2g Competition

The Urban and Geological environment of the Venice Lagoon is probably one of the most densely layered places on the Mediterranean coast: a history of ever changing states of material and social stability, natural forces opposition, organic development and continental tectonic processes. A water-land territory marked by the sign of nature’s convulsions, conquers, domination and control.

The history of Venice and of the Venitian republic is strongly related to the lagoon existence: the choice of the islands in the lagoon for the foundation of Venice, the republican form of organization, the domination on the Mediterranean and the conquer of the interior land to move out the rivers and to preserve the lagoon existence.

Addressing the ecological, social and symbolic complexity of such a stratified environment: we propose the designation of strategic dynamic and adaptive regions in the form of performative stages. Where through the incorporation of differentiated but orchestrated prototype clusters, an Urban Circus is unfolded. The circus, a universal form of time-space organization and social congregation is taken here as both: a metaphor in which an extraordinary collection of varieties, gymnastics, acrobatics and social narratives coexist, and also as a dynamic model of convergence; where a consistent repertoire of co-evolutionary spaces is generated by the deployment of land, air and water engaged prototypes, in a series of choreographic urban events and infrastructures that take place in the Lagoon’s estuarine system.

The Urban Circus Dynamic Planning Strategy is conceived by the interaction of three main systems of organization concerning the lagoon ecologies:


Proto-conditions are the multiple observed and collected dynamic phenomena regarding the lagoon complexity and its interactions. They act as conceptual, cultural and material feeders in order to create a consistent pool of knowledge for the incorporation and orchestration of prototypes.

Prototypes Genealogies

Genealogies of differential prototypes are proposed as large and minor infrastructures to populate, proliferate and get incarnated within the lagoon ecology. The prototypes as rich and complex structures, address five basic criteria in their internal organizational system as a resulting state of the proto-conditions manipulation.

Field of action: the hydro, terrestrial or aerial environment where prototypes exist and evolve.

Programmatic nature: the social, cultural and economic context where prototypes are conceived as strategies, events, large or minor infrastructures.

Form of management and timeline: the different kinds of community, political and participatory involvement that a prototype has in its constitutive and life-span cycle.

Assembling: issues related to the potential material or strategic development of a prototype.

Performative Stages and Hydrodynamic Models

These adaptive and temporary regions are demo-sites or testing beds for the proposed prototypical actions. They emerge from specific observed forms of mutualism between land and water systems and the anchoring of the prototypes within the lagoon. Such a form of mutualism is defined here as an Hydrodynamic Model, in which a land-water negotiation pattern is recognized as a primary form of spatial organization.

Sacca San Mattia: A Performative Stage case study

The incorporation of prototypes in Sacca S. Mattia related to contemporary Venice touristic, economical, environmental and managerial contingencies is taken as a pilot case study within the dynamic planning strategy establish by the project. The strategic positioning of Sacca S. Mattia in the axis that connects the north part of Venice, the new door of Venice, with the airport, makes of this site the most accessible one of the lagoon to the city and to the main international connections.

In this sense Sacca S. Mattia is a physical node, that can concentrate fluxes of people coming from Venice and from abroad. But is also a conceptual node between the local dynamics of the lagoon and the global dynamics of tourism and environment.

One specific prototype plays the rule of “gate” of all this complex system: the carbon trade market.

The other prototypes summarize the topics of services for tourism, for the lagoon observation and for events.


Type: Design Competition 2007

Fabiano Spano, Berardo Matalucci, Enrico Crobu, Vasileios Ntovros, Guillermo Ivan Lopez, AER studio, Jorge Godoy Roman

Location: Venice Lagoon, Italy

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