The architecture of Andrea Palladio represents the built manifestation of Palladio’s utopia of synthesizing all humanistic values by establishing theexact role and relation of each part of his architectural compositions – from the organism as a perfect whole to each single room. The proportion ofeach room is in fact determined by a specifi c set of “harmonic“ relations that derive from the Euclidian mathematics practiced in the 16th Century.
Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher – when invited to initiate a dialogue between contemporary architects and Palladio in occasion of the 500th anniversaryof Palladio’s birth – focused their study on one room, conscious that exploring the logic and relational system of a single room they wouldhave addressed and captured the essence of Palladio’s architectural theory.
Villa Foscari La Malcontenta, a building designed by Palladio in 1555 for a site along the Brenta River, represents the ideal setting for this explorationas it was conceived and built by Palladio as a manifesto to demonstrate the perfection of his architectural theories to the Serenissima Republicof Venice.
The proportions of the rooms of the piano nobile of La Malcontenta thus constitute the starting point for Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher’s study.The frequency curves generated by the harmonic proportional system of the villa are progressively transformed, through mathematical algorithms,to defi ne a genotypic elementary form that contains in its DNA the whole Palladian set of rules. As a result of this experimentation, multiple complexspatial environments are generated through lawful variations of Palladio’s classical proportions.
The natural equilibrium achieved by Andrea Palladio in La Malcontenta is thus shaken by the dynamic component introduced by Zaha Hadid andPatrik Schumacher, who have long abandoned the Euclidian mathematics that generated Palladio’s proportional theories – that could only lead tothe defi nition of one singular and “perfect” relational system – and explore the potentials of advanced digital techniques.
In such way, within one room of this architecture that stands on the Brenta River since fi ve centuries – within the void of such room – “Aura” is generatedas a spatial morphology that refl ects the structure of this void, the skeleton of this ethereal space.
As a further demonstration of the generative potential of Palladio’s proportional system, a second installation was designed for the symmetricalroom. “Aura L” and “Aura S” are thus presented as two “phenotypes” of the complex order generated by a contemporary translation of Palladio’sharmonic system.Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher Design Team: Fulvio Wirz and Mariagrazia Lanza Client: Fondazione La Malcontenta
Program: ‘Andrea Palladio and Contemporary Architects’
Lighting Design: Zumtobel Illuminazione s.r.l.
Manufacturing: Idee&Design GmbH, The Art Factory
Curator: Giulia Foscari W.R.
Lacquered fibreglass with embedded steel frame
Core material: PU-Foam RG100 and Polystyrene EPS 20 milled parts coated with PU-SB1
Sizes: 6 x 3 x 2.45 m
Product Year: 2008
Photographer: Luke Hayes