The International Summer Architecture Studio ‘Venice Gateway’ culminated with a great final presentation last week.

The studio, held in Venice ran from 20 November to 5 December 2014 and was coordinated by Dr Paola Favaro alongside IUAV Professor Enrico Fontanari and Dr Katrina Simon from UNSW Built Environment.

The project site currently under debate, was the abandoned industrial area ex-ItalGas located in the Piazzale Roma and Santa Marta precinct.

The studio included three days of preliminary visits to the Biennale of Architecture Giardini, Arsenale and other Venice sites including Andrea Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore, Carlo Scarpa projects, new residential projects at the Giudecca Island by Alvaro Siza, Cino Zucchi, Aldo Rossi and Boris Podrecca.

By investigating Venice historical urban system of the insula (campo, calle, ponte, rio) as well as specific historical and current precedents, students questioned aspects of landscape, architectural forms and interior spaces.

Aspects of space/form, movement and activity were tested against students’ appreciation of the physical setting and environment of the context and the social concerns of the historical city.

Working in groups and in collaboration with the IUAV architecture students - 38 students in total - our UNSW Built Environment architecture, interior and landscape students produced six solid and imaginative design scenarios.

Three distinct but complementary components from the three disciplines of architecture, landscape and interior became the narrative for new urban configurations of the Venice Gateway. Aspects of water and land transportation (including a new light rail); mixed-use residential (from traditional artisans housing/shops typologies to more contemporary middle rise typologies) and public facilities (including the adaptation of the old gas tanks and warehouses into new spaces for music, dance and cinema) confirmed how students can still learn from Venice's sophisticated urban system.

San Giorgio Island and Church by Andrea Palladio across San Marco Square

The Biennale of Architecture - Giardini Venezia

UNSW Built Environment architecture, interior and landscape students with IUAV Professor Enrico Fontanari, Dr Katrina Simon and Dr Paola Favaro