Scuola Grande della Misericordia
The “Scuola Grande della Misericordia”, known as the “Misericordia di Venezia”, is a historic building that is part of the cultural and artistic heritage of the city. It was created as a complex space of communication: prior to becoming a multifunctional facility, it was a manifesto of prestige and innovation, reflecting the aims of the Doge Gritti.
Today the Misericordia is a fluid space where history and culture establish a dialogue with the territory. A highly qualified and technologically advanced place that returns to the original social function of the School, interpreted in a modern way.
Founded in the Middle Ages as a secular phenomenon of devotion and solidarity, the Misericordia was one of the seven “Scuole Grandi” of Venice, i.e. the leading social institutions of the Serenissima, based on the participation of outstanding citizens. Unfinished at the time of the death of Sansovino, the “fabrica” was opened in 1583, but the projects to complete the building continued for another 200 years. The fall of the Venetian Republic forced the brothers to abandon the facility, and from the early 1800s the School was used in a range of different ways: first as a military barracks, then as a warehouse, and finally as the location of the State Archives.
From 1914 it became the centre of the pedagogical and sporting activities of the Costantino Reyer gymnastics club, making it the temple of sport in Venice. The singular relationship between the Scuola Grande and Reyer reached its height in the sport of basketball, determining the identity of the club through adaptation of the spaces of the Misericordia. The gymnasium was located at the Misericordia until 1991, when the municipality of Venice commissioned Giovanni Battista Fabbri to restore the building, a project that was never completed. The work was finished only in 2015 thanks to a new renovation project of the Misericordia conducted by Gruppo Umana Spa, with coordination by the architect Alberto Torsello.
Today, thanks to the Project Financing of Gruppo Umana Spa, the Misericordia of Venice returns to its status as a place at the service of the city, interpreting its original function of hospitality in a modern way.
The new architectural project conserves and updates the charm of the original building, bringing out the layers of history in the masonry and the decorations. The restoration work brings back to completion what previously existed.
The monumental building of about 26,000 square metres, subdivided into two levels, is perfect to host events and offers maximum freedom for installations, with avant-garde technological services: a sophisticated lighting system, an extensive cabling network, a floor-based heating and cooling system separated into specific zones. DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) lighting technology permits remote control and management, offering the possibility of creating completely customized settings and effects.
Today the Misericordia is a project in progress, sustainable for the city of Venice and for the present moment in history: a space in which urban renewal, culture and social aggregation converge, where the historical importance of the building establishes a harmonious dialogue with contemporary features. A driver of activity, flexible and adaptable, designed to encourage excellence, cultural exchange and opportunities for encounter.