Venice University Island

Poveglia Island, Venice, Italy

Team Members: Pouya Goshayeshi, Daniel Innocente, Arianna Loris, Lisa Goldsmith

The Venice lagoon stands as a marsh abundant in ecological diversity and an intricate interplay of natural systems working together, evolving to adapt with ever changing circumstances. A natural richness which attracted many people to its multiple islands. As far back as 400 A.D, the Venice lagoon was a place prosperity, refuge and discovery for people seeking a new way of life and a new beginning. The first settlers arrived in Venice as populations from nearby cities fled invasions from the north. Over time Venice became home to many who only sought to escape invaders but also looked for a way to prosper. The lagoon was haven for fisherman and merchants who could strived to posses independence and power.

The rich ecosystem, the engineered response to survival and the historic cultural fabric makes for some of the most intricate exchanges of multiplicity. These dynamics of life and culture have produced one of the world’s most beloved cities. A city where life and a way of living is continuously under threat by nature and time. This adversarial character of the Venice lagoon inspired us to re-establish the Island of Poveglia as a living system of interdisciplinary knowledge and integration with its natural surroundings. University Island is to become an embodiment of its past together with a vision of an engineered ecology, where Architecture is defined by history, systems of exchange and space. Poveglia is to become a city of its own, a synthesis of social, natural and engineered forces working together to become a major icon for living in the lagoon. The emergent character of each space in relation to adjacent spaces, transforms the spatial qualities between each building. Every path is differentiated by the contrast and melting of unique functions within buildings and the envelope of every building is a reaction to this dynamic. The building pods bring students, faculty and visitors into each space through a reveal which opens gradually to establish tangencies with the landscape. These transitions between inside and outside enable the movement of wind, light, heat and circulation to exist in symbiosis. The design of Poveglias new  campus, University Island is an embodiment of the complexity of the lagoon. Providing the students, visitors and inhabitants of Venice with a new way of living and expanding their lifestyles throughout the islands.