Venice Delta

June, 2018

This project began with the specified site, a small island known as Madonna del Monte near Venice. A dwelling was proposed but no other conditions were set, this allowed me to select a client of my choice. I utilized the previous work I had produced in relation to Venice as the inspiration for my designs and this decision. The Venice Miniatures encouraged me to think about balance, performance, and fixing. Whilst Venice Junctions offered an interrogation of the junctions and lighting possibilities. Therefore I decided my client was to be a theatre director. Programmatically this meant the accommodation and studio could work as a retreat for the director and his performers, on occasion holding intimate performances for invited guests.

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fig. 1 Venice Delta Model, ruin southern wall removed to expose the internal layout

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The final design is partially visible in figure 1, to the right of the image the private quarters can be seen. These spaces house the kitchen and living spaces for the director and his performers; with the small enclosed rooms along the back wall containing individual bedrooms and bathrooms. The capsules are the only completely sealed spaces within the entire campus. I identified these spaces as the most private, intimate and secure, and for this reason they are nestled between the existing buttresses which support the ruins walls. 

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fig. 2  Venice Delta Model, view of main entrance

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The lighting of the spaces at night became a crucial aspect of this project. This is due to the influence of the Venice Junction observations I had made previously; as well as being due to the theatrical influence of the client and functioning of the site. Possibly the most powerful of the lighting constructs can be found as the audience arrives to the site. Disembarking from boats visitors follow a walkway running down the southern exterior wall (see fig. 3). The mirror installed along this stretch references the studios/rehearsal spaces of the performers; it also creates a scenario in which the audiences who arrive to watch others begin their on-site experience by observing themselves. Intensifying this process is the gangway which protrudes toward the end of the runway. This balcony creates an opportunity for the director to watch the arrivals, lit from behind his image is largely obscured while the faces of the audience member can be clearly seen.

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fig.3  Venice Delta Model, view toward main entrance down arrival walkway

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fig. 4  Venice Delta Model, view to theatre from entrance foyer

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fig. 6  Venice Delta Model, view toward theatre from kitchen

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fig. 5  Venice Delta Model, view of gangway over theatre

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The gangways which span the site allow the director and performers to move unobstructed, attach equipment and creates a slight hierarchy between themselves and the visitors. Or does it? Does their elevated position  give them spatial dominance over visiting audiences or are these gangways reminiscent of the warrens used by servants in the aristocratic households of the past? (leave your thoughts in the comments)

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fig. 7  Venice Delta Model, view of theatre space and gangway above