A splendid structure, a symbol of the maritime power of the Republic of the Serenissima that the Italian Navy, with the support of the Superintendency of the Fine Arts and Landscape of Venice and Laguna, has been able to bring back to its former glory through an important work of architectural recovery, giving back to the the city of Venice a great monument of its kind, an absolutely unique building, with an equally singular and fascinating history.
The site where it stood originally hosted a first building of the ‘500, intended for the storage of timber chosen for the construction of the ships. Later a long “tezon” (shed) in wood was built called “gran fabbricato a le sieghe”, where the trunks were neatly stacked, together with the boards already sawed to measure and ready for use.
Very ancient, the building was completely demolished and on its place began, in 1750, the work for the construction of a new building in masonry, intended for the same purpose, which was called “tezon dei squadradori”, completed in 1778.
Before the partial demolition, the building of the Squadratori constituted the most imposing construction of the whole Arsenal: 147 meters long, 28m wide, 16.80m high at the eaves and 22m at the ridge. It consisted of a single, grandiose compartment, limited by thirteen arches and rhythmed from circular eye windows. Inside there were squarers (arsenalotti), specialized in the square of the boards obtained from the trunks of oak, acacia, fir, larch, beech and walnut used for the construction of the ships.
After joining the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, the Arsenal underwent a profound work of reorganization and strengthening. Around 1880, the building of the Squadratori was affected by changes that profoundly altered its original appearance and structure: the overall length was reduced to 86.50 meters by the demolition of the north front arch and the five successive ones, substantial changes that however, did not diminish its appeal.
In 2014, the Italian Navy launched an important and courageous architectural recovery project for the structure. To guarantee the safety conditions, it was necessary to carry out a series of works and services in preparation for the actual function of the environment, all with the priority of preserving and protecting the architectural asset with an inestimable historically-artistic value.
At the end of the intervention, completed in a very short time, it was possible to host the 10th Regional Sea Power Symposium of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea in the Sala degli Squadratori, already in October 2015. Since then, it was also used for the 11th edition of the Symposium (October 2017) and for other institutional events.
An exceptional result, obtained thanks to the constant and active involvement of the Navy in the protection and enhancement of the Ancient Arsenal of Venice, in full synergy with the City and with all the institutional actors involved. A great work that makes possible to have a splendid architectural space available again in the heart of the historical city.