Evocations of a Historical Night in Venice
Anne Marie Fisker
1, Marie Frier Hvejsel2
1Ass. Professor, Architect maa, PhD. Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg, Denmark, 2Assistant Professor, M.Sc. Eng. Arch. Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology, Aalborg, Denmark
In Venice, were the ‘raising of stones into the air' is as described by Ruskin ‘at its most miraculous' there exists a particular intimate scale which makes this city omnipresent. Not only are we here drawn by mystery and romance - this otherworldly city unfolds an architectural nocturne that in many ways makes history.
In general the sensuous quality and experience of presence in the contemporary city is increasingly diluted as flows of highways, metros, escalators and elevators lead us effortlessly. A contemporary redeveloping of the sensuous quality of the historic city cannot be a question of nostalgic conservations, but it is our hypothesis that there is lessons to be learned from the historic city in developing our contemporary urban environment and that the night possesses a particular potential in uncovering these lessons.
At night our senses are enhanced; our attentions to sound, touch, smell and taste increases as our eyes are partially incapacitated by the dimness. The night is therefore an obvious point of departure for questioning and challenging our usual perception of the city as well as for spurring future directions for development. Using the pavilion NoRA as a case study this paper explores the potential for activating the small scale architectural experiment, as a means for evoking sensuous experiences of the historic city and for uncovering contemporary potential in our everyday environment by activating this particular sensitivity of the night. NoRA is a pavilion which was designed as a mobile experience unit offering a venue for cooking events, concerts, exhibitions and workshops launched for the first time at the 10th International Architectural Biennale in Venice. On a September night NoRA framed a nocturnal event making the taste, smell, sound and feeling of the historic city the point of departure for learning about the contemporary city.