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Venice 2014

Meditation Pavillion

Brion Tomb Complex, Meditation Pavillion

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Meditation Pavillion, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

Of the three structures within the Brion enclave: the island/meditation pavilion, the funeral chapel, and the arcosolium– the pavilion is the only structure that encourages public occupation. The pavilion consists of four slender columns, asymmetrically disposed about a platform supporting a boxlike roof and frieze.  Suspending the frieze is an involcrum.[1] There is a continuous panel divided by slots that are intended to be a viewfinder.[2] Visitors must adjust their eye levels to gain an unobscured view of the walled garden, either by using the viewfinder or by sitting.  Scarpa emphasizes the importance of the views and the manner in which they were to be observed. There are two distinctly different and equally important views from the island. The first is of the interior walled garden of the sanctuary and the second is of the distant landscape. It is left to the visitor to determine how to view these. The wall that surrounds the property is key to this process and was designed to work in tandem with the pavilion and its viewfinder. Scarpa incorporated various devices throughout the garden complex to prompt the viewer to look beyond the immediate enclosure, not generally but to specific objects or places in the landscape. Scarpa refers to the view he created saying that,  

I decided all at once that over the pond there had to be a perspective element to break up the view. I am fond of water, perhaps because I am Venetian…I designed the watercourse, which wells up at a certain point, and in the sunlight I laid out two sarcophagi to contain the bodies of Brion and his wife.[3]

Scarpa refers to a narrow watercourse that runs from the large pool along the wall’s edge, beneath the interlocking circles at the entrance, and eventually leads to the masterpiece of the enclave.



[1] A Latin term for envelope or wrapper that covers the front of an object. George Dodds, Robert Tavernor, and Joseph Rykwert, "Desiring Landscapes/Landscapes of Desire: Scopic and Somatic in the Brion Sanctuary," in Body and Building: Essays on the Changing Relation of Body and Architecture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002).

[2] This eyepiece is carved with incomplete intersecting double circles, forming a much smaller pair of eyes that relates back to the entrance. The eyepiece it too low for most men, in fact in Scarpa’s drawings, he drew correctly sized figures of himself, his son, and his wife. Most likely however, Scarpa designed the double-circle aperture for his client Onorina Brion.

[3] Robert McCarter, Carlo Scarpa (London: Phaidon Press, 2013), 253.

 

Brion Tomb Complex, Meditation Pavillion

Carlo Scarpa, Brion Sanctuary Meditation Pavillion, ca. 1969-1978, San Vito d'Altivole

Of the three structures within the Brion enclave: the island/meditation pavilion, the funeral chapel, and the arcosolium– the pavilion is the only structure that encourages public occupation. The pavilion consists of four slender columns, asymmetrically disposed about a platform supporting a boxlike roof and frieze.  Suspending the frieze is an involcrum.[1] There is a continuous panel divided by slots that are intended to be a viewfinder.[2] Visitors must adjust their eye levels to gain an unobscured view of the walled garden, either by using the viewfinder or by sitting.  Scarpa emphasizes the importance of the views and the manner in which they were to be observed. There are two distinctly different and equally important views from the island. The first is of the interior walled garden of the sanctuary and the second is of the distant landscape. It is left to the visitor to determine how to view these. The wall that surrounds the property is key to this process and was designed to work in tandem with the pavilion and its viewfinder. Scarpa incorporated various devices throughout the garden complex to prompt the viewer to look beyond the immediate enclosure, not generally but to specific objects or places in the landscape. Scarpa refers to the view he created saying that,  

I decided all at once that over the pond there had to be a perspective element to break up the view. I am fond of water, perhaps because I am Venetian…I designed the watercourse, which wells up at a certain point, and in the sunlight I laid out two sarcophagi to contain the bodies of Brion and his wife.[3]

Scarpa refers to a narrow watercourse that runs from the large pool along the wall’s edge, beneath the interlocking circles at the entrance, and eventually leads to the masterpiece of the enclave.



[1] A Latin term for envelope or wrapper that covers the front of an object. George Dodds, Robert Tavernor, and Joseph Rykwert, "Desiring Landscapes/Landscapes of Desire: Scopic and Somatic in the Brion Sanctuary," in Body and Building: Essays on the Changing Relation of Body and Architecture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002).

[2] This eyepiece is carved with incomplete intersecting double circles, forming a much smaller pair of eyes that relates back to the entrance. The eyepiece it too low for most men, in fact in Scarpa’s drawings, he drew correctly sized figures of himself, his son, and his wife. Most likely however, Scarpa designed the double-circle aperture for his client Onorina Brion.

[3] Robert McCarter, Carlo Scarpa (London: Phaidon Press, 2013), 253.