In 1937/38, searching for an appropriate location for the Venice Film Festival, the architect Luigi Quagliata planned a building complex on the Lido in the vicinity of the hotel Excelsior. The complex consisted of three parts, namely the cinema, a casino and a swimming pool. The Palazzo del Cinema and the Palazzo del Casino were built whereas the swimming pool was dispensed with. Over the years the complex underwent various stages of restructuring and modification. It was complemented by several additions, partly of provisional nature that nevertheless remained permanent. Now the administration would like to remodel the building complex so as to ensure a proper organizational functionality as well as to regain the desired esthetic appeal. The ensemble of buildings is to be complemented by a further entity that is to raise the quality of the existing buildings and of the square in front of the performance center.
From the perspective of urban planning the new version of the Palazzo del Cinema is to be of solitary nature. It will be located on the remaining vacant third of the property next to the Palazzo del Casino and the old Palazzo del Cinema completing the sidescene of the prelocated square and the beach promenade.
The design of the new cinema complex results from the following three components:
Essential for the shape of the whole is the shape of its individual parts. There are parts whose shape is completely determined by their functionality whereas others leave more leeway. For instance, the movie theatre is spacially defined by parameters like size of the audience, size of the screen, angle of view, position of the projector, etc. The issue is to find the (nearly) unique form that optimally supports the functionality. The design of the administrative section is less confined. It is only subject to common parameters for such a produce. The foyer and the ascending walkway are essentially free of undisputable constraints.
The functionality not only determines the shape but also the position of the respective component. Of course, local specific features play a role as well. For instance, one should be able to access and vacate the largest theater as quickly and easily as possible. Exploiting the shape of the terrain, it is therefore positioned in a way that it can be developed smoothly almost on even ground while still not putting a barrier between the promenade and the canal since the main hall can easily be underpassed. Access to the administrative section and domicile of the jury is much less frequent and should be easily controlled. These components are therefore located in the upper part of the complex accessible by a separate entrance. The walkway has the form of a turning ramp and rises above the foyer orienting itself towards the promenade. It resembles a stretched arch of a gateway for the foyer and provides a natural stage for the celebrities thereby serving a predominant purpose, namely allowing them to be seen. Due to its ramplike nature moving up the walkway is easy and comfortable. It creates the flavor of a flowing landscape.
Combining the parameters from 1) and 2) leads now to the formula for the building.
Marc Anton Dahmen