Title: La Serenissima….? - Code: H5D7L1
Contest: Venice / 2011
By: Herrald + Watson Architects

Views: 2861 Likes: 0




La Serenissima….?


La Serenissima . . . ? La Serenissima . . . perhaps for visitors but no longer for Venetians. Can the balance between the residents and tourists be restored before it’s too late? City, Museum or Theme Park? For over 800 years Venice has been a place to visit: the city has record of official tour guides as early as 1204. By the mid 17th century the city’s economic prowess through trade and manufacturing began to slip away and the Venetians began to rely on tourism, using the beauty and uniqueness of their city to attract visitors from around the world.

Tourism is therefore an historical and key component of Venetian culture and society. What will happen to Venice without Venetians?


As a City: There are currently 59,388 residents in Venice, down from 184,000 residents in 1950. The shrinking population is also losing its social complexity, and the average age is increasing to nearly 50 in the city centre. Some believe at this rate by 2030 Venice will become a ghost city, and the city has already hosted mock funerals for itself.


Tourism levels today could be described as overwhelming the city – Venetians blame them for rising prices of goods, services and housing as well as the depreciation of the quality of life due to over-crowding of public transport and city spaces.


As a Museum: Such an aesthetically impressive destination could easily be seen as a giant museum. But the city is a living organism, the residents and tourists combining and interacting to form a dynamic entity. Preservation of this symbiotic relationship is key to the survival of the soul of Venice.


As a Theme Park: Venice could already be described as a Theme Park. Comparisons to Disney Land may seem harsh but the ratio of visitors to residents has lead to a rise in tourist related services and businesses, and the everyday life of real Venetians is rapidly becoming invisible.


Theme Parks are all about performance. Venetians lives and their relationships with tourists create the performance that defines the city. As the residents become the disappearing minority culture, Venice is at risk of death by tourism – arguably quicker than any flooding or structural collapse.


Creating space

The challenge is to give the ownership of Venice back to the Venetians, to create sustainable communities in harmony with their city and its visitors.

Step 1: Space to Breath

Venetians need to have some of their personal space returned as much as they need the tourism to survive.


We propose to create a new port outside the lagoon for the cruise ships, with new solar powered/ electric ferry’s to bring the visitors into the South East side of Venice. This will remove the overlooking from towering ships, and ease the congestion in the city centre and on the main overcrowded routes between Piazzale Rome and Piazza San Marco. We also propose to move the car and coach park for the day-trippers back onto the mainland, developing the adjacent industrial area in Porto Marghera., near the new Vega Science Park. Day-trippers can then be taken on more environmentally sustainable transport across the bridge or lagoon using a paid ticket from the ‘Venice Connected’ online system. Now the two main tourist congregation points are removed from Venice to the edge of the lagoon, and visitors will pay an entrance fee through the transport cost to assist with city maintenance.


Step 2: Space to Live

The cost of housing and lack of facilities and services aimed at residents must be addressed. Relocating the port opens up some precious ‘land’ space that can be returned to the residents. This can be developed to give space for housing, sports, recreation, work, education and services.


As there are few public spaces in Venice, the majority has inevitably been taken over by the tourists. The solution can only be to create new public spaces for Venetians, where the tourists do not congregate.


A new 2km long park suspended over the main bridge to the mainland gives a huge and functional space to the city, with minimal impact on the historic centre or the surrounding lagoon. It also gives the opportunity for sustainable routes to and from Venice, walking or cycling, which could be used by both tourists and resident commuters.


When the park arrives in Venice, it floats across onto the old docks, connecting with routes into central Venice and the ‘new residents island’. The park then weaves through the new buildings, the masterplan inspired by Italian gardens to focus the priority of design into inspiring and beautiful spaces between the buildings. The visible order of the layout is to contrast with the randomness of historical Venice, preventing a pastiche and to stimulate a unique sense of place.


Residents now believe that ‘Tourists don’t respect Venetians’, perhaps with their own space and time to think this imbalance can be readdressed.

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Title: La Serenissima….?

Time: 7 giugno 2011
Category: Venice
Views: 2861 Likes: 0

Tags: Amusement park , Disneyland , Herrald + Watson Architects , La Serenissima , Piazza San Marco , Republic of Venice , Tourism , Venetian , Venice