1 Project - 2 Cities

urban proposal | Venice & Florence, Italy | 2012


The challenge was to create one project on two sites - one in the historical heart of Florence, the other inside an industrial site of Venice. 

The initial investigation of the difference between Florentine and Venetian painting techniques, disegno and colore, provided the conceptual framework from which the proposal evolved. The articulation of a figural edge can be seen as the fundamental difference between disegno and colore; one drawn as a hard profile with a line, the other implied through soft, blurred brush strokes. The projects in Venice and Florence share a common edge. The difference lies in their relationship to this edge and to the rest of the city.

The Piazza della Signoria in Florence is presently an illegible figure due to the diverging orientations of its surrounding buildings - urban fabric abiding by the Roman grid vs the alignment of the Uffizi Gallery. The proposed housing project continues the logic of the Uffizi Gallery as a strong figure containing a voided three-dimensional volume. Conceptualized as a carving out of the dense medieval urban fabric, the newly re-framed civic space in Florence is a clearly defined urban room with a hard edge that is comprehended through the aggregation of figures from the outside in. 

The Arsenale site in Venice presents itself as a 'non-site'. Its privatized complex is physically walled-off from the rest of the city and conceptually empty. The project in Venice must then create its own context, thereby remaining formally autonomous - an internalized scheme with a clearly defined exterior edge. 

In collaboration with Amy DeDonato