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Björklund, Erika (2007) Urban revitalisation through lighting design. Other thesis, SLU.

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Venice has a unique location in the Lagoon which dates back to the first century BC. It is thanks to this isolation that Venice has been able to evolve with success for centuries. Today, in contact with post-modern society, the former republic La Serenissima faces various problems. During the last 300 years, many changes have taken place to transform the original structure and use of the city. With the construction of the railway and road, which connects the archipelago to the mainland, access was made easier. The new link further meant an increase in tourism, a monoculture that is evident today when visiting the city. The steady reduction in population since the Second World War together with urban decay has meant that Venice feels like a museum of art and architecture. Historically, Venice was vivid but this former bustle can today only be traced during the day and in some parts of the city. An improved lighting system could encourage activity after dark, as well as it would improve the feeling of safety, enhance the aesthetic appearance of the city, reduce light pollution and save energy. Artificial lighting was introduced rather early in Venice and today many of the original luminaries, which were constructed for gas, oil or incandescent have been restored or reproduced. This enables an impression suitable from a historic point of view, but the city is today over-illuminated and glare is frequent. The most commonly used light source is mercury vapour, a choice neither good for the environment or for the rendering of colours. There is currently no existing lighting plan but a law exists in an attempt to reduce light pollution and to protect the image of the city. When planning lighting it is important to consider light distribution, light level, glare, reflexes, shadows and light colour. Our vision is based on contrasts and our ability to read three dimensional spaces improves if the gradient between light and dark is gradual. The difficulties of planning lighting for Venice are great due to its rich history and unique location, and also the conflicts that exist between different groups in society such as locals, tourists, professional workers, shop and restaurant owners and conservationists. These different users of the urban scene all have various needs which should be taken into account. At the same time the lighting should fit into context. Through walks in the city during day and night I analysed the urban structure by the use of Kevin Lynch's five elements - nodes, paths, edges, landmarks and districts. This analysis formed the base for the lighting masterplan with guidelines which aims at creating harmonious and historically appropriate lighting. By applying different lighting techniques for these urban elements identity and sense of place (genius loci) could be created. Moreover, the guidelines attempt to reduce light pollution by a change in light sources and decrease the risk of glare. The light level in Venice should instead be lowered so that qualities such as shadows and reflexes could be appreciated through contrasts. The Venetian square, campo, is the traditional meeting place in the city. The chosen site for the lighting project, Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, is a good representative for the campi in Venice as it is an enclosed space which is focused towards a main building. It is situated outside the most popular tourist area and is mainly a place where locals meet. Lively at daytime, the campo is lifeless after dark and its architectural qualities have disappeared. With an improved lighting, the hierarchy of the site could be emphasised upon and the striking image which hits the visitor at daytime could be further evident after dark. Greenery exists sparsely in the city and by illuminating the solitary tree seasonal changes would become apparent. The play between light and shadow would be evident in the foliage and on the ground beneath as well as on the canal where mirroring and reflexes could be appreciated through a decrease in light level. Together this represents an atmosphere which reminds of the one during the day. By placing pole-mounted luminaries that are cut-off on the far side opposite the church, the space would become further enclosed. After sunset it would still be possible to sit down and enjoy the features of the space.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: light, lighting design, Venice, masterplan, urban revitilisation
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
Depositing User: Erika Björklund
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 09:51
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/1708

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