Venice Housing Project

Venice housing project: case study

Social housing

Andrea Palladio (c.1550s)
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings Collection

The drawing shown on the left is possibly the only plan in existence of Palladio's designs for social housing.

Social housing was not uncommon in Renaissance Venice. It was often paid for either by charitable or ecclesiastical institutions, or by the city state. Often it was a good way for the state to gain revenue from rents.

We can tell that the design was meant for a building in Venice by the Palladio's labelling of the 'calli', typical Venetian alleyways. The drawing depicts four separate dwellings. The plan is reminiscent of some of Serlio's designs in the sixth book of Di Architettura.

The reverse of the drawing, shown on the right, includes a draft of a letter to Gian Giacomo Leonardi and some other small sketches for various projects. The clearest sketches are those in the top left-hand corner of the sheet of a series of terraced houses on an irregular site. This may be another of Palladio's designs for a domestic housing scheme in Venice.