On 22 October 1630, the Venetian Senate decided to erect a church dedicated to the Virgin in thanks for the end of a devastating plague that had decimated the Venetian populace. On 1 April 1631, the first stone was laid, even before the architect or design had been chosen, and while demolition of the site was still under way. Baldassare Longhena was eventually picked as the architect of Santa Maria della Salute. Longhena chose a central, octagonal plan for his church and topped it with a large hemispherical dome ringed with volutes and statues. The church was consecrated on 9 November 1687, five years after its architect's death.