LACUNA/AE. Identity and Modern Architecture in Venice


The contemporary landscape is a depository of complex signs and contradictory relations not immediately understood.
LACUNA/AE intends to investigate the relationships between man, the places he inhabits, the landscape and its historic transformations.

Our first project consists of a photographic campaign which looks at the areas of modern urbanization, located just outside Venice’s historic centre, inside the Venetian lagoon.
Some of these areas have been built ex novo on former swamplands; others were built on old, long decayed, enormous industrial complexes. In fact, between the 19th and the 20th century, Venice was a powerful industrial pole. Mills for pasta and bread as well as industries dedicated to extraction of pearls and event watches, were located on the islands surrounding the city. With the establishment of Porto Marghera and the Petrochemical plants (1917), Venice’s industrial activities gradually moved to the mainland. Although the islands definitely closed their activities in the 1950s, the remains of industrial buildings remained visible for almost thirty years. Later on, towards the 1980s, new urban renewal programs started to reconvert industrial archeological sites into residential areas.

These areas have been redesigned by some of the most renowned architects in the world, such as Alvaro Siza, Gino Valle, Giancarlo De Carlo and Carlo Scarpa.

The project asserts the priority of photography as an irreplaceable cultural requirement in the field of investigating the territory: the means aids us in perceiving, viewing and (re)living the contemporary surroundings, the city, and the territory.

The photos we are presenting have something in common: they do not show spectacular images, or ones that exploit or are clichés of some sort.
The photographic means is not used as a mere documentation of the visual fact, nor does it have a strictly topographic function; but it becomes a discourse in which the spectator assumes an active role in gathering the associations and the connections that link the dispersed signs of the landscape.
The photographers involved are not landscape artists but rather researchers who question and offer a (collective) experience of the objects viewed.

LACUNA/AE - project map - Venice



  • Trevisan area: a former cement factory and timber yard. Renovation project by Gino Valle, 1980 – 86
  • Junghans area: a former timepiece and precision instruments factory. Renovation project by Cino Zucchi, 1996 – 97
  • Sacca Fisola: artificial island created in 1960 – 80
  • Murano Angeli area: a new residential construction project by IACP, 1970  and Paolo Righetti, 1980 – 90
  • Mazzorbo: new settlement on a project by Giancarlo De Carlo, 1980 – 97
  • S.A.F.F.A. area: a former match factory. Renovation project by Vittorio Gregotti, 1980 – 2001
  • Baia del Re: new settlement on a project by Franco Bortoluzzi,  1987 – 90
  • Laguna Village: public housing, 1969
  • Fusina Camping: the renewal of the campsite by Carlo Scarpa, 1957
  • Lido: liberty villas, ‘900

The word “laguna” comes from the Latin term “lacuna” which means a hole, empty space / pond, pool, absence, loss / lack.