OMA Completes Restoration of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi

The renovated 19th-century pavilion now includes a steel and glass floor overlooking the courtyard. All images by Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti and courtesy of OMA.

OMA has completed work on its renovation of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. Commissioned by the Benetton family, the restoration project began seven years ago.
The reins of the 16th-century building’s transformation into a department store have been handed over to Hong Kong–based firm DFS who will tackle further revitalization of the interiors.

Rem Koolhaas, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, and Silvia Sandor led the endeavor to infuse the historic site with strategic vertical distribution devices in order to accommodate new programming and provide a public space.

Images courtesy of OMA.

Visitors now have access to the courtyard piazza through retained entrances. New entry points from the Campo San Bartolomeo and the Rialto Bridge have been added, as well as wood-paneled escalators. The existing 19th-century pavilion providing shelter above the courtyard has been renovated to feature a new steel and glass floor, which will also serve as a venue space. The rooftop has been further equipped with a large wooden terrace offering city views.

Images courtesy of OMA.

The interior layout consolidates the rooms with respect to the original sequencing. Certain spaces, such as corner rooms, remain completely untouched for their historical significance. In contemporary form, galleria walls will now serve as the backdrop for frescoes.

Image courtesy of OMA.

Since its first unveiling in 1228, the nearly 97,000-square-foot building has served numerous purposes, from a German trading post to a custom house for Napoleon Bonaparte to a post office during the reign of Mussolini. It was twice destroyed in fire and was rebuilt in its current form in 1506. Further adjustments were made in the 18th and 20th centuries. During the 1930s, the building was almost entirely reconstructed with modern concrete technology and was declared a monument in 1987.