A water filtration plant at Sant'Erasmo, in the Venetian lagoon

Architects C+S transform an infrastructural system into a landscape design project

by Malcolm Clark
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C+S ASSOCIATI architects have succeeded in dealing with the project of a Water filtration plant of Sant'Erasmo, one of the islands of the Venetian Lagoon, interpreting it as a landscape design project.

One metre thick parallel red pigmented untreated reinforced concrete walls, fit into the geometries of the cultivated fields and of the irrigation channels like the remains of an ancient military look out tower, recalling the ancient military origin of the islands of the Serenissima (the old name of the Serene Republic of Venice).

The building in which the filtration plant is located is inaccessible and closed for legal purposes and this condition is underlined by its mighty walls, but the project has a more complex approach.

Its insertion in the territory, in its uncertain limits, where the excursions of the tide modify the design and the thickness of the edges, is mitigated by the full height panels made of iroko which can be opened in the areas necessary for unloading dust.

In Italy the architectural world focuses much less attention to the question of service structures, both public and private (electric transformation cabins, filtration plants, hydroelectric or thermal power stations), precisely due to their operating condition, compared to other buildings of “more noble use”.

The project which has been mentioned in several international competitions due to its original theme and its extreme formal cleanliness, seems to demonstrate how there are opportunities not to be by-passed in this field too. Amongst the few other architects who have proposed something similar the Winnebach power station designed by monovolume architects of Bolzano is worthy of mention.

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    Water filtration plant in the Venice lagoon 30

    Water filtration plant in the Venice lagoon

    Venice / Italy / 2008

    Centrale elettrica Winnebach 19

    Centrale elettrica Winnebach

    Vandoies di sopra / Italy / 2009