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Stone, SH., 2005.

LITTORAL INSPIRATIONS: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE LAGOON Continuity in Architecture Exhibition showing the work cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional projects generated at the HAULuP Workshop 2013

Output Type:Exhibition
Venue:Benzie Gallery 2014
Number of Works:20

Continuity in Architecture

'...thus one can picture the built reality of the city's antiquity being continually rebuilt, recomposed in the imagination of their inhabitants and repopulated with symbolic figures and landmarks of memory'
Sebastien Marot.

Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter describe 'the city as a didactic instrument' (Collage City), that is, a place in which a desirable discourse can be formulated and it is through these conversations that the evidence for the argument of interpretation is collected. The reading and understanding of the message of the city or of the individual building provides the basis for the discussion. Architecture can facilitate the exploration of identity through the examination of the specificity of the context in which it is embedded. The constructed environment is often charged with narrative content, certain elements come to the fore, while others are more modest, more unassuming, but no less important or carefully considered. These mechanisms tell stories, they engage the imagination, they enable, through the construction of space, time and sequence, the development of new forms and places.

The built fabric of Venice has been produced over many centuries. It was formed upon the mosquito ridden muddy promontories, which appeared and disappeared within the watery safety of the silent Lagoon. The field patterns and boundaries, which were formed during the initial occupation of the islands gradually became denser and more chaotic; 'undesigned'. As architects we rely on the unexpected encounter and combination of objects, buildings and spaces to give us an understanding of the present. The city lives in a historical context, the architect provides and orders forms through which the past and present combine or clash in meaningful ways. By the examination of the streets, paths, canals, blocks and spaces of the urban environment the narratives embodied in the area can be read.

The Arsenale itself is an impressive and complex cluster of boatyards, armouries, and wet and dry docks, assembled around two large harbours, all of which is protected by high brick walls. It was responsible for the bulk of Venice's naval power during the middle part of the second millennium AD, and as such, was one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history.

The objective of the workshop was to create proposals for the Arsenale area of the city as it moves from military to civilian control. As always within Continuity in Architecture, the workshop started with a thorough examination of the site, its surroundings and what can only be described as a Venetian coach trip; our own personal Vaporetto ride around the islands of the Lagoon. The visits were accompanied by a series intense lectures and talks by the curators of the sites. The passion of the conservation architect cannot be overestimated; the enthusiasm that they held for their subject and the remains in their custody was inspirational.

The group of students was divided into small inter-nationality group, each containing one student from each institution. This inevitably initially caused much tension. The problem of language, difference in approach and differing priorities will create anxiety and disagreement, but it also encourages cooperation, understanding, compassion and eventually synergy. And so it was here, initial distrust was gradually replaced by firm friendship. There was a great amount of professional support for the workshop, and this involvement included the architects and conservators to the Arsenale, structural engineers, architects, conservation architects, as well as two or three academics from each participating university, almost an embarrassment of riches.

The students were encouraged to analyse the qualities of each place before attempting to make changes. They looked particularly at the context, that is the history, topography, geology, the very nature of the place. From this analysis they developed an understanding of how the place could be activated. They needed to feel confident that the proposals that they were making were totally appropriate to the qualities of the sites. The students all worked hard to produce proposals of great quality and worth. They endeavoured satisfy all of the often conflicting demands of the conservators, users, consultants and academics, but what was created were truly context driven proposals, which explored the relationships between the water, the buildings, the climate and the place.

This is the fourth collaboration that CiA have made with IUAV, and the second with Granada. Every year the students work incredibly hard, they put in long hours in the studio and then always an enjoyable night in the squares, bars and restaurants of Venice. And again, this year all of them embraced the project with enthusiasm and plenty of intellectual inquiry, and all were a credit to their own institution and the project. Everyone travelled an enormous distance; physically, intellectually and emotionally. The manner in which architecture is taught and discussed varies from one institution to another and certainly there were often great divides between the approaches of each nationality, but of course, there were also great similarities. This was a project that served to bring together the North and South of Europe. It showed how a love for storytelling combined with an understanding of history and technology could bind together a group of disparate and distinct individuals into a forceful united team. This was a project that ventured to create something appropriate, distinct and contemporary from the variously eccentric approaches of our enormous continent.

Continuity in Architecture at the 2013 Workshop: Heritage and Architecture of Urban Landscape under Productions. This international project, which was based at the UniversitÓ Iuav di Venezia (IUAV), was a collaboration between the schools of architecture in Manchester, Venice and Granada. It was completed between 16th September 2013 and 28th September 2013. The project was funded by an Erasmus grant of EUR45,000.

Collaborators from the Manchester School of Architecture:
Academic Staff: Sally Stone, John Lee, Dominic Roberts

MArch Students: Matthew Arnold, Thomas Bend, Daniel Bishop, Harry Brown, Claudia Caneva, Arina Cernysovia, Katy Hickson, Lauren Green, Jenna Kinsey, Rebecca Prince, Charlotte Rosier, Abdul Umar, George Yallop.

Heritage and Architecture of Urban Landscape under Production
This touring exhibition celebrates a liaison between post-graduate students from three European Schools of Architecture: Manchester, Venice and Granada. The basis of the design workshop was an examination of the still abandoned parts of Arsenale in Venice. The area, which until recently, was still used by the military, is gradually being assimilated into the city. Great discrimination needed to be taken with this absorption. The city of Venice has an incredibly distinct character, and any changes must take into consideration the qualities of what is there, in combination with the needs and technology of the Twenty-First century: pastiche is not an option!