kristen GEORGE + jesus BANUELOS: The project was to design a contemporary façade for Palladio’s Palazzo della Ragione in the city of Vicenza, Italy. A decision was made to modify the program of Palladio’s basilica and create an astronomical observatory. The desire was to create a public destination and landmark in the city to attract visitors as well as residents of Vicenza.
Looking at the loggias of the original basilica, it is clear that Palladio’s goal was to negotiate the roman arches with the existing gothic openings, using different intersecting vaults. The Boolean logic of the vaults was necessary to obtain a desired order for the openings, but it was not a driving factor in the design. On the contrary this project focused on using intersecting volumes as the main design agent and the 2 façades were designed as an outcome of geometrical intersections. The accumulated masses fill the depth between inner and outer facades. The accumulated masses also present: morphological transitions of one mass into another, choreographed variation of voids (as a result of the Boolean operations with the façades) and rhythmic variations of scale. Additionally, there was a desire to create variability in the facade materiality such that a sense of porosity or visual exposure was created. We sought out this effect by emulating the iridescence and chromatic playfulness of crystalline forms found in nature.