The development and transformations of the Arsenale as a function of the ship production
With an extension of about forty-eight hectares and with a vast built heritage that testifies to over seven hundred years of activity in shipbuilding, the Arsenal of Venice is certainly one of the productive settlements of cultural interest in the world. Inside every building, constructed element, system or machine, testifies to the history of activities carried out.
The general configuration of the complex, the characteristics of the buildings, the connotations of technical machinery and equipment we return a detailed narrative of the evolution of the Arsenal, all linked to the history of shipbuilding and seafaring, which appears marked, in a reading schematic, of three phases.
The first, which goes from thirteenth origins to the early decades of the Eighteenth Century, marked by a continuous expansion and from the evolution of technology in the construction of long ships, galleys.
The second one, which lasts until the first decades of the Nineteenth Century, characterised by the advent of round ships, the vessels.
The third, which has substantially got exhausted with the first world war, which records the gradual transition from wind-propelled to the engine and the wood technology than that of the iron for the hulls.
Main Elements and characterizing the settlement system, since its origins, are the squeri covered and the docks. The analysis of their transformations as a function of the change of the requirements and the evolution of the technologies work, lets you draw a evolutionary path of the complex.
During the first phase, starting from the first half of the Fourteenth Century, the covered squeri, organized by serial systems, overlooking the docks and were in direct continuity with the water, through the inclined plane of the airport. Their size was required to work on the construction of two galleys.
The second phase is primarily characterized by significant increase in the height of a part of the squeri, to accommodate the operations of construction of vessels, even if in reality, already in the second half of the Sixteenth Century, the Arsenal was already equipped with some squeri of greater height for the short season of the construction of galeazze of larger dimensions than the galleys.
Over the period of time of the first two phases, which substantially correspond to those of wooden ships, the general character of the plant of the settlement is determined by serial systems and modular of squeri covered, organized around the docks.
In the third phase the profound change to the naval technologies did record changes in complex much higher than those levied on the whole of the previous history of the Arsenal.
After a first phase of transition there was a radical change after 1866, when as a result of the annexation of Venice to the Kingdom of Italy, was undertaken a program of adjustment of the Arsenal to the european navies.
Squeri and docks were no longer compatible with the size more than doubled of the new warships that required working outdoors, in the yard and basins for repairs, and water spaces much larger for their evolutions. The squeri were then processed in warehouses and workshops and their characters changed significantly, as well as their relationship with the docks interrupted from the creation of the quays.
text by Claudio Menichelli