Laguna Palace Hotel
The ancient city of Venice is joined to its mainland counterpart Mestre, by a causeway or umbilical chord, carrying trains and road transport between the two cities. Historically, it is the water of the lagoon and the canals that have been their lifeblood.
It was in the post-war business and industrial boom that Mestre emerged as an economic centre, and just as in Cape Town, the city to a large extent turned its back on its water-borne transport system. Canals that once penetrated the heart of the old city, fell victim to land reclamation and were reduced to the single truncated Canal Salso. It is off this canal that the project is sited, on a darsena (* dock ), lined by existing sheds of historical interest, which have now been converted to waters’ edge retail and loft apartments.
Laguna Palace is at the far end of the darsena, fronting onto Via Torino. Integral to the scheme is the improvement of road links to the area resulting in the construction of a new road Via Altobello, along the western boundary of the site, and a bridge across the Canal Salso linking Via Torino to Via Forte Marghera, the main arterial route to Mestre. As it is in Cape Town, it is the water link that is of paramount importance. Here too, the end of the darsena or canal terminates in a public square or piazza, setting the buildings back from the road, and which in time, will be surrounded by new buildings.