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Chipperfield picked for historic Venice overhaul

Procuratie Vecchie, Venice
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David Chipperfield Architects has been chosen to overhaul an iconic 16th-century building overlooking St Mark’s Square in Venice

The 2011 Royal Gold Medallist will deliver a major restoration of the landmark Procuratie Vecchie complex which is the city’s longest building and occupies the entire northern side of the world-famous square.

The project – backed by the building’s former occupier, Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali, and planned to complete in 2020 – will open the four-storey structure to the public for the first time in 500 years.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, David Chipperfield said: ‘This is a building with a monumental presence in a monumental square which the whole world loves. It is part of the only big civic space in Venice. It’s got an amazingly theatrical presence.’

Chipperfield’s restoration will transform the 150 metre-long Procuratie Vecchie into a new venue for art exhibitions and seminar events. A philanthropic institution helping vulnerable people including refugees will also be created inside the building, which boasts a colonnade of 52 stone arches at ground level.

The appointment comes five years after the architect curated the Venice Biennale of Architecture as its 13th director. The project will also create a new link between St Mark’s Square and the nearby Royal Gardens.

Procuratie Vecchie is part of a complex of Venetian government buildings which surround the square. The structure is joined by the Procuratie Nuove to the south and a Napoleonic-era wing to the west.

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