Venice Bridge Competition

Stones of Venice, Bridge-Museum Competition

The City of Venice held a design competition for a new combination bridge/museum project to replace the existing Academia Bridge. Venice is a sinking city with a rich history that will be lost forever to the swelling seas. Rivers deposit sediment that is continually dredged. Seas rise and buildings are continually raised. Ultimately the sea will conquer. This proposal looks into ancient construction techniques in order to create structures that last on a geological timescale. The 12 foot x 12 foot x 80 foot tall solid marble stones, relatively permanent compared to Venice’s hollow buildings, are also at the mercy of nature: Slowly, they too will be swallowed by the sea. Marble obelisks, quarried in Carrara and shipped to Venice, will be erected on an excavated plinth using 1200 tonne capacity tower cranes. 30 stones cross the Grand Canal providing the armature for an inset glass museum and a lightweight, steel bridge. In addition, a scattering of individual obelisks occupy the string of open plazas throughout the city. The lifespan of the inset museum is roughly 200 years (a generous estimate for modern architecture), whereas the lifespan of the stone obelisks is an estimated 15,000 years. This intervention will leave a permanent mark in the Venetian lagoon and provide an eternal gate into the most beautiful sinking city in the world.