Slab, point-access
Fondamenta Cereri
NA | Venice, Italy | c. 1600
Image of Fondamenta...
Canal facade

ProjectFondamenta Cereri
AddressFondamenta Cereri/Fondamenta delle Procuratie #2410-30
Building TypeSlab, point-access
Number of Dwellingsc.64
Date Builtc. 1600
Dwelling Types2,3 & 4 room flats
No. Floors4
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
stucco, stone, wood
Construction Typemasonry walls wood framing
Ancillary Servicesshops

This is an example of a form of multi family housing that developed in Venice towards the end of the 16th century. Using a method of modular construction in use since Byzantine times, the Venetians built with a system of masonry bearing walls and wood floors that was derived from ship construction. This building system was originally applied to typical palace construction resulting in the typical 3-bay Venetian plan type. Three long parallel narrow construction bays faced a canal at each end and were interspersed with courtyards for light and ventilation to interior rooms. Using a similar organization of long narrow bays, a type of housing evolved where the central narrow zone of the 3 bay organization was left open as a shared outside space giving access as well as light and ventilation to dwellings on each side. The placement of access stairs at the ends completed the transformation from palace to multi-family use. Like the palazzo model the end facades faced the canal at the ends of the narrow side bays forming one unified facade on the canal.

Fondamenta Cereri is probably the most developed example of the type in Venice. The two four-story blocks containing modest two and three room dwellings that are arranged around ingenious interior scissor stairs that open to a long exterior court providing through apartments on the ends of each block. Larger, more elaborate apartments at the ends of the parallel slabs face the canal and are treated as special dwellings with balconies, larger windows, chimneys and attic extensions, so that they appear to be two palazzo facades that are connected by the parapet of the roof and part of the upper wall and supporting an exposed wood truss which spans the opening of the walk. A truss giving the impression of a single unitary facade supports the arch connecting buildings. The attempt to render modest dwellings as the equivalent of the larger private house is important as a gesture to use a more integrative social model for building housing in the city.

Trincanto, Egle Renata, Venezia Minore, Filippi Editore, Venezia, 1982, pp. 325-330.

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