The Microcosm Reflector of Venetian Heritage
Venice as a port city grew with the major influence of trade, but with the 20th Century rapid increase of ship scales lead to a progressive separation of Venice and its port, depriving the city of its most vital and creative activity. With the dislocation of the port to Marghera (the mainland of Venice) and the invention of containerization, global forms of trade undermined the specificity and unique character that characterized local earlier typologies. Many of the historical port typologies which once collectively served for the city’s growth have fallen into the fate of “rebranding” in order to catch up with modernity.
The hollowing out of these historical typologies created a juxtaposition between cultural history and consumerism, in which the structural changes of Fondaco dei Tedeschi acts as a perfect reflector that relate to different moments in the history of Venetian port development. With the fondaco’s prime location at the Rialto, a shopping centre became its new life.
Despite of the unfortunate transformation into a victim of consumerism, the building itself retained structural moments of its development from a German merchants’ warehouse to Napoleon’s Customs and most recently a post office.
The project does not aim to solve the impact of building generalization but to narrate the story of Venetian trading development in parallel to the impact of modernization. A continuous route arranged chronologically intervenes with the shopping centre fondaco acts as an experiment and will be created to show in parallel to the visitors to visualize the historical structures and reveal their stories behind. Whether the visitors follow the route or become distracted from the shops around them will act as a result of the impact of Venice from modernization.