Rotonda Educational Centre.
Type: Erasmus+ Design studio @ Universität Liechtenstein
Consultant: Prof. Dietrich Schwarz, Daniel Penzis
Location: Vicenza, Italy
Food for Thought
The Rotonda is often seen as a temple. The spatial inspiration supposedly was inspired by the Pantheon, although Palladio did not mention his sources. His intention wasn’t complicated, it was quite simple: Almerico Capra, a highly ranked officer in the papal office requested him to build a villa, and to find the perfect place. Since he wasn’t restricted to one facade as usually in cities, he took advantage of the ,,theatrical” landscape – as he described: spatially it meant creating a central building, which is one of the most ancient typologies. Construction-wise he made the most sensible decision not to build in the flood-area of the Bacchiliogne, the classical temple on the hill scenography came from rational decisions only. He used clear, very pure proportions to draft the plans. No wonder, that the villa is seen as a symbol of the Renaissance era, or the temple of rationalism if one would like to phrase it more theatrical.
If the Rotonda is a temple on an abstract plane, how can we approach it? Several sacred archetypes come to answer (duomo-campanile-battistero, cathedrals-monasteries, etc.). To help choose the best option, let us explore the building from another aspect. It is an architectural masterpiece created to celebrate the intellectual power of mankind: a place for gatherings, social events, where great minds (and their mecenas, of cours) came together and debated highly intellectual topics from mathematics to music. How is this building used today? As a poorly organized visitor’s centre owned by a wealthy family.
Thus, the initial goal was dual: to restore the original purpose of the Rotonda, while providing better visitor experience and growing up to the task. Scientists gather in the Rotonda to discuss important topics, while eating locally produced food to remain as sustainable as possible: a double-time food for thought. First: on the physical level, the food itself for the people. Second: on the spiritual level, the inspired and shared thoughts of these men and women to awe the world with solutions, streamed online, but people can come and see the work happening while visiting the site as usual. It would mean an exhibiton in the Rotonda.