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Interpreting Surrealism in Venice

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Interpreting Surrealism in Venice

Giacomo Tomidei, Michele Ciervo & Lorenzo Ranzani

The beautiful and unique city of Venice, which floats in the middle of the Venice Lagoon, is protected from the Adriatic Sea by a thin strip of land, the Lido, that face the sea at the southwest side. Here, just south of the airport, lies the Ospedale al Mare, an hospital complex built under the command of the fascist regime.

Opened officially in 1933, the birth of this site is to be dated about sixty years before. In 1870, in fact, was built the Ospizio Marino, a wooden structure designed to treat, through light therapy, children with tuberculosis. Over time it became an oasis of health: in 1955 were registered 10000 hospitalizations, 1400 beds and 450000 visitors, while at the dawn of 1969 the complex had 1500 employees. In the early 80’s the situation began to get worse. The cuts on clinics and services greatly damaged the hospital facilities. Obsolete machineries and out norm buildings, undermined the complex reputation until 2006, when it was officially abandoned. Despite the abandonment, people continued to cross the site along the Broadwalk until 2013, when the road was closed and later destroyed to make soil reclamation. This event definitely open the doors to an already growing illegal occupational practices that condemn the complex to degradation and crime.

The main project aim is therefore to enable the inhabitants to take back the site by opening in it cultural activities and social initiatives that can draw attention to a situation that over time has been side-lined and forgotten.

First it was decided to strengthen the relationship sea/building. The Teatro Marinoni, the Cassa Di Risparmio and the Padiglione Vicenza constitute an imaginary line that divides cleanly the built by the sea. Trying to tear down this imaginary barrier, the buildings are interconnected with catwalks that cross the border and run toward the sea providing privileged points of view on the site.

The towers, positioned in structurally strategic points, host the ascension systems which ensure its usability. Being cold structures, for maintenance reasons, it is preferred not to install a lift in them, wheelchair accessibility is therefore guarantied anywhere via publicly stairwells accessible within buildings.

Abandonment has however brought some benefits to the site ecosystem, in the beach Sand dune zone and in Pre-dune zone, some species, which until now were thought to have disappeared, began to repopulate the local flora and fauna. For examples like the Canna di Ravenna, the prehistoric mosses Tortuleto or the little bird Fratino. To protect and grow this new development, some protected camps are designed for help the various species in growth and reproduction.

With s regards the new Boardwalk, in lieu of the original long boulevard, a large free space is provided, an opening between buildings which defines a wide urban space, able to accommodate a multitude of activities and different events. This large urban plaza assumes the role of a filter between the street and the beach providing a greater freedom of movement as getting closer to the sea.

 

 

Interview 

Who influences you graphically?

The images of ‘Oblò architecture’, especially those of “Hey there is a river beyond” were the inspiration for the choice of the general axonometric texture because their atmosphere reflected our idea of colours in the overall master plan. Fala atelier because is the one that made us approach to it and made us as well develop a passion for this technique of representation. De Chirico for the colours used to represent certain atmospheres within he sets scenes and where his paintings take on a life. The silhouette choices are considered as actors who play within the images and for this reason we took them from old photos of the 40s-50s photographed right on the site of the project in order to re-create even more the atmosphere of the “awaken the memory” .

What is the effect of using white lines in juxtaposition to black or none at all? how does this influence the way the image is perceived by the viewer?

In canonical representations are conventionally used black lines as a point of contact between two surfaces meanwhile the choice of using white lines was performed to expose the fact that these do not exist in reality and also to create a more dramatic atmosphere of surrealism.

To what extent does the rich use of textures hint to a specific materiality and or helps in establishing a certain atmosphere?

The texture we wanted to emphasise is the one you can find in all our images, the concrete, which goes really well with our design choices. It has been changed according to the inclination of the surface and the scale on which it is applied to create greater depth. The other textures have been used to try to recreate everyday life moments in the project. From dawn to the storm.The delicacy of the used colors and the distance from the reality, emphasizes the brutality of the chosen material, concrete.

 

You explore your proposal through perspective and axonometric views, what is the reason behind this? How relevant would the classic form of representation of the plan, section be?

The use of a three-dimensional view as a method of representation has been choose to try to show as best we could such a large area and to focus on the connections between buildings. The image designed according to the rule of descending diagonal wants to lead the eye from the top down as well as in the project we tried to create the sensation of transport from the built to nature from land to the sea. Despite the classical mood, the representation is considered to be the most effective technique to represent the soil drawing connections between the buildings, the relationship between the various filters and the connection to the sea cornerstones of our project that otherwise would have had to explain in various plans or prospects. The prospect synonymous with three-dimensionality brings the observer within the atmosphere of the image and we have also made all the image of a man height in order t ogive even more the perception of reality but always keeping the atmosphere of unreal. This type, despite the classic flat representations, creates also a background that fades away slowly.

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