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The Rebirth of an Island Called Chioggia

Part 1 Project 2013
Samuel Aubrey Spence
Leeds Beckett University Leeds UK
Who forgot Chioggia? A place where the vibrancy of everyday life is intensified in comparison to the stagnation of its glorious counterpart in the lagoon, a place easily romanticised after the disappointment of Venice and the chaotic crush of the hordes, a place where it is the families of the men who return home on the vaporetto after work, not the tourists, that dine in the restaurants lining the Corso del Popolo and sit afterwards in the piazza surrounded by their children and their neighbours children, busy kicking a football off the wall of the Saint Andrea. The local artist, his wife and their class are still to be found sketching a scene down a narrow Calli and fishing trawlers from the Balearic, Adriatic, Ionian and Aegean Seas still travel with a serene certainty past the spit of the Sottomarina to the 3 am fish market held with an equal certainty every Thursday.

Chioggia although picturesque has underlying problems. The deserted 1950s concrete cement plant framed at the end of each West/East orientated Calli is an apt metaphor for them. However, rather than detracting from the image of Chioggia the crumbling plant serves to strengthen it and if celebrated has the potential to enable Chioggia to emerge from the shadow of Venice.

The project explores two notions, the need in Chioggia for an economic and cultural stimulus and the need for a place of escapism for the natives of Venice.

An Alga Carta paper mill, design studios, theatre and theatre workshops form a centre of culture set in the interior of the deserted factory. The adaptive reuse of the factory allows scale to be the subject of surprising shifts; the monolithic exterior gives little preparation for the multiform interior, the paper mill addresses the environmental problem of algae blooms damaging the fishing industry in the lagoon as well as providing links to the University of Padua/Venice and the theatre explores the questions ‘If Venice is for the tourist, who is for the Venetian?’ and ‘What escapism can be found in the play of which you are a part?’

Samuel Aubrey Spence

Tutor(s)

2013
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