Acqua Alta – a new solution for the high tide in Venice

Author name: Barbara Stallone (EX FIGURA)
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This project presents an alternative solution for Venice’s high tide threat – a different approach that plays along the natural elements and creates a condition that is beneficial towards the place, the city and the people.
Every year, the higher sea level pushes a tide inland and floods most of the urban area, damaging the historic buildings and putting its residents’ well-being and businesses at risk. This tide, “Acqua Alta”, is a part of the environment; of its delicate ecosystem. To protect the city’s infrastructure, a new dynamic was sought, trying to find a balance between the natural and the artificial.




“Acqua Alta” has a bigger impact in Piazza San Marco, given the fact that it is the city’s lowest point. This symbol of Venice is endangered by the systematic tides, which also prevents people from using this central and pivotal place of the city’s daily life.
To deal with this issue, a new landscape was developed to keep the water away from the building, like the Basilica San Marco, and other key points of the urban tissue. This added topography reinterprets the existing streets and squares, by establishing paths and “islands” everytime the water rises and comes through the sewer system. Each 7 hours, with every tide change, a different landscape is created – a new harmony between nature and architecture.





This soft topography is a system capable of being implemented throughout Venice. It manages the rising water threat while preserving the place and its ecosystems – an innovative strategy that instead of going against the natural dynamics, it aligns its efforts with them to create a new sensible strategy.



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