The Arsenale of Venice
History of the Ancient Shipyard
The monumental complex of the Arsenale, already Factory World during the middle ages, the heart of the shipbuilding industry of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, with its almost 50 hectares has extension is a impressive resource of the city.
Already by the end of the years '90 thanks to the far-sighted policy of the Venice Biennale (then as now President Paolo Baratta) in concert with the Superintendence of the Architectural Heritage and Landscape of Venice has embarked on the restoration and reuse of buildings of the southern part of the complex.
In this way first the Corderie, on the occasion of the 1st Architecture Biennale in 1980 where it is set up the Strada Novissima by Paolo Portoghesi, subsequently, the Artillery, the Tese, the Gaggiandre, the Garden of Virgins and recently the Sale d'Armi, have become of overtime is now consolidated exhibition spaces that allow thousands of visitors every year, to visit and get to know this extraordinary urban place.
In the middle of the years '80 you begin to also reflect on the fate of the North Arsenal (from the Tese of San Cristoforo up to the Basins). From the first beats the hypothesis of the reutilization is oriented toward solutions that provide to place inside activities for the production of goods and services of high technological content. In this direction fits the first intervention of as Thetis, specialized center in marine technology and coastal. The 1996 project involves four buildings of the Arsenale Novissimo, wherein Iginio Cappai and Pietro Mainardis placed the company headquarters.
From that date follow one after the other, and still continue today a series of other recovery projects commissioned by Thetis, as well as by the Consorzio Venezia Nuova, the CNR, by the company Arsenal spa. We can say that almost all the buildings of the Arsenale North has been retrieved for tasks predominantly of research.
Research Pole: Thetis; ISMAR of CNR; Consorzio Venezia Nuova
Pole of the Production: Consorzio Venezia Nuova; ACTV
Pole of the Culture: Venice Biennale
Pole of the Marina: Library and school studies Maritime Military.
In 2000, the Magistrato alle Acque, forcing the interpretation of the special law, acts on the whole theory of tense that constitute the North Arsenale. In 2003 is approved the detailed plan of the Arsenal.
In the same year is established the Company Arsenale spa, on the initiative of the State Property and of the Municipality of Venice with the task to enable and manage important projects.
In August 2006 the Magistrato alle Acque and the Company Arsenale spa announced four competitions: The Tower of Porta Nuova won by studio MaP of Magnani-Pelzel ; Tesa 105 won by Andres Holguin Torres (group leader) David Morales Hernández, Alvaro Solis Sanchez; the Tesa 113 won by Antonio Atienza, the mobile bridge won by G. Furter of NuvolaB office. The first two have already been built.
In recent years, the process of recovery and reuse in the area and moved more decisively in the area of the basins, in what is called the production center, where it will be organized the sensitive area of the maintenance of mobile bulkheads of the MOSE system.
In recent weeks, on 9th February 2013 has been published in local newspapers, that a surface of 26 has, equal to 53% of the total surface, the 71% if you exclude the water basins enclaves, remain the responsibility of the Navy, were transferred to the Municipality of Venice.
The buildings of the institutional activities, the Institute of maritime Studies, the monumental entrance on the Rio della Tana, the buildings of the West, the building of the former squaring, the piazzale della Campanella, the Tesa of the Bucintoro, are all property of the Navy.
The Northern part including the dry docks remain in concession to the Consorzio Venezia Nuova. In this area the barracks of Sommergibilisti passes to the Municipality of Venice. The south-eastern part remains in concession to the Biennale.
text by Claudio Menichelli
The development and transformations of the Arsenale as a function of the ship production
The Arsenale of Venice - Historical information on the development of the plant and architectures
The process of architectural and functional renewal of the Venice Arsenale
photos by Umberto Ferro, Claudio Menichelli and Margherita Vanore