Andrea Palladio and Zaha Hadid Architects

published in: Architecture By Yatzer, 19 August 2008

Pin It

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Andrea Palladios birth (1508-2008), La Malcontenta invited Zaha Hadid Architects to design and build two installations within Villa Foscari La Malcontenta, to initiate a dialogue between Contemporary Architects and Palladio breaching five centuries of architectural discourse.

For this exhibition, curated by architect Giulia Foscari, Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher explored the generative potential of the harmonic proportional system introduced by Palladio in Villa La Malcontenta.


AURA-L (Renderings)

Text by Curator: Giulia Foscari

Villa Foscari La Malcontenta

Andrea Palladio and Contemporary Architects: Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher

The architecture of Andrea Palladio represents the built manifestation of Palladio’s utopia of synthesizing all humanistic values by establishing the exact role and relation of each part of his architectural compositions - from the organism as a perfect whole to each single room. The proportion of each room is in fact determined by a specific 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 anniversary of Palladio’s birth – focused their study on one room, conscious that exploring the logic and relational system of a single room they would have 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 exploration as it was conceived and built by Palladio as a manifesto to demonstrate the perfection of his architectural theories to the Serenissima Republic of 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 define a genotypic elementary form that contains in its DNA the whole Palladian set of rules. As a result of this experimentation, multiple complex spatial 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 and Patrik Schumacher, who have long abandoned the Euclidian mathematics that generated Palladio’s proportional theories – that could only lead to the definition 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 five centuries – within the void of such room – “Aura” is generated as a spatial morphology that reflects 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 symmetrical room. “Aura L” and “Aura S” are thus presented as two “phenotypes” of the complex order generated by a contemporary translation of Palladio’s harmonic system.


AURA-S (Renderings)

Plan of the Villa and AURAs

Villa Foscari La Malcontenta


Collateral Event of the 11th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia
Venue: Villa Foscari La Malcontenta
: La Malcontenta
Giulia Foscari, Architect
Exhibitors: Zaha Hadid  and Patrik Schumacher
Design Team:
Mariagrazia Lanza and Fulvio Wirz
Installation details: “AURA”: Ed. 1/1; (6x3x2.5)mt; Lacquered fiberglass with embedded steel frame
Manufacturing:I dee & Design GmbH, The Artfactory Lighting: Zumtobel Illuminazione s.r.l.


Opening dates
Private Opening: 10th September 2008 – evening
Preview: 12th September 2008 – 4.30 to 9.00 pm
Open: 14th September to 23rd November 2008
Opening Hours
Sat. & Sun. 9.00 to 18.00 - Tue. 9.00 to 12.00 - Tue. pm to Friday booking required - Mon. closed.


La Malcontenta , Zaha Hadid

Related Articles
Hadid Zaha

About Zaha Hadid

photo © Gautier Deblonde

Zaha Hadid, founding partner of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and is internationally known for her built, theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects builds on over thirty years of revolutionary experimentation and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design.
Working with senior office partner Patrik Schumacher, Hadid’s interest is in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape, and geology as the practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems that lead to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies. Such a process often results in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
The MAXXI: National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, BMW Central Building in Leipzig and Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg are excellent demonstrations of the practice’s quest for complex, dynamic space. Previous seminal buildings, such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati and Hoenheim-Nord Terminus in Strasbourg have also been hailed as architecture that transforms our vision of the future with new spatial concepts and bold, visionary forms.
Currently, the practice is working on a multitude of projects including; the Fiera di Milano master-plan and tower, the Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games, High-Speed Train Stations in Naples and Durango, the CMA CGM Head Office tower in Marseille and urban master-plans in Beijing, Bilbao, Istanbul, Singapore and the Middle East.
Zaha Hadid Architects continues to be a global leader in pioneering research and design investigation. Collaborations with artists, designers, engineers and clients that lead their industries have advanced the practice’s diversity and knowledge, whilst the implementation of state-of-the-art technologies have aided the realization of fluid, dynamic and therefore complex architectural structures.
Zaha Hadid’s work was the subject of a critically-acclaimed retrospective exhibition at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2006 and showcased at London’s Design Museum in 2007. Hadid’s recently completed projects include the Nordpark Railway stations in Innsbruck, Mobile Art for Chanel in Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York, the Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion in Spain and the Burnham Pavilion in Chicago.

[official website]

Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you. - {x}

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the * required information where indicated. Please also rate the article as it will help us decide future content and posts. Comments are moderated. Please no link dropping, no keywords or domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise!