San Michele market, Mestre - Venice, Italy

In the city centre it is built with prefabricated elements

The new San Michele covered market in the city centre of Mestre - Venice (IT) contains 36 shops and was inaugurated after a construction period of only five months.

The project involved the demolition of the existing temporary market and the subsequent creation of the definitive fixed market.

At the design level, the shops were unified into continuous, homogeneous, and covered blocks. From the structural perspective, they are made with vertical cross-lam load-bearing panels and horizontal glulam panels.

On the front part of the shops, a timber beam 70 cm high acts as a support for the roofing of the shops and allows the creation of a large free spans (up to 12 m) without other structural elements, which would have hidden the visibility of the shops.

The most distinctive element of the market is certainly the roof. It covers an area of about 2,000 sqm and it is made up of a series of rhomboidal pitches in glulam seated on a set of steel posts positioned in the center of the paths, leaving the shop façades free. The roof covering is made of opaque corrugated metal-sheet for the south pitches and translucent for the north pitches, obtaining natural lighting of the covered environment without direct light.

The roof is set at a height of 4.50 m, leaving a room of about 2.0 m for shops, allowing an abundant recirculation of the air of the space below. Each roof element has also openings along the ridge beam that allow the passage of air, implementing the flow. 

This kind of roof allows also to have a covered area not only for the shops but also for the internal paths.

Project details

Location Mestre - Venice, Italy

Completion 2019

Execution timber engineering works 08/2019 - 10/2019 (total 06/2019 - 11/2019)

Client Municipality of Venice (Insula S.p.A.)

Timber engineering Rubner Holzbau, Bressanone (IT)

Glued laminated timber (Glulam) 480 m³ (spruce)

Cross laminated timber (CLT) 130 m³

Images Giorgio De Vecchi - gerdastudio

Starting from the tender-based executive project, two challenges immediately arose, one concerned the tight time required by the municipality to carry out the work and the other was the particular position of the building site (city center) and its small size.

Our experience allowed us to find the optimal solution to face and successfully solve these difficulties.

The first challenge came from the architectural requirements and led us to the design of a tetrahedral macro element that has been assembled on-site at the ground level and then positioned in place in one piece. This allowed us to manage the site space in a more rational way, allowing the other trades (concrete works, MEP works) to carry out their own work.

Concerning the timing, the experience of our site managers was fundamental, who, knowing the assembly and production times of the prefabricated material, were able to develop a time-schedule and to manage the assembly teams to optimize time and space inside the site successfully.