Suspended in the struggle between sea and soil, Venice is an ambiguous place prone to mystification. For centuries, vedutisti left a vivid visual record of the city that was by turns a reflection of real and imagined space. As a result, the tourist-oriented city has seen the birth and growth of an industry of nostalgia, in which preservation efforts to protect the city’s historic brand sometimes displace its local livelihood. In addition, Venice now battles rising water levels that are having a fundamental impact on local communities and living conditions.
Venice Lessons is a project of Laba, or Laboratory Basel, founded in 2011 as a satellite studio of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The book presents the studio’s proposals for the city in three parts. Part One, “Territory,” presents an interdisciplinary reading of the lagunary territory of Venice. Part Two, “Field,” documents Laba’s fieldwork in Venice in 2015. Part Three, “Architecture,” features twelve designs produced in response to the core concerns of Venice.