Drawing Marghera

Design Workshop // 2013 // all ages // Chiesa Gesu Lavoratore + IUAV di Venezia // Marghera + Venice, Italy


“The mayor has just given you this abandoned factory. He has given you this empty field. What do you want to do with it?”

This was the opening question to the residents of Marghera. Across the water from domes and spires of Venice, Marghera has the telltale signs of any post-industrial city: miles of empty factories, high unemployment rates, prostitution and drug problems. The factories closed in 1980's after enraged employees rioted because of chemical exposure. 

As a project to between members of members of the Chiesa Gesu Lavoratore (Church of the Working Jesus) and the architecture and urbanism school IUAV di Venezia, the goal was to inspire both practical and fantastical design for abandoned space in Marghera.

Photographs of abandoned spaces were printed on clear acetate layers. Workshop participants drew projects for what they imagined for the empty spaces, creating an analogue version of photoshop.

Over the course of an evening, where huge amounts of risotto and crepes were consumed, workshop participant presented their drawings to the crowd. Using an overhead projector, the acetate drawings were projected on the wall. Whether they were 10 or 50 years old, each person stood in front of the crowd and explained their vision.

As a final iteration of the project, drawings were scanned and printed as large posters and wheatpasted in the sites the original photos were taken. Each poster had an empty framed space under the drawings, with the provocation: DISEGNA QUI un TUO progetto per questo spazio (DESIGN HERE YOUR project for this space).



Project direction: Kate Clark and Don Luca

Collaborators: Lucile Ado, Federica Cat, Andrea Curtoni, Aditya Deshmukh, Cecila Furlan, Irene Guida, Shi Hui, Antonio Sanna, Sofia Zanetti

Students of IUAV di Venezia EMU program + Members of Chiesa Gesu Lavoratore

Translation: Valentina Bonifacio

Documentation: Valentina Bonifacio, Anisa Josky

Project Support: Paola Vigano + Bernardo Secchi, Parsons The New School Urbanisms of Inclusion Grant