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Zintek in metropolitan areas, industrial redevelopment that looks to the future

Venezia is a unique wonder that embraces many spirits. The fragile spirit of the city centre, where art and culture permeate the 16th century palaces; the free spirit of the sea, the lagoon and the thousand canals, governed by the water and its rules; the strong spirit of the land where, over the centuries, powerful industrial, commercial, civil and social energies have been released. Venice is a circle that embraces all of this, it is a metropolita city that blends beauty and strength, history and modernity, elegance and solidity, tradition and innovation. Venice and its hinterland will play  a starring role in the future. With the reclamation of the industrial spaces, the metropolitan city will continue to develop in the years to come. 


Culture and sustainability as a “tool" to breathe new life into the area

The revival of Venice starts from its beating heart, its living heart, from the commercial port and the industrial area, focussing on sustainability and culture. Just as other large metropolitan areas throughout Europe have been revamped without repudiating their industrial past, Porto Marghera, Venice’s industrial area on the mainland, is transforming too and will be reclaimed through cultural projects, pioneering architecture, modernity and aesthetic modernisation. Venice is a port and a gateway: the gateway to the Adriatic Sea and the gateway to the East. Like other European maritime gateways such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, it aims to lead a revival oriented towards the values of the future: sustainability and culture where sustainability is expressed in the business model and culture in the futuristic architecture, turning the industrial zone into a true citadel of the culture of productivity.

It is no coincidence that the roots of Zintek are to be found here. For more than 80 years, the production plant has played a key role in the industrial life of Porto Marghera. What characterizes Zintek is the ability to interpret new needs and carry beauty, expressive capacity and attention to detail into the industrial heart: Zintek is synonymous with quality of life in buildings and revitalized urban areas, obtained through carefully designed architecture that pays attention to the development of the envelope and transforms environments into livable places that are compatible with sociality. Building on what was built in previous times doesn’t just mean requalifying buildings from the point of view of energy consumption, by using sustainable, long-lasting and 0 km products, it also means paying attention to details and providing the existing reality with a new face, a new vision of the industrial area as no longer merely “productive” but also beautiful, sustainable, livable, elegant and innovative. Productive development cannot prescind from cultural development. Venice and Zintek draw from their history, produce beyond standardization and use quality as a constant innovation factor.

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Presentation by Renata Codello,
General Secretary of the Giorgio Cini Foundation


Cultural project with contemporary architecture

Culture is not exclusive to Venice’s city centre but has spread out to the hinterland, expressing itself through the majesty of modern and futuristic architecture and the use of new technologies, giving life to a high-profile modernity. One example of this is the Torre degli Azotati. Zintek has supplied the roofing in zintek® titanium zinc rolled product for this project,  a space with glass and steel walls that hosts a food court with a breath-taking view of Venice.

The former Vetrocoke-Nitrogen  Cooling Tower is one of the most interesting rehabilitation projects that are transforming Porto Marghera. It was the cooling tower of the area called ex-Agrimont; built in 1938 and decommissioned in the Eighties, the tower has become a symbol of industrial archaeology. It was brought back to life in an astute project developed by the architecture firm Arka Associati: the 60 metre tall colossus has been interpreted in a completely new way and now appears in an original guise, instilling a new architectural style in Porto Marghera’s skyline.

Reaching up to the sky, bearing witness to the fact that Porto Marhera remains at the heart of a flurry of plans, projects and experiments that aim to do something different, yet just as prestigious, with the area and its glorious industrial past.

Zintek has made a valuable contribution to the project, bringing aesthetic merit, innovation, quality and safety. zintek® is clearly visible on the roof of the tower: the roofing, designed as a light sheet laid over the steel cladding, fully exploits the potential of the rolled product and, above all, its malleability: indeed, the ease with which zintek® can be worked has enabled the creation of a circular-shaped roof with laterally shifted centre using pre-weathered (that is, with a uniformly pre-aged look) zintek® conical slabs. The effect is that of an elegant, grey shell that lends itself to a play of reflections and bouncing light. zintek® also guarantees high protection, thanks to its resistance to atmospheric aggression, and cost-effectiveness because it does not require maintenance or periodic controls that would be difficult and expensive given the position of the cladding. 

Revamping of the former Vetrocoke-Nitrogen  Cooling Tower is the purpose of the Venezia Heritage Tower (VHT) association, a cultural start-up backed by a POR FESR loan granted by the Veneto Regional Authorities, in which Zintek is a partner along with other prestigious business realities including Pilkington-NSG Group, Schneider Electric, Redder, Linea Light Group, Wolfsgruber and Collezione Massimo Orlandini. The tower, owned by the Multimodale Darsena Consortium, is located in a strategic position in the dry port area and is a privileged observation point of the work and business culture as well as an amazing vantage point.

In the renovated historic building, the only example of its kind in Europe, 3,000 sq m of surface area have been converted over 6 floors: exhibition, education and congress spaces alternate harmoniously with the former centres of productive excellence and with the realities under construction. It is the first example of a “business museum”, showcasing the excellence of the territory, heir to a vast entrepreneurial and functional heritage that promotes today’s Made in Italy, with an eye to the future.

Strong and clear concepts held dear by Zintek, which is represented in the permanent exhibition spaces dedicated to excellence in production, presenting the process from the raw material to the finished product. Zintek has taken an active part in the VHT project since the outset, convinced that sowing the seeds of culture will lead to the growth of the territory, business and the community.


Cultural heritage
Past and present, excellence and vision

Heritage Tower 

Porto Marghera will have a future and will be a future that is innovative while honouring the past. However, the vision must be long-term and must reconcile all the unique aspects of the metropolitan city that is Venice. Communicate. Open rather than close.

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Presentaton by Renata Codello,
General Secretary of the Giorgio Cini Foundation

example of a reclaimed space

In the Building Citadel, which hosts the headquarters of the National Association of Builders (ANCE) of  Venice, the needs of urban development and functional reconversion are reconciled with the desire to keep the local production reality alive, incorporating it in the context of a metropolitan city. The project is an exemplary case of successful redevelopment and shows not only how it is possible to be architects today, making cutting-edge technological choices and respecting constraints of space and the intended use, but also what Porto Marghera could be in the future: a reclaimed zone that requires a global plan in which the individual activities interact to redesign the entire architectural landscape.

The new Building Citadel was conceived within the framework of the Rehabilitation Plan for the former Agrimont Area in via Banchina dell’Azoto. Entrusted to the Caprioglio Architects Studio Architettura firm, the project involved the reclamation and redevelopment of two buildings: an abandoned laboratory and the old infirmary. In the new complex there are three separate organisms led by ANCE Venezia; that is, the Territorial Joint Committee (CPT), the Training Centre for Craftsmen (CFMEA), with classrooms and teaching labs, and the Building Fund, with offices open to the public, offices of the presidency and board room. There is also a library, a conference hall with control booth and seating for 165 people, a food court, canteen, bar and furnished terrace. The modern building with minimalist design is characterised above all by the use of two materials: the glass of the large south-facing window, shaded by brise-soleil, and the zintek® titanium zinc rolled product that externally clads almost the entire surface area, both outside and inside.

There are several reasons why zintek® was chosen as the main element: first of all, the use of a glossy but not reflective metal rolled product – like zintek® at the end of the oxidation process – that accentuates communication between the surfaces and the light, an effect that the architect Caprioglio Giovanni holds dear. Moreover, the use of zintek® also for the interior design gives the environments a marked idea of modernity and is a perfect match with the other materials used, glass and wood.

Secondly, thanks to its malleability, the zintek® rolled product hugs all the lines and curves of the design, cladding both the flat surfaces and the two roundish “silos” like a made-to-measure suit; the different seaming techniques have enabled the creation of highly expressive graphics on the outside walls. Moreover, given its resistance to corrosion and the aggression of atmospheric agents, zintek® is able to protect the building.

Finally, zintek®, autochthonous and locally procured considering that is made in Porto Marghera itself, fully espouses the vision of so-called green landscape architecture, which in the case of the Building Citadel has translated into special attention to energy redevelopment, the choice of low maintenance materials and the use of energetically cost-effective solutions such as the ventilated facades in zintek® titanium zinc, the installation of solar panels on the roof and the application of photovoltaic membranes in the brise-soleil on the south facade.

Monography: New Citadel of Construction – Venice

Photogallery: New Citadel of Construction – Venice