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Samskara, Made in India © 2014 Anshika Varma


WaVE 14 Venice, IUAV University

Developed in the early 20th century and once Italy’s foremost industrial area, Porto Marghera now stands mostly abandoned as a dysfunctional backdrop over a widespread area with monumental ruins that seem totally out of human scale. The environmental pollution generated by this huge project remains a serious challenge, and Porto Marghera stands tall between Marghera’s Garden City on one side and Venice on the other, as a daily reminder of the enormous task ahead in undoing this damage, and the urgency to reverse the trend. Marghera is also a prototype for other such ambitious developments from the glorious period of the industrial revolution where machines replaced man in the manufacture of commodities. The particularly relevant replicable aspects are the strategies for repairing environmental damage while redeveloping; reintroducing the human scale into industrial landscapes; and identifying appropriate large scale socio-cultural activities that successfully reuse industrial architecture.

ReMarghera is a proposal for building new life in Porto Marghera. Rather than building buildings to accommodate thedemands of everyday life, this atelier has designed strategies to redefine Marghera as a new symbol of a future development for the larger region, that contains the steps to reverse the environmental conditions of the industrially damaged area, to re-create a fertile ground to build and sustain a new life in the future.

The problem of Marghera has everything to do with the scale of the project, and the urban renewal proposal is also a gesture at an equally significant scale. Withoutlarge-scale interventions that are larger than the problem of Marghera a true renewal may not succeed, whereas a few large-scale interventions would carry the promise of a renewed urban prospect for the region as a whole and mobilize the scale of resources required to actually recuperate the place. ReMarghera is the proposal of arenewed approach to Marghera that transforms the abandoned defunct landscape of obsolete buildings and infrastructure with a new relevance for the larger common regional landscape that considers the current needs of Venice, Marghera and Mestre.

Reversing the trend, new strategies for resource management and development include the awareness of life-cycle; reducing,reusing and recycling of material consumption; and dependence on renewable energy, generating improvements in the environmental quality instead of polluting through urban activity. Urbanization, which has damaged the landscape in the past, is restructured to instead be a vehicle to heal and transform the area.

This studio proposes through a five-fold action plan, a rejuvenation for Marghera where proposals of different scales ranging from small key urban transformations, and reinterpreting prominent obsolete buildings, to city and regional level interventions add up to regain a new identity and a rebirth of Marghera as a central point of new development that sustains and improves the life in the larger region.

18 projects are proposed under 5 areas of action; each with a potential to redo, repair anderase, while recuperating and rebuilding:

The five areas of proposed actions are:

  1. ReCONDITIONING. Creating new conditions for occupying Marghera.
  2. ReLAYERING. Reconnecting and laying new infrastructure above the polluted layer.
  3. ReACCESSING. Establishing the right of way to the water canals.
  4. ReOCCUPYING. Reclaiming abandoned buildings
  5. ReMATERIALISING. Integrated thinking and material strategies for affording housing for all.

Each area offers the potential to redo, repair and erase, while recuperating and rebuilding.


W.A.Ve 2014 in IUAV University
Venice, Italy

July 2014

Director: Anupama Kundoo

Main Assistants: Sebastiano Giannesini and Sara Pezzutti

Team tutors: Alba Balmaseda, Chiara Brenna, Marta Casagrande and Luca Uorio

Guest Critics: Manuela Luca Dazio (Executive Director of the Biennale), Giulio Grillo (Rebiennale), Alvise Marzollo (Architect) and Giovanni Leone (Architect)

Students: Anna Almacellas Visa, Irene Annoe, Roberto Baccin, Irene Baoduzzi, Francesca Beggio, Giovanni Bortolotti, Anna Boscolo, Caterina Carpenè, Marta Casarin, Alessia Cavarzere, Alba Cerantola, Maria Cigliano, Giulia Ciriotto, Federica Conte, Irene Dal Cortivo, Enrica Daniele, Emmanouil Angelos Daskalakis, Alice De Mattia, Andrea De Toni, Piera Favaretto, Andrea Fortunati, Livia Franco, Riccardo Gadotti, Giovanna Girardi, Chiara Girlando, Lorena Hyso, Katia Jancikic, Beatriz Jimenez Alcaide, Amndip Kaur, Bianca Lassandro, Lorenzo Lazzari, Veronica Lazzaro, Fang Lu, Lorenzo Luise, Giacomo Mantelli, Greta Masut, Enrica Mazzon, Tommaso Mioli, Virginia Moratti, Javier Morell Lopez, Laura Mosconi, Tommaso Pasini, Anna Maria Pentimalli, Margherita Possamai, Alessio Rapposelli, Rebecca Rea, Andrea Righetto, Rossella Roan, Valentina Rossi, Anna Rossi, Anna Sarzetto, Luana Scarpel, Elena Semenzato, Linda Simionato, Francesca Slaviero, Josep Soler Carreras, Giorgia Sommavilla, Lorenzo Teso, Christian Toson, Anna Tsagkalou, Giulia Visentin, Marco Vomiero, Annamaria Vudafi eri, Jialun Yuan and Melissa Zanella