed programs and vertical connections to the upper floors.

The rooftop is also liberated, opened to reveal a lattice like structure. This space, an events and entertainment precinct, is afforded views across Mestre. The cutting of the building and ground and top floors was a nod to the Piazza’s tripatride facade and creates a central band of existing facade, the Piano Nobile, with a saturation of visual interest. This band contains the private spaces of the site, a hotel and residential dwellings.

Winter Studio 2021
The University of Melbourne
Venice Studio

Adaptive reuse hotel, residential and public square
Mestre, Venice