National Pavilion UAE - Architecture- Between the Modern and the Architectonic/ By Ruwaya Al shamsi & Noura AlSerkal
  • Architecture- Between the Modern and the Architectonic/ By Ruwaya Al shamsi & Noura AlSerkal

    Venice is not fixed in time. It is in constant change and renovation. It is a historic city, which includes many of the Venetian Gothic Architectural elements in terms of form, facade and structure. But, it also includes many modern architectural elements. In the recent decade, the islands that are part of Venice, such as Guidecca, Burano and Murano all have many modern architectural elements. However, firstly we will begin by explaining the difference between the Venetian Gothic Architecture and the modern elements before addressing some of the modern architectural elements around Venice. Venetian Gothic Architecture“originated in the 14th century Venice with the confluence of Byzantine styles from Constantinople, Arab influences from Moorish Spain and early Gothic forms from mainland Italy. Chief examples of the style are the Doge’s Palace and Ca’ d’Oro in Venice.”

    On the other hand, Modern architecture is an architecture style that occurred after the 20th century. It includes some notions, such as “form follows function, and that simplicity and clarity of forms and elimination of unnecessary detail.” Pioneers of this movement include Frank Lloyd Wright, and Zaha Hadid.

    Currently, when we look at the architectural elements in the islands in Venice, we will find many forms of modern architecture. For instance, in the island of Guidecca, many of the building are made by some of the modern Italian architects such as Aldo Rossi, Alvaro Siza, Gino Valle and Cino Zucchi. They have “transformed industrial area into contemporary buildings that remain in synergy with the island’s traditional architecture. “ (source from a website).

    Many of the building in Guidecca have linear forms and do not include any arches or decorative elements. For instance, the residential buildings by Cino Zucchi have modern forms, in terms of shape, structure and façade. The juxtaposition of shapes between the horizontal and vertical lines result in a unique architectural design. For instance, in a Venetian gothic architectural style, you will find many arches and decorative elements. However, the island of Guidecca provides an outlook of a modern Venice. It contains residential areas and buildings with square shape windows, and linear lines. As well as modern architectural churches, usually one would find churches with many decorative elements and figures on each side of the facades. However, one church in Giudecca had no decorative elements, and a modern façade, with rectangular windows rather than windows with arches.

    Furthermore, other than the island of Giudecca, we can also find modern architectural elements in the island of Burano. This small island is filled with beautiful colored houses, each with a different color and style. However, all of the houses follow a modern architectural style. Apart from the color of the houses, the form and structure have modern elements. For instance, while walking around the island, many the windows stood out because they were similar in shape to the windows found in Giudecca but very different from the windows found in the main island of Venice.

    In conclusion, Venice is a mixture of both modern architectural elements and Venetian gothic architectural elements. We cannot separate one from the other. As Rem Koolhas says in a book titled Elements of Venice, “This city, which for many is—architecturally speaking—permanently frozen in time, has in fact often been at the forefront of challenging the architectural conventions, both during the days of the Republic (until 1797), in which gothic and renaissance styles were seen as carriers of political and ideological meanings, and in the past two centuries when, despite the introduction of the dooming motto “Com’era, dov’era” (“As it was, where it was”), Venice underwent an unprecedented urban transformation.”

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