The site for this International Competition is located in the eastern side of the Lido Island, bordering the Adriatic Sea. The plot for this Competition is part of the extinct Ospedale al Mare – Hospital by the Sea – built from 1921 onward as innovative healthcare facilities by the Mediterranean.
Devoted to the treatment of tuberculosis, the therapeutically philosophy was based on the benefic properties of Sun, Sand and Sea water, but where also the arts have played an important role in the process of returning to full health.
Out of these buildings, the Ricreatorio Mario Marinoni is the most prominent. Built in 1921, it was donated by citizens to the Ospedale al Mare complex in order to make more cheerful the permanence of children in the Hospital, improving the care for children through education and art.
Teatro Marinoni was in the forefront of innovative healing procedures, namely by introducing the educative and entertainment aspect in a healthcare typology.In the 1970’s decade, after strong lacking of funding the activities were strongly reduced. The Theatre building was closed in 1975 and a slow shutting-down process of the entire hospital would definitely end in 2006.
Many years of abandonment have taken its toll: the buildings have become strongly degraded and vandalized, apart from the strong influence of the elements. With no private financial interest in the abandoned property, no efforts were made to protect or secure the buildings.
The Ospedale al Mare was a great part of the Cultural heritage and it is still present on the memory of the community of Lido Island. Working with this memory and the inherent value of the place, since 2011 the theatre building has been protected and reactivated by a local Organization – Association Teatro Marinoni – connected with an international network of schools, associations, professionals and artists. Their dream for the future is to revive a common space dedicated to art, care and education, a transdiciplinary school for cultural innovation, artists’ residency and citizens encounter.
The Marinoni theatre, through its central position and its cultural heritage, intervenes as a strategic site to value. The intervention aims at affirming its new status as building of public interest. Additionally, a new horizontal volume englobes the theatre and by only its presence reconnects all the entities of the new cultural centre. It brings back a certain clarity to this urban landscape without altering the architectural qualities of the older buildings.
More than a reunion of four buildings, which are currently separated, the new volume provides a functional coherence in the combining of different programs, welcoming especially the passage of people. This assumption limits the hold on the existing heritage and goes in the direction of an economy of means that benefits new areas of gathering and entertainment.
The lighthouse, reception area of the new pole, is a testament of a new centrality of Lido Island in acting as a junction between beach and culture.
The intervention cannot deny the rich heritage of this site and of Venice through a casual architecture. A common language of characterising elements of the Venetian architecture must therefore contribute to better promoting the history of the place, to its inhabitants and internationally.
The project minimises the impact on the environment by preserving the local ecosystem, especially the dunes, and limits the pathways in the public space. As a whole, an inside/outside permeability reveals itself all around the be volume in a subtil game of openings and closings, which allows through the diversity of spaces an appropriation of different uses of the manifestations.