The internal restoration at San Giobbe “fondamenta” in Venice involves a small residential space on the ground floor. A small area of 40 square metres once used as a workshop then converted to a temporary housing.
The restoration of this space involved the reorganisation of the internal partitions and furnishing. It also eliminated water penetration and dampness as well as protection against periodic ”acqua alta” ( high tide) using technical elements. Hydraulic engineering and technical infrastructure were used as the starting point to solve the overall reconfiguration of the internal architectural design solution.
Considering the average level of the tides surveyed between 1870 to 2000 it was revealed that a level of +160cm would be sufficient to protect the space from centennial maximum high tides.Therefore it was decided to create a waterproof tank in reinforced concrete. A tank with concrete walls along the perimeter of the space adhering to the underlying slab, further sealed with bentonite joints.
All the internal spaces were designed starting from the safety level of +160cm. The small kitchen and the bathroom areas were placed at 160cm integrated with the reinforced concrete waterproof tank.The internal floor was placed at an intermediate level of +122cm between the top level of the tank (+160) and external San Giobbe “fondamenta” at +84cm. In consideration of the tides levels and the level of San Giobbe “fondamenta” a design decision was made to avoid the insertion of temporary and removable steel sheet bayonet against high water as used in the majority of Venetian ground floor spaces. This decision was made to create visual continuity to the vertical tank walls .
To reach the living space, access is via irregular shaped steps. The steps link the internal and external spaces and thus eliminate the need to use the removable steel sheet bayonet. The constant concrete wall perimeter level of +160cm in gives the internal space a sense of protection and intimacy. The tank containment rim thus becomes a step, a shelf, a furniture support, and floor for the kitchen and bathroom. The bedroom space is also at the +160cm level with timber planks supported placed on the perimeter rims.
The reinforced concrete tank left off form unequivocally emphasises its technical/infrastructural function. The off form concrete also characterises and organises the entire design.
A series of furniture, containers, sliding panels in glass and wood organise the rest of the space. Wooden panelling filled with waterproof and insulation materials covers all the remaining vertical walls from/above the level of +160cm. All the furniture is wood with rough saw finish painted in pure white. Ceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom are hand made in black Sepia.