Se Venezia muore - If Venice dies
Social collective living as answer to population disappearance
Elena Rigato / Technische Universität München
For a thousand years Venice has occupied a unique position in the imagination of all visitors. Today the city is subsiding in two senses. Physically: because of the consistent rise in its surrounding waters and the dereliction of its structures; Metaphysically: because the vigor of the city is moving over mainland conurbations.
In order to not let Venice sink, the world community is beginning to see the survival of that astonishing city as an allegorical necessity of our time: as to the saving from extinction of some prodigious zoological species. But all hotels, Airbnbs, Shopping Malls are taking off all the living environment, destroying Venetian civitas. When the Mose barrier system will finally be finished, the consistent loss of population will have to be considered as main problem to solve.
As starting point - in order to increase positively the number of citizens - I looked at social housing interventions made by Alvaro Siza and Rafael Money at Giudecca island along the 80s, and I decided to continue that social housing masterplan, which brought so much life onto forgotten spots of the lagoon.
San Pietro in Castello is a small fragile lively island located at the very eastern side of venetian Laguna. Despite its glorious past, in the last 50 years this area has been transformed into an unaccessible landfill, fulfilled by boat and ship pieces.
Imagining a space which can be finally devoted to communities and citizens, I decided to work with a masterplan of „minimum interventions“ leaving all the preexistence, and opening the big central garden of the island - which is such a rare quality on the lagoon.
The result I achieved is a series of simple big forms, following the geometry of the church and of the borders, guiding the inhabitants along a sequences of squares, of wider and tighter passages ending in the big green heart of the island.
Looking at venetian palazzi floorplans - more specifically I observed Palazzo Zen in Campo dei Gesuiti - I focused on their general structure and rythm. I achieved a vernacular diagram made by smaller rooms and big rooms 'Portego’ - the traditional long common venetian room. This serial scheme, creates flexible bigger or smaller living units- while the heads of the buildings are crowned by big common terraces facing the lagoon.
Through the whole semester I imagined those common spaces, thinking about a new idea of living, through the simplicity of a flexible and simple diagram with much imagination potential.