Archive + Bus Terminal in Venice

Harvard Graduate School of Design M.Arch II Studio

TIME: 2011

SCALE: 9,000 sqm


I can not always agree with the studio assignment. To build a Historical Archive building on the Piazzale Roma, the gate way of Venice sounds not convincing. When this limited space is overlapped by three different layers – 1) a bus transportation infrastructure; 2) a open public space for people hanging out; 3) a historical archive that documents past and displays present, the plaza is overwhelmed. However I saw it as an opportunity to rethink and redefine the role of Piazzale Roma, which anyhow is currently occupied by buses parking and not so pleasant.

The first idea is to raise up the horizon, create a unexpected impression at the arrival –  a view of pure sky. It is an dramatic way to redefine the arrival experience. By doing so it creates a sandwich structure: the shelter at bottom serves as an public space, the sloping gap in between as bus terminal, and the archive above. Archive is directly connected with ground public space by an escalator tube, without stop at bus level.

By manipulating views, it creates a series of surreal moment, to maximize the connection between public space to surrounding city context, as well as to minimize impact of bus circulation. The illusion of infinity and isolation, makes the archive not only functional, but also an spiritual and timeless palace where history is frozen.

Arrival Experience

1- Existing Condition

Piazzale Roma is occupied by buses lanes and parking, which leaves no space for people to stay. The ring road around bus parking area isolates the plaza from surroundings.

2- Reorganize Bus Parking

To reconnect the plaza to surrounding city areas, the bus parking lanes are reorganized only from one direction instead of ring road.

3- Raise up horizon

By raising up the horizon, it creates a unexpected movement that the first arrival with a view of pure sky. Dramatic enough to clean visitors’ minds.

4- Upper Layer of  Archive

To cover the bus station with an archive, whose bottom surface is parallel to the parking slope below crates an illusion of being still on the flat ground. It is preparing for the first arrival movement.

5- Open Up Bottom

By pushing back the lower interface, it enlarges the opening of urban space and leads the circulation goes up directly to the third level of Archive.

6- Documentary Filed

The archive is completed isolated from surrounding context, like another extra dimension. It is arranged by series of parallel walls with random openings to create enlarged areas as rooms.

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