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Nathanael Nelson + Jordan Richardson

ARCH 3010 | Venice | Fall 2017


The Floating Framework is a unique system of floating exhibitions and interventions for the island of San Pietro di Castello. It can be thought of as a ‘kit of parts’ which can serve multiple purposes, depending on the curator’s wishes. The system is composed of two major parts: the permanent public installation along the edge of the island, and the boats that compose the exhibition spaces.

The waterfront intervention is designed to draw focus back to the former religious center of Venice through making the water edge terraced and interactive, and further extending the public landscape completely into the canal for a unique spatial experience. The permanent boardwalk can support crowds of people for festivals, while still retaining San Pietro’s intimate identity during quieter days. The dock is fully capable of floating alone, but it also operates with the boats and supports up to five, if and when they dock at once.

The boats are at the heart of the system. They are carefully designed to maximize open floor space for artwork and installations, while still retaining the identity of a floating object that Venice is known for. Based on the dimensions of a vaporetto, the boats are able to travel throughout the city and work with to the existing urban fabric while not overtaking the visual landscape. The walls are glass with a steel framework to act as a display case to show the internal stories externally, while layers of curtains and louvres provide the opportunity to deal with change in light and temperature.