Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Palladio's Villa Foscari

Villa Foscari (better known as “La Malcontenta”) was built in 1558 by Andrea Palladio for two brothers, Alvise and Nicolo Foscari. It is located on the Naviglio border, a waterway that connects Venice and Padua, in Mira, a smaller town in the Venice province. Palladio built an architecture that expressed his theoretical thought process and his extraordinary compositional skill. The building consists of a central floor plan on three levels. The main façade faces the canal because people used to arrive by boat along the canal. Palladio used the concept of the temple front on pedestal base with two stairs leading up to the front door. The idea of the temple front comes from religious architecture. The façade is made of brick now but used to be covered by hard stucco. Palladio used the gentle rustication concept in his development of the building materials. Gentle rustication is a more flat and delicate form of rustication. Palladio came up with a sophisticated solution to turning the corner with the columns. He turned only one capital 45 degrees thus allowing the column to continue and go on to the next column. The rear façade “pleases the modern face.” It employs elements from Roman engineering such as the thermal window and relieving arches. The thermal windows are used in thermal bath designs. The relieving arches on the building are purely graphical and made of plaster. Inside, Palladio uses the cross layout, which is usually used in religious architecture. Palladio also employs the use of the terrazzo flooring, which was a Roman technique to cover terraces. The flooring is painted to look like carpet or marble.
Amy Altman

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