2013-2014 - University of East London

Unit 8,  Start Up Venice


Diploma Unit 8

+ Unit Brief

Unit 8 continued its interest in the nature and narrative of complex urban situations and where better to immerse itself than in Venice? What we discovered surprised and excited us. We found that there is an illegal trade in stones, that Venetian bridges are threatened by accessibility requirements and that even its master craftsman are under threat from the lack of skilled apprentices. We found that the Venice we thought we all knew was dying. However,in its place were tentative new shoots of something altogether more interesting; a city of students and universities has given birth of a new technological hub. Could Venice become a silicon island?

We found our site in a forgotten contaminated corner next to the cruise liners, students and private yachts, walled off and overgrown. In its past it had been the city's gas-works; a hub of Venetian infrastructure. Once humming, it had lain silent for a generation behind crumbling walls. Our question for the year was how to start it up again, and could the technological revolution help Venice re-emerge as a city that was more than just a tourist honey pot.

We worked collaboratively to create 3 bold visions for the site within which each student negotiated for their proposal's position within a group masterplan. Using their fellow unit member's designs, the site's industrial heritage and Venice as their context, students' theses ranges from live/work incubation spaces for graduates that would otherwise leave the city, to a proposal to save Venice's threatened bridges by building 89 new structures.

+ Unit Members

Tutor: Alex Scott-Whitby.


Year 4: Baptiste Laversanne, Eleni Gavril, Wilson Lam, Zoe Chavali, David Adjei, Justina Job, Kamil bin Khalid, Fawwaz Zullkefle, Kehinde Obisesan, Jason Boamah, Shaheer Vira, Sayed Mojtaba, Daniel Culqui, Farihah Anwar, Johoshaphat Sarfo-Duah

Year 5: Alek Ragovskis, Oscar Wokowu, Stephanie Awatefe, Anastasia Skalidou, Anthi Tilliri, Ruth McIntyre, Agata Madurowicsz, Natalija Janovica, Charanpal Matharu, Jasneet Rattan

Visiting Critics: Eddie Jump, Diana Cochrane, Rachel Marshall, Guy Shenton, Pierre Blanc, Micheala Bortolozzi, Angie Pascoe, Roland Karthaus, Maria Aessandra Segantini, Carlo Carpai, Yanchee Lau, Martha Dallyn, Jago Boase, Phillip Breese, Roger Whiteman, Osman Marfo-Gyasi, Niamh O'Connor

Special thanks to: Maria Aessandra Segantini

Sponsors: Ramboll