Island 38: A residential district island for ten thousand Venetians.
Master of Architecture
Venice is a complete concept. A finished city. As a floating amalgamation of islands, constantly in opposition with rising tides, any sense of urban normality is gone. Inundation by mass tourism, however, has effectively displaced the Venetian population to the extent that any civic presence is all but gone. Interestingly, though, Venice’s commodification naturally facilitates its own unique form of preservation. The World Heritage Site cannot be added to, it can only be maintained. Venice is an urban artifact, a ghost town, visited yearly by over 25 million tourists. As tourism increases so to does the evacuation of Venetian residents. There is no generational turnover in city. Exorbitant living costs make moving to the mainland suburbs advantageous. Begging the question: can Venice be saved? No, at least not as a city. But the Venetian lagoon, as a larger urban whole comprised of thirty-four islands, can be saved. This thesis optimistically proposes four new islands, emphasizing Island 38, a residential district island, as an alternative future for inhabiting the lagoon. It proposes an island urbanism, not predicated on Venetian urbanity but rather an enhanced version determined based on the demands of the contemporary individuated subject and flux of the lagoon environment.