in his latests series, architectural photographer dan alka has captured tadao ando’s fabrica building located in treviso, italy. established from a vision of luciano benetton, fabrica offers young people from around the world a one-year scholarship, accommodation and a round-trip ticket to italy, enabling a highly diverse group of researchers. the range of disciplines is equally diverse, including design, visual communication, photography, video, music and journalism.
all images © dan alka
dan alka travelled to italy to photograph the campus set within a 17th-century villa, restored and significantly augmented by renowned japanese architect tadao ando. the project included redesigning the villa’s hall – elliptical, double-height and uninterrupted from the front to the back of the villa – the creation of an auditorium in the greater barchessa and of a glassed-in area connecting the two barchesse, which replaced the existing, unsafe brickwork.
the auditorium’s curved, bare concrete wall projects from the barchessa’s outer façade; towards the inner portico a large opening offers a view over the courtyard and the large pool on both sides of the new access path to the smaller barchessa. this path, marked by a series of free-standing columns with truncated-cone capitals, creates a sort of spatial and geometric preview to the main fabric extending, in a straight line, beyond the barchessa and on almost to the boundary of the area.
the long parallelepiped – that was built during the second stage of construction together with the new areas, most of which are underground, and the elliptical piazza – consists of a series of solids and voids between two retaining side walls. the internal pathway passes between offices and laboratories and leads to the lower levels or up and out into the open, on the terraces. because of their particular character and dimensions, however, these transit areas play the role of both halls and galleries, waiting areas and ‘places for communion and communication between people, between people and history or nature,’ according to tadao ando.
the use of natural elements, such as light and air, as part of the architecture reaches its climax in the huge elliptical piazza, excavated eight metres deep. where it intersects with the ellipse’s curve, the straight building is literally cut to the quick, revealing its inner layout and structure, culminating in the series of free-standing columns on the terrace that continues the line of columns leading to the barchessa. on the opposite side, the ellipse’s virtual space intersects with a huge sunken terraced stairway which gives access from the villa’s driveway down to the centre of the piazza.
edited by: juliana neira | designboom