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24th June 2011

Arsenale di Verona Verona - Italy

A peaceful oasis straight in front of an iconic military building: the swimming pool facing the former Austrian Arsenal in Verona was built in the second half of the XIX century and has been now converted to an ornamental fountain. The work was part of a qualification and functional recovery project by the firm Chipperfield Architects that linked its conservation and renovation work to the past.
The dual design provides for a summery fountain and a winter open square. The stonewall all around the basin provides for a seating facility, whilst water is not only used as a decoration element but also an appealing community space.
The evocative appearance of the water mirror is essentially simple and strongly impacting at the same time thanks to the considerable dimension of the area involved (approximately 1700 sq.m. /2000 sq.yd).

The result is impressive: the space expands, the park and the neighbour buildings are reflected, and water becomes the focus and the link between them. The surface matches the outline of the existing basin edge and is separated by the latter from a “dry” walkway that can be accessed from the existing stairs. Thanks to the very low water depth, visitors can walk in and across the basin especially in fine weather when citizens like to gather in this upgraded historical milieu of the city.