Punta della Dogana (Venice, Italy)

Venice, Italy. Tadao Ando renovated the building that was once used as a customs office in a modern style. Admiring the harmony between the brick walls and the contemporary artworks. 

“Punta della Dogana” is the museum of Contemporary Art in Venice, Italy. Italy is a treasure trove of art, but when it comes to contemporary art, there is no good impression. Since the medieval art is dominant and there is a conservative culture. Modern art museum I visited in Italy was not my favorite. However, there are “Venice Biennale” and “Venice International Film Festival” in Venice, and this “Punta della Dogana” was a place that I expected. This is because “Tadao Ando” designed this building.

The museum is across the southern canal, on the narrow bow towards the sea as viewed from the center of Venice, where “St. Mark’s Square” locates. Going to the front of the building with the image of Tadao Ando’s modern architecture, the exterior of the stone building looks very old-fashioned. I have asked myself “Is this the building designed by Tadao Ando?”

This building is in the 17th century and once used as customs. Look at the appearance and step inside, I surprised the gap. The interior is bricks rather than concrete, which “Tadao Ando” excels at. However after a short walk, I notice that a modern atmosphere coveres entire building.

The walls are bricks and there is no concrete. It is not trying to create a modern-style space, but it has a good balance with the contemporary artworks. It is a “good-sense space”. When walking around the museum, I returned to the same place and wander around to enjoy the space.

At the back side of the first floor, there is a picture that is approx. 2 meters high and 10 meters wide. It is in the space of the stairwell up to the second floor, and it caught my eyes. Probably, the balance between the brick wall of the building and the soft feeling space created by the building is excellent, rather than the power of the artworks.

Also, the display of objects with a crystal motif on the second floor was impressive, and I could not leave the place for a while. One thing I noticed after going around the building was that the walls is brick, but the floor is concrete or smooth material. It is the floor, not the walls, that creates a contemporary atmosphere in this museum.

By the way, many of the artworks at this museum exceeded the “Venice Biennale”, I have visited during the same period. No, maybe the “Venice Biennale” is better, but the “Punta della Dogana” is better in terms of the balance between the artworks and the space.

Nevertheless, there is a limited number of visitors on my visit despite the “Venice Biennale” was held and it was weekend. One of the conditions that bring the charm of the museum is that it is “A few visitors in the museum”. It is enviable that there is a limited number of visitors in this one of the world’s best tourist destination.

Finally, the building has a tower at the backside, I like the space going up the stairs. I recommend to visit this space.

Visited in 2013.

​Basic Information

​■ Name of Place:Punta della Dogana
■ Address : Dorsoduro, 2, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
​■ Homepage : https://www.palazzograssi.it/