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Location: Venice, Italy
Year: 1978

In 1978 the Municipal Government of Venice held an invited international competition to design a major public open space in the city. The project started from the notion of an architecture that invents its own site and program. Rather than trying to reproduce or simulate an existing Venice whose authenticity cannot be replicated, the project constructs another, fictitious Venice. In this case, the gridded structure of Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital, designed in the 1940s, was expanded and used as a structure over the given site. This grid is marked as an absence, a series of voids, which act as metaphors for man’s displacement from his position as the central instrument of measure. In this project, architecture becomes the measure of itself. 

The objects that inhabit this landscape are variations of an earlier project, House 11a, shown at different scales. The smallest object is too small to shelter, but raises question whether it is a house or the model of a house. The middle-sized object may be a house, but it contains the smaller object inside. Is it a house, or a museum of houses? The largest object is twice the size of the middle-sized object. What can this object be called?

The sequence and the relationships between the objects are intended to place into question the idea of meaning as an effect of function. The fiction thus created acts as a notation and a critique of existing institutionalized definitions. The imaginary metaphysical landscape exists in contrast to the surrounding urban context, yet at the same time enhances it energy.



Model photos