Alexa Bush and Nicole Keroack propose a project based on the reinterpretation of the decentralized water catchment infrastructure of the ventian cistern/well.
“Venice, Italy faces several challenges related to water, in particular, the combined effects of sea level rise and subsidence jeopardize its historic core, which is the biggest asset of its tourism-based economy.
Having developed as a global trade center by virtue of its unique adaptation to water, recent trends threaten its survival, perched on the edge of the Adriatic Sea. Economic developments during the 20th century have compromised the ecology of the lagoon, contributing to erosion, subsidence through the extraction of below ground aquifers, and industrial activities have impacted water quality and habitat in the lagoon. We propose to rethink the water systems of Venice, moving from daily water consumption by tourists and residents, transportation, and freshwater procurement to create a more resilient city.
These systems can catalyze a series of changes to improve the ecology, economy and public spaces of the historic core of Venice and the lagoon. We propose to revitalize the historic network of cisterns in the city as a source of freshwater catchment, filtering and drinking water supply. This would be supported by the development of containers, transportation, and new methods of local water harvesting that would reduce reliance on distant water supplies, and leverage tourism to diversify and make more resilient the economies and ecologies of Venice and the lagoon.”
Jennifer Lynch and Sarah Cancienne project titled LIVING FOSSIL TO LANDSCAPE MACHINE
“The Lagoon should have vanished centuries ago, silted by alpine sediments into terra firma or swept away by the tides of the Adriatic. As a landscape type, it is sustained only through the engineered balance of its hydrological and geomorphological parameters—the sedimentation from its rivers and erosion by its tides.
During the Renaissance, the threat to the Lagoon by sedimentation from its rivers as addressed through the application of a rule-based system of 11 hydrological principles to the landscape. These ruled played out at various scales—major rivers were re-routed and drainage patterns were geometrized across terra firma. Through the application a logic to the landscape, the balance between ground and water within the Lagoon was disrupted—with the deprivation of the Lagoon of its sediment, the dialectic was lost: the city began to slowly sink. Six centuries later, the effects of the Lagoon’s sediment loss and wetland erosion are felt within the city—the Lagoon’s deepening bathymetry and exaggerated tidal channels cause increasingly frequent acqua alta.
The problem of the Lagoon is a problem of sediment deprivation, catalyzed by the introduction and accreted effect over time of 11 Renaissance principles, but the solution has, for centuries, been one of a calcified edge—the hardening of seawalls, taking the form of the rising murazzi and, ultimately, the MOSE floodgates, which signify an attempt at absolute control over the effects of the tide. Current process for rebuilding the Lagoon at a smaller scale, in their form and materiality, further the calcification process.
The design proposes to rebuild a balance between the environmental, economic, and cultural forces that have historically defined and sustained the Lagoon by reversing the principles that have doomed it. To reintroduce sediments to the Lagoon, the Brenta River is rediverted through its originally course and into different parts of the southern Lagoon through smaller diversions. The diversions are fluctuated to strategically distribute sediment throughout the southern Lagoon, mimicking the shifting fan of the river deltas that originally formed the Lagoon’s ground. The timing of these fluctuations is synchronized with the seasonal water and sediment levels of the Brenta and with the currents caused by seasonal winds, the Bora and Sirocco, which steer and accelerate sediment deposition.
The MOSE floodgates, seen in one way as the ultimate seawall, are also flexible and have the ability to engineer the tidal conditions of the Lagoon. The MOSE, used in concert with the fluctuating Brenta diversions, creates optimal tidal conditions and increases the potential of the wind as a vector. The MOSE gates and Renaissance river diversions, symbolic of environmental stagnation, are now made flexible and, together, they can be seen as forming a complete landscape machine, capable of striking ideal relationships between the opposing forces of sedimentation and tides that define the lagoon as a dialectical landscape.
These large scale processes (the engineering of river diversions and tides) are influenced by finer grained, adaptive kit of parts, accelerating the accretion of sediments and regeneration of wetlands.”