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The Veneto Eye Bank Foundation is a non-profit, social welfare organization and regional center for cornea transplantation and research into epithelial stem cells. One of the leading eye banks in Europe, the 50,000 sf medical facility houses several functions: a surgical facility, stem cell research laboratories, eye treatment center, administrative offices as well as the EIDON Foundation educational facility, which includes a 450-seat auditorium. Designed by green architect Emilio Ambasz in 2008, it is situated on a flat, triangular-shaped 2.8 hectare site. Located near a local railroad, major roadway, traffic roundabout, and the entrance to a new regional hospital, the Venice-Mestre Hospital, also designed by Ambasz, the Foundation is highly visible.
The triangular-shaped building is defined by two 12 meter high trapezoidal walls, clad in pre-stained copper set at right angles to each other. The two extreme points of the orthogonal walls seem about to touch each other, reminiscent of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. In the triangular space created by these walls, a volume is defined by a series of landscaped terraces at each floor level, making up one side. On the opposite side, the building rises as a series of steps that lead to a flat planted roof garden. These steps make the entire living roof an outdoor amphitheater. A parabolic opening forms the main entrance through this stepped facade. Administrative, research, and surgical functions are located on the three floors above ground while a ground level circular courtyard provides light to the educational spaces located below ground. All of the spaces receive direct natural sunlight from the large walls of glass placed at a distance from the edge of the vegetated terraces. The combination of the plantings and deep overhangs minimize the impact of heat loads by blocking sunlight during the middle of the days. A below grade parking garage eliminates all visible cars on the site to ensure a continuous green surface around and onto the building’s roof. The Veneto Eye Bank Foundation embraces architect Emilio Ambasz’s philosophy of “The Green Over the Gray,” or the landscape over the building.
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Greenroofs.com Project of the Week video photo credits all courtesy of Emilio Ambasz ©Enrico Cano; Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus (FBOV) and their Facebook page; Gruppo Novello Building Envelope; and https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15461165 The Creation of Adam via Wikimedia by Michelangelo, Public Domain.