The North and South Armaments complex, located in the heart of the Arsenale area in use at the Biennale, is made up of two imposing two-story buildings, consisting of 3 and 4 areas. The original nucleus of the Sale d'Armi dates back to about 1460, when they were used as a deposit for the armaments of the Serenissima Republic, as well for representation during the visits of particularly illustrious guests. Some rooms were in fact decorated with the weapons of the Republic of Venice. Along with the adjacent building of the Artiglierie, the Sale d’Armi are the symbol of the war power of land and sea of Venice. Access to this sector of the Artiglierie was exclusively through the monumental gateway attributed to Sanmicheli, built around 1560 to separate this strategic sector from other areas of the Arsenale.
THE RESTORATION AND THE NEW SPACES
Starting in 2012, in agreement with the Venice Authority, a complex restoration of the Salt Arms that were in a state of advanced structural degradation was started. This was possible thanks to the availability of public and private funds. Recovery activities are still ongoing. The aim is to finish work in 2019. The total area of the North and South Sale d'Armi Area is 7,150 square meters, 1,850 and 5,300 square meters respectively.
The new technology and security facilities have made space available for both display and show use. Accessibility to the upper floors was adapted by creating new accesses made up of an outdoor escalator, while inside the portions A and D were designed two stairs. Completely restored B, C and D sections are home to National Participations (Argentina, Peru, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, United Arab Emirates and Singapore), who for years have asked for their own space in the exhibition area of the Biennale. Part A, broader and articulated in interior spaces, is primarily intended for Biennale College activities.
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