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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.94 Santiago dic. 2016 

Works & Projects

Archipelago Marghera. W.A.Ve.2016, Venice, Italy

Alejandro Beals1  * 

Loreto Lyon2  ** 

1Profesor Asistente Adjunto Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

1Profesora Asistente Adjunta Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Understood as a set of images - either real or conceptual - an imaginary can serve as a starting point for a project. This is the approach proposed by Beals Lyon for the workshop W.A.Ve 2016, organized by the IUAV, where the archipelago's imaginary next to the sfumato become the basis for rethinking, through the project, the relationship between the island of Venice and the port of Marghera.

Keywords: imaginary; in-between space; workshop; project; Venice

The challenge of W.A.Ve 20162 was to work with the borders as a possible redevelopment strategy, at an architectural, urban and territorial scale. Porto Marghera can be regenerated only if it is placed inside the Metropolitan City of Venice as a connection joint between the historical city center and the surrounding territory.

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 1 Workshop Archipelago Marghera W.A.Ve 2016. Archipelago Marghera: a collage that repositions the fragments of Piranesi's "Forma Urbis Romae" between Venice and Marghera illustrates the workshop's initial statement. The concept of archipelago becomes the main image defining the student's proposals which, instead of building a bridge between both cities, aimed to create multiple and continuous connections between them. 

Surrounded by the lagoon, Venice is obviously an island. On the other hand, surrounded by artificial borders, Marghera is no less isolated from the territory around it. 

During the workshop we asked ourselves what if Marghera's widest border towards Venice (the lagoon itself) is dissolved, becoming an in-between space. As with Leonardo's sfumato, we investigated formal processes by which a boundary can become many: vague, obscured or less distinct.

How can we transform a polarized relationship between Marghera and Venice into an endless gradation that acknowledges no end? What uses could unfold within this new, in-between space? What is the structure that supports such situations and events? How is it built?

Our workshop didn't intend to give a definitive answer about what to do with Marghera. We don't believe in fixed master plans, which are rigid by nature and, therefore, quickly become obsolete. Rather, we wanted to raise questions that could trigger new ideas about the relationship between Venice and Marghera, by envisioning possible futures and alternative nows.

In pedagogical terms, we aimed to work simultaneously at different scales, experiencing the complexity of an architectural project, handling issues of context, structure and function at once. Also, not only to understand the magnitude of a particular intervention that tackles a possible connection between Venice and Marghera, but, more broadly, to learn that a division between urbanism and architecture shouldn't exist: on every project, no matter its size, there is always a territorial and a human scale operating simultaneously. And both must be physically constructed and supported.

The main questions of the workshop were explored through an architectural project. We looked for the integration and recovery of Marghera outside Marghera, extending the DNA of Venice's pedestrian fabric on a succession of public spaces over the lagoon. No longer two isolated 'islands,' but a continuous archipelago of unforeseen situations and events. Just as it happens with the temporary bridge that links Venice and Giudecca during the Festa del Redentore, we wanted to build a vessel capable of infuse new life into a decaying city and, thus, trigger change and renovation.

Territorial Scale: A segment of the continuous voids that shape the pedestrian system of Venice is extracted and adapted to connect the borders between Venice and Marghera.

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 3 Context G01 

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 4 Context G05 

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 5 Context G06 

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 6 Context G07 

Proposals' Models: as in an archipelago, there are multiple connections between the different components of each project, thus proposing diverse and varied itineraries within them.

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 7 The Floating Garden (G01) 

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 8 Doppia Realita (G05) 

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 9 Industrial Fun (G06) 

(c) Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Figure 10 Vascular System (G07) 

(c) Umberto Ferro (IUAV)

Figura 11 Exhibition 


Alejandro Beals, Loreto Lyon

(Beals Lyon Arquitectos)

Teaching assistants

Stefano Tornieri, Massimo Triches, Valentina Tridello


Alexa Amanti, Kodjo Donatien Amon, Busra Balaban, Jacopo Baldelli, Giovanni Bettinelli, Alberto Bovo, Gianmarco Constatini, Chiara D'Arnese, Giorgia Dal Bianco, Matilde De Vecchi, Francesca Di Bussolo, Beatrice Didonè, Esranur Duman, Ettore Focaccia, Sara Fornasier, Pietro Fortugno, Alessandro Gava, Nicoló Genovese, Johanna Goebel, Gabriela Gomez Ortega, Claudia Lazzari, Jacopo Longo, Giulia Elisabeth Malley, Giada Marelli, Giorgia Mason, Eleonora Mazzocchin, Hana Medeghini, Giovanna Medeiros Zavaroni, Elena Melchiori, Vittoria Merighi, Anna Mocellini, Riccardo Modolo, Federica Moretto, Margherita Paggi, Sara Paneghel, Giulia Parisotto, Julia Pela Meneghel, Anna Penso, Caterina Peron, Giulia Piva, Nicola Puppin, Elena Rigato, Sabrina Righi, Noemi Rigobello, Rime Samiri, Fabio Francesco Romano, Andrea Russo, Giorgia Sacilotto, Greta Sadushi, Maria Concetta Savignano, Sofia Scandola, Marco Schito, Massimo Silvestri, Giulia Francesca Simonetto, Giorgia Soini, Luca Soliman, Davide Sorato, Marisa Spieker, Andrea Stevanato, Maddalena Stoppato, Susan Traverso, Giorgio Trivellin, Marco Turcato, Damiano Urbani, Vittoria Vascellari Dal Fiol, Eleonora Vinco, Johanna Weber, Michele Zamattio.

* Alejandro Beals Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2001. MPhil in Architecture from the Royal College of Art, London (2013), where he researched about blurriness and ambiguity in architecture, under the supervision of professor Nigel Coates. In 2012 he founds Beals Lyon Arquitectos together with Loreto Lyon. He currently teaches studio at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2005. MSc in Environmental Design and Engineering from the Bartlett, University College London (ucl), 2011 . In 2012 she founds Beals Lyon Arquitectos together with Alejandro Beals. She currently teaches studio both at the Pontificia Universidad Católica and the Universidad San Sebastián in Chile.

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