Fourth year BARCH studio Instructor: Pete Goché
A hundred profound solitudes together constitute the city of venice
Friedrich Nietzsche, 1881
During 590 AD there was a crisis flood that birthed the islands of Venice. What was once the delta system flowing with rivers from the alps, was greatly impacted and the wetlands became islands completely changing the geography of the region of Venice forever. These islands that Nietzsche speaks of are now connected artificially for the functionality of human life. The presence of water protected the once nation-state and allowed it to gain political autonomy, temporary physical safety from conquering armies, and a booming economy though its relevant trade route. The rich environment of Venice is located where the river mouth mixes with the sea channels, creating the salty lagoon, becoming its own sublime artifact. The city lies in a context which creates a dynamic chemistry between the artificial and the natural atmosphere.
Water. What was once the protector of Venetian society and economy now becomes a warning to the region because of the consequences of climate change. Flood frequency today has increased by more than seven times since the 20th century, dangering the urban heritage of Venice as well as the marine-coastal environments. The precarious nature of these changes to us is represented in the wooden piles upholding the city. This symbol is significant because of its curious stability and connection to the mud ground, the Venetian lagoon, and the artificial surface of Venice. The city of Venice only stands two feet above sea level (Saint Mark’s Square is only 65 cm above sea level). When sea level rises even slightly, the impacts of flooding, erosion, and permanent submersion become a real threat towards the Death of Venice.
Our archive moves vertically, stacking itself above the tide by both preserving and recording its aging through time. The stacking method is in reference to the Venetian housing typology during rapid transformation during the 13th century where they stacked and duplicated facades and spaces both horizontally and vertically. Weathering becomes the performance of decay allowing the facade to become the initial exhibition. As well as a marker of time through the green staining of algae with the rise and fall of the tide.