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BANCA DEGLI OCCHI

VENICE-MESTRE, ITALY (2009)


This ophthalmological research laboratory, under the aegis of a private foundation, Fondazione Banca degli Occhi, is unique not only in the fact that it has over 30 years of experience in eye transplants as well as training doctors in these techniques, but it has engaged in staminal cell research with remarkable ophthalmologic results. The building, following a triangular plan, contains the staminal-cell research labs, a school for training professionals, operating and recovery rooms, covered parking, as well as a large underground auditorium and parking. The building is defined by two long trapezoidal walls, sheathed with a bronze patina finish, that are placed at right angle to each other, but with their projected tips not touching by a few inches, thus evoking Michelangelo's painting in the Sistine Chapel of God's finger transferring his élan vital to Adam. Its roof is a stepped section plane covered in fragrant greenery that can be smelled by the eye-deficient patients on entering. This roof also serves as open-air auditorium as well as an emergency exit from each floor. On the building's third side, the technicians in the laboratories and the patients, have a personal view to the plants growing outside their windows in wide earth covered terraces. This building is located across the street from the Nuovo Ospedale di Venezia-Mestre, also designed by Ambasz, recently baptized as Ospedale dell'Angelo (the Angel's Hospital), the first "green" hospital in Europe.




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