Elements of Venice

Pubblicato: luglio 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Giulia Foscari Widmann Rezzonico is an Italian architect, she lives in Hong Kong where she teaches as a part-time Assistant Professor at the University and she previously worked in the studio “Office for Metropolitan Architecture.” During the past, Julia worked with the London studio “Zaha Hadid Architects” and for “Foster and Partners”. She has extensive experience as a researcher and curator, and has participated in the Venetian Biennale twice: in 2006 as an exhibitor, presenting her research “From Favelas to Parametric Architecture”; in 2008 as curator of the exhibition “Andrea Palladio and Zaha Hadid Architects”. She obtained the degree cum laude from the University of Architecture in Rome (Roma Tre) and received the title DRL-March at the Architectural Association in London in 2007.

The history of an entire city has never been analysed at the scale of architectural detail before, but this is what Giulia Foscari has done in the case of Venice: a city so rich in unique masterpieces that it seems futile to search for common patterns.

The book ELEMENTS OF VENICE, published by Lars Müller with a foreword by Rem Koolhas, reveals, through the analysis of single architectural elements, the metamorphic nature of Venice, a city in which most buildings underwent throughout the centuries substantial volumetric and formal transformations informed by political and cultural shifts.

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Developed as a parallel research project of Fundamentals – the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale  – the book offers insights on Venetian facades, stairs, corridors, floors, ramps, ceilings, doors, hearths, windows, balconies and walls.

The research uncovers not a single, unified history of architecture, but the multiple histories, origins, contaminations, similarities, and differences of these elements and how they evolved into their current iterations through technological advances, regulatory requirements, and new digital regimes.

Product not [only] of the mind but of societal organization, the elements are isolated from their picture-perfect context and from the postcard view of Venice that is impressed in our retinas, introducing the reader – through a combination of collages, drawings, photographs, paintings, film stills and quotes – to a radically new way of seeing Venice. Like a camera obscura photograph cuts through the often irrelevant embellishments of architecture to reveal the underlying skeleton of a building, this guide will allow the reader to better understand the fundamental transformations that have shaped Venice during the past ten centuries.

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This city, which for many is – architecturally speaking – permanently frozen in time, has in fact often been at the forefront of challenging the architectural conventions, both during the days of the Republic (until 1797), in which gothic and renaissance styles were seen as carriers of political and ideological meanings, and in the past two centuries when, despite the introduction of the dooming motto “Com’era, dov’era” (“As it was, where it was”), Venice underwent an unprecedented urban transformation.

Giulia demonstrates that Venice has been a city in perpetual transformation and, in the centuries of its splendor, at the forefront of modernity.

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