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THE DEATH, THE VINE 
AND THE SOIL

TYPE / Academic project

SCHOOL / Bartlett School of Architecture

SITE / Poveglia, Venetian Lagoon, Italy

YEAR / 2019-2020

The project aims to introduce a Human Composting facility and Biodynamic Winery on the abandoned Island of Poveglia in the Venetian Lagoon. Poised between terroir, phenomenological and Gothic Architecture, the design rises from the ground where it will return in the fullness of time.

Boat shed interior view
Elevation of the island of Poveglia
Objects of the altar in Poveglia
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Poveglia, also called the Island of Death, used to serve as a quarantine station for those suffering from the plague and later on as a mental hospital. The island’s narrative contributes to the belief that half of its terrain is composed of human remains.

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By transplanting Dorona vines into the island, the process of composting allows the deceased body to turn into soil for the vineyard. The processes employed create an apparatus for the representation of Venice’s transmutation, against its supposed impending death. 

The island of Poveglia composting facility parallel view
Plan of the cathedral of the island of Poveglia
Masterplan of the Island of Poveglia
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Vines, bones, loam, petrified wood, boats, chalices, and many other characters, unite in a romantic spatial and temporal choreography. The performance reflects in the tranquil water of the lagoon and the visitors uncover the architectural footprint during twilight at dusk. 

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The scanned vertical symmetry further hints at the harmonious inversion of two worlds, synchronised and dependent on each other, living and dead, aerobic and anaerobic, material and immaterial, creative and destructive. 

Central corridor view of the Cathedral
The island of Poveglia boat approch view