design | venice lagoon
dredged ecologies: a landscape approach to landfill infrastructure
porto marghera, venice, italy
Waste is an inevitable fact of life. This thesis rethinks what is commonly thrown away, and understands it as a fundamental part of a larger system of biophysical and ecological interactions surrounding it. Embracing the banal and refused, the proposal examines the processes of canal dredging within the Venice Lagoon, Italy. Focusing on the dredging and canal maintenance processes, this thesis aims to re-think the landfill by looking to a multi-disciplinary and dynamic approach to the dredging infrastructure within the lagoon. Rather than isolate it as an autonomous and static waste system, this thesis rethinks the functions of sludge and sediments as a fundamental constantly changing part of its larger surrounding landscape. Through a design research methodology, the thesis aims to test the hypothesis that landscape infrastructure can be used as a medium and catalyst to ecologically and visually activate territory. Critiquing the existing rigidly engineered infrastructure of many dredging landfills, the project transforms the refused into realms of sustainability and design a landscape on a marginalized site that merges ideas and practices from a variety disciplines including infrastructure, landscape ecology, and art.
Master of Landscape Architecture Design Studio Thesis
University of Toronto
Advisor: Nadia Amoroso
Lagoon Morphology Territorial Scale Plans and Sections. The Lagoon of Venice is neither land nor water, but an intricately constructed balance of both. It is made up of various environmental typologies including land, salt marshes, mudflats, canals, and sea. The lagoon is a shallow basin encompassing a total 550km2 of territory with an average depth of 1.2 meters. From the sections, it is clear that while the Northern and Southern lagoon have been sustained ecologically, that the central lagoon has not.
The chosen site is the Isola delle Tresse, off the coast of the Porto Marghera industrial zone in the ecologically fragile central lagoon. It is a completely artificial landfill island about 1.5km long and 0.5km wide in-between the Malamocco-Marghera and Tresse Canals.
Existing site conditions Plans and Sections. Growing rapidly in the past hundred years, it is currently 1.5km long and 0.5km wide. Secured into place with 15 m deep metal sheet pile retaining walls, the island is isolated from the lagoon. It has grown and been expanded over the years to accumulate over 1 million cubic meters of waste, including urban waste, building debris, and industrial refuse produced by the works of maintenance and dredging of channels, and is quickly filling.
Existing Dredging System Island Scale Oblique and Mid-Scale Plan. The current dredging system is much more simplistic then the complexity of the lagoon requires. There are only four classifications of soil within this system, A,B,C, and CC. Almost half of the entire lagoon is dredged and dumped on the Island.
Canals and Contamination Concentrations Lagoon Scale Plans and Contamination Charts. It is evident from these mappings that due to varying land use and zoning patterns within the lagoon, higher concentrations of each of the contaminants are found in certain areas, with the exception of two areas of overlap, Porto Marghera and the Historical City. The graph highlights the surface area percentage of the mapped out highest sediment concentration of each contaminant in relation to the entire lagoon.
Mid-scale Plans and Wind Diagrams. The lagoon is constantly in flux. Predominant winds and water currents come from the South-East during the summer months, and North-East in the winter.
Proposed pod distribution system. Obliques, Plans, and Sections. Various Scales. Using the contaminant percentage calculations, the project now proposes a system re-wire that categorizes the dredged material by contaminant. The size, depth, and form are responsive to the shifting water fluctuations, underground aquifers, wind patterns, and water currents of the lagoon.
Site phasing strategy. Island Scale Plans and Sections. The project proposes four phases of dredging pods. Each phase has been calculated to hold five years worth of dredged material.
Island Scale Exploded Axonometric.
This is a projected view of the design after 25 years. It includes the various design elements such as lighting, vegetation, retaining walls, and topography.
Salt marsh ecologies Plant List, Plans, Sections. Plants are chosen according to elevation stratas. There are three typologies of plants, dry, intertidal, and submerged. Their character and composition mimics the salt marshes and mudflats inhabiting the surrounding lagoon.
Hand moulded clay, wire mesh and 3d print conceptual models. Experimenting with the potential geometries of the dredging pods using three dimensional modelling and fabrication techniques.
Final form models. 100 year projection modelled using CNC milling on low density grey foam covered with clay and standard laser cut pod model on 1:1000 and 1:500 scales.
Final review set up. Thesis presentation as installed in the Eric Arthur Gallery at the Daniel's Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.
© 2015 Site designed by Nadia D'Agnone