Clear doesn’t mean clean for Venice’s canals

March 24, 2020 by  
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Images of dolphins cruising Italian ports and swans floating beneath picturesque bridges in Venice’s famous canals are popping up on social media feeds. But clearer  water  doesn’t necessarily mean cleaner. Unfortunately, two weeks of lockdown isn’t enough to reverse centuries of human impact on Venice’s canals. Boat traffic kicking up natural sediment is the main cause of the canals’ usual murkiness. “The low turbidity of the water does not mean cleanliness,” Pierpaolo Campostrini, the managing director for the Consortium for Managing Scientific Research on Venice Lagoon System, told ABC News. “The transparency is due to the absence of sediment resuspension.” Cold water is probably also contributing to the canals’ clarity, as it’s not warm enough for the synthesis of organic compounds from  carbon dioxide . Related: Coronavirus and its impact on carbon emissions Water pollution can be invisible. “ Pollution  can impact how water appears, but perfectly clear water can contain toxic substances,” Kristen Thyng, assistant research professor at Texas A&M University, told Afar. Italy has been on lockdown since March 9, when Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a national quarantine. At the time of writing, Italy has more than 59,000 confirmed  coronavirus  cases. This is the second-highest national rate after China. Venice is in northern Italy, where factories usually cause air pollution. Because the nationwide lockdown has prompted the temporary closure of many industries, air quality has improved. The European Space Agency has captured clearer skies from its satellites. However, chemical analysis would be necessary to say exactly how much both air and water quality have improved in Italy during the pandemic. Citizens of Venice were still recovering from record high tides last November, which prompted the Italian government to declare a state of emergency. Many shops and hotels  flooded , and St. Mark’s Square, a tourist favorite, was underwater. Unfortunately, most locals aren’t able to appreciate the canals’ current beauty. Lockdown means they can only leave their homes for necessities, work and  health  circumstances. + ABC News Via Afar Image via Gerhard Gellinger

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Clear doesn’t mean clean for Venice’s canals

Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change

November 14, 2019 by  
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Venice is inundated with floodwaters, with more than 85 percent of the city, including its historic basilica and centuries-old buildings, experiencing floods. Both residents and tourists are forced to navigate streets in waist-high waters, prompting the Venetian mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, to issue a state of emergency for the city. Nearly a third of Venice’s 1,100 raised walkways are now overwhelmed by high water. While exceptionally high tides, called acqua alta , have occurred here every five years or so, this year’s deluge is the worst since 1966. A combination of climate change and a billion-dollar project derailed by political scandal are factors contributing to the damage. “Venice is on its knees,” Brugnaro lamented earlier this week on Twitter. “We need everyone’s help to overcome these days that are putting us to the test.” Heavy rain, strong southerly winds and a full moon worked together, scientists say, in drawing the tidewater higher than usual. Traditionally, Venetians have recognized that whenever water climbs to more than 4.5 feet above the hydrographic station at Punta della Salute, the tide is then deemed an “exceptional” one. Meanwhile, the high tide earlier this week had a high-water mark registering 6 feet 2 inches, which is just a couple of inches below the highest Venetian flood ever recorded back in 1966. Related: Study estimates sea level rise two times worse than worst-case scenario Climate change is exacerbating the situation as melting ice, snow and glaciers around the world are raising sea levels. The sea level rise places Venice at greater risk. But other aspects are at play as well. Venice is sinking due to subsidence from plate tectonic movement underneath, wherein the Adriatic plate is subducting beneath the Apennines Mountains. Similarly, Venice has long been pumping groundwater from beneath the city; as the ground compacts from centuries of building construction, the city is shifting while it settles, causing a subsidence range of 0.04 to 0.20 inches (or 1 to 5 millimeters) per year. Unfortunately, Venice’s planned project for a series of large, movable undersea barriers, called MOSE, is still far from completion, due to soaring cost overruns, delays and corruption scandals. MOSE’s floodgates are designed to be raised above the seabed to shut off the lagoon from rising sea levels. The endeavor is still in a testing phase. Via NPR and BBC Image via Shutterstock

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Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower

November 14, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based design firm Waterstudio is already well-known for its incredible floating architecture, but it continues to break ground in the world of innovative design. Now, the firm, which is led by Koen Olthuis, has unveiled the world’s first floating timber tower. Slated for the waters of Rotterdam, the tower is made out of CLT and will house office space, a public green park and a restaurant with a terrace. Waterstudio’s most recent project is a contemporary take on floating architecture. The 130-foot-tall tower will be made out of cross-laminated timber, making the structure much lighter than concrete builds. Additionally, working with CLT means the building will be made with a renewable resource , providing the city of Rotterdam with a cutting-edge sustainable landmark. The tower will also make use of large expanses of glass to let plenty of natural light into the interior. Abundant vegetation, including pocket gardens planted with vegetables, will be found throughout the tower — inside and out. Related: Waterstudio.nl’s Sea Tree is a protected floating habitat for flora and fauna According to Olthuis, the building’s design is akin to a sheet of paper that has been pushed together until a tower forms in the middle. The base of the tower is located on a flat platform, which will be covered in vegetation. Rising up from the deck, the tower’s facade is marked by a series of V-shaped columns. Inside, a spacious atrium will be flooded with natural light . Although the tower will be mainly used as office space , there are several areas slated for the public. With offices located on the upper floors, the lower floors and main deck will house several publicly accessible spaces, such as a gallery and a coffee bar. Also on the lower deck, a restaurant will feature a beautiful terrace that provides stunning views of the harbor. For additional space, a lush, green courtyard will let workers and visitors enjoy fresh air day or night. This area is designed to be a flexible space for various functions and events happening year-round. + Waterstudio Images via Waterstudio

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Venice’s canals go dry following weeks without rain

February 5, 2018 by  
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Venice has historically had a problem with too much water inundating its canals, but thanks to a combination of low tides and a lack of rain over the last few weeks, the sinking city’s waterways have turned into channels of mud. Indeed, unusual weather patterns have caused Venice’s water levels to plummet by more than two feet (60cm), rendering a number of channels completely unusable. And with no way to move through the city, many locals have left their boats and gondolas to languish in the muck. The Independent reports that dip in water is the direct result of low tides caused by the super blue blood moon paired with unseasonably dry weather. This, however, is not the first time the Italian city has seen its canals go dry; in 2016, water levels fell by 2.16 feet (66cm), and in 2008 and 1989 levels dropped by 2.95 feet (90cm). The canals are expected to return to normal when the rain returns. Related: Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free  While the phenomenon is surely alarming, flooding remains the biggest threat to the city.  Quarternary International published a report last year forecasting that Venice could disappear by the end of the century as a result of rising sea levels caused by climate change . The Mediterranean Sea is in fact predicted to rise by 4.59 feet (140cm) before 2100. The city itself is also sinking at a rate of about 1-2mm a year. Via Independent UK Images via Wiki Commons and Flickr

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Venice’s canals go dry following weeks without rain

Sustainable growth is on tap at World Water Week

September 2, 2016 by  
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Here are four takeaways from the Venice of the North.

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Sustainable growth is on tap at World Water Week

Switzerland unveils cloud-like pavilion at Venice Biennale

July 26, 2016 by  
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Kerez’s pavilion is an attempt to think about, construct, and experience architecture differently. This experimental work designed for a specific location and occasion is an autonomous piece that, trying to avoid a conventional design framework, seeks greater innovation. Done to stand only for itself, and not to represent any other work of architecture nor a tendency or any other specific construction or design method, the Swiss pavilion is an abstract experience that boldly stands out from other Biennale participants showcasing conventional models, drawings and photographs. Related: Thousands of keys strung from blood-red yarn evoke Japan’s Great Tohoku Earthquake The interior of the artificially formed cloud realized in fiber cement evokes a natural geological structure. In addition to resembling a real cloud, the Swiss pavilion is itself a huge cloud of data – the result of coupling and sequencing craftsmanship and digital processes to create a complex architectonic space. + Christian Kerez + Venice Biennale Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes

July 26, 2016 by  
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Who would even want to win a gold medal when you could have a golden electric car? Some gold medal winners at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games hosted in Brazil will also take home a special prize from Nissan : a shiny gold Leaf EV . The gilded electric cars will be offered to any of the 16 athletes sponsored by the automaker’s British office, provided they earn a gold medal in their sport first. At the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro starting in just a few weeks, Nissan is already providing a fleet of 4,200 vehicles , including the Leaf and the new SUV model Kicks . Once the games begin, scores of athletes from around the world will compete for a shot at the gold, silver, or bronze medals traditionally awarded at the Olympics. Nissan’s British office is sponsoring ten Olympic and six Paralympic athletes in this summer’s games, and hopes the added allure of a shiny gold electric car will be enough to help them bring home the gold (medal, that is). The car is subtly emblazoned (if that’s a thing) with the words “Rio 2016 Gold Medalist” on the hood, both sides, and the rear bumper, so that passersby from every angle will know who is at the wheel. Related: New 2016 Nissan Leaf can travel up to 107 miles on a single charge The Leaf EV is Nissan’s answer to the affordable electric car. First introduced in 2010, the Leaf quickly became the world’s all-time best selling highway-capable all-electric car. As of April of this year, nearly 220,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide, and it’s no wonder. The EV has an impressive 107-mile range and an MSRP under $30,000. Combined with federal and state tax credits, the Nissan Leaf represents a great deal on a zero emissions vehicle. Via Carscoops Images via Nissan

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Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes

Turkey presents a huge ship made from 4 tons of reused materials in Venice

June 2, 2016 by  
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The large ship measures 30 meters (98 feet) and weighs four tons. It was built from more than 500 pieces of reused materials , including seven kilometers (4.6 miles) of steel cable, wooden moulds, discarded furniture , signboards and boats found on site. Related: Slovenia built a habitable structure with latticed wooden bookshelves The design, curated by Feride Çiçeko?lu, Mehmet Kütükçüo?lu and Ertu? Uçar, focuses on the concept of borders and ways in which these can be dissolved and transformed. After the Biennale closes next November, the structure will travel back to Istanbul, where it will become a centerpiece of a museum of arsenal. Via urdesign Photos by Cemal Emden

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Turkey presents a huge ship made from 4 tons of reused materials in Venice

Slovenia built a habitable structure with latticed wooden bookshelves

May 30, 2016 by  
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The project responds to the Biennale’s theme “Reporting from the Front” by functioning like an abstract home doubling as a curated library that allows visitors to explore the concept of dwelling. It is also a nod to the seminal 1956 Patio & Pavilion project by Alison and Peter Smithson. Curators Aljoša Dekleva and Tina Gregori? of Dekleva Gregori? Architects conceived an inhabitable wooden structure made of a latticed system of bookshelves that marries public and private space. It creates a temporary domestic environment based on user experience. Related: Australian Pavilion will become a pool for 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale The use of wood reflects the historical connection between Venice and Slovenia. Slovenia also has a very developed timber industry, which explains the architects’ desire to explore its potential use in creating domestic spaces. They used low-tech and high-tech construction techniques in building the structure. The main cavity acts as both a living space and library. + Dekleva Gregori? Architects

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Slovenia built a habitable structure with latticed wooden bookshelves

Top 7 highlights of the Italian Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2015

July 22, 2015 by  
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