Institute for Smart & Healthy Cities Venice Exhibit 2023

Residential Design

  • Daniel Paul & Onel Santiago

Programmatic Goals of the Site:

Introduce residential housing districts to serve the permanent residents of Venice instead of catering to tourists. Renovate the outdated office spaces utilized by many of the businesses throughout the city. Provide a network of pedestrian-focused routes and parkways. Expand existing modes of transportation via buses, people movers, and Vaporetto. Reduce parking areas to allow for new infrastructure. Create a new frontage for the city of Venice and provide reasons to stay.


Developing a centralized transportation hub around 30th Street station and the new hyperloop system and an all-encompassing vertical city in the tower above that features centralized neighbourhoods of mixed-use. This provides varied housing options for both middle and upper-end development. 

  • Create a new face for the Lagoon: Soften and Improve the current Flat-Face of a parking garage as the introduction to the islands

  • Create spaces for people to live & work: Help prevent mass exodus, Keep population healthy

  • Repair lost habitats: Wetlands surrounding the Tronchetto, Help with flooding and with environmental health


Our first goal was to create a new frontage for the city of Venice, and above you can see this goal envisioned. With the addition of a new park network, several new neighborhoods of mid-density housing, and updating transit we created an attractive and magnetic addition to the Venice Lagoon Fabric.
The first neighborhood’s morphology is featured here and consists of 4 story residential units. Four of these towers are arranged in conjunction with each other to create neighborhood courtyards, designed to feel intimate and enjoyable to the residents but also open and safe to all who pass through.
The plazas within the neighborhoods are designed to encourage a sense of community, with flexible open spaces and calming tree cover. Seen here is a live performer with a group of residents around the area, all gathered on a built-in flexible-stage for unique activities.
A small lounge space inside the units available to residents of the tower. YOu can see the space is perfect for looking out into the courtyards, as a parent watching their child for example. The sense of openness created is intentional, as it allows the need to hide or feel private to fade into the background until you reach your individual unit. This builds community and creates the sense of place.
The second neighborhood’s morphology consists of a mix of two to three story residential units which follow a similar design language as those similar to the surrounding islands of venice (such as Giudecca).
This image showcases the view from the third floor of one of the apartment buildings. These buildings are organized in a way to optimize views and lighting from both street level as well as views from each unit.
Large pathways which divide each parcel create these spacious boulevards for pedestrians to meander comfortably. Small piazzas throughout the housing grid become nodes within the community for gathering and recreation.

Urban Planning

  • Daniel Paul & Onel Santiago 

As the first thing visitors and residents alike see as they come into the Venice Lagoon by road or train, “Tronchetto A” should be a beacon of what the city represents and can be at its finest. Instead, they are currently faced with two large warehouses and a concrete parking garage on underdeveloped and vacant land. In order to reinvigorate the local economy while improving the “face of Venice,” Resurfacing Venice begins with a new neighbourhood in the lagoon dedicated to the residents of Venice that keep the city alive. The proposed program features a band of green residential infrastructure, with modern villas surrounded by community-building piazzas and streetscapes. As a barrier to the changing climate, the island will be surrounded by a new park system that rises above restored wetlands, helping to mitigate flooding to the rest of the lagoon. A central park and infrastructure hub at the corner of the island will become a new location for the community to gather and enjoy their deep-seated connection to the lagoon, as well as provide unobstructed views towards the mountains. This same park will also become the anchor that replaces the current parking garage as the first thing visitors see when arriving, imprinting them with the idyllic and romantic emotions that a city like Venice should invoke.

“Creating a new face for an already iconic but slowly failing city”



Our master plan to resurface Venice’s Tronchetto A visualized through a large scale axon. The main features are the distinctive neighborhoods, the surrounding wetlands/flood mitigation barriers, and the vast park network knitted throughout the site.
Viewed from a plan it becomes clear how much of the site, once barren of natural conditions entirely, has been designed to link into the park network. Even the vast parking garage is finished with a large natural rooftop park featuring small local restaurants and plazas, offering serene views of the rest of the lagoon.
The above highlights the newly introduced park networks along with the wetlands along the waterfront, and showcases the continuous linear path they create. A large keynote of our design was the remediation of natural habitats in the lagoon, mostly decimated by the cruising and tourism industries. We accomplish this through a series of “barrier islands” along the coast that create shallow habitats for life to regain a foothold along what is currently a concrete and sand desert.
In our attempts to spur economic growth in Venice beyond the tourism industry, we needed to first organize the site so that it can support this long term growth and restoration. We accomplished this through the careful planning of our program and reorganization of existing programs on the site. Shown in Green, for example, we condensed the fish markets and harbors once located on opposite ends of the site into a localized larger space, one where logistics can be simplified. Also shown here is the redesign of the parking garage (transportation amenities shown in purple) to be smaller in scale and dedicated to the residents of the new neighborhoods (shown in orange). A large strip of existing commercial and office space (blue) has also been reimagined to fit in with the context of the new vision.
Along with creating a new series of networks, shops, and markets Tronchetto A still required a reimagined circulatory system. The southern tip features the main ferry out to the islands (Lido) with a modernized terminal and traffic flow. Several automated buses move throughout the main looping road, stopping at the individual neighborhoods and shops along the way. In conjunction with the Venice water taxi system, we also added two additional stops for the “Vaporetto” on the island. The people mover, which is a direct line to the main transport hub of the lagoon, has also been extended deep into our site for convenience.
Given the size of the Tronchetto and the effect a development such as this can have on a city, we analyzed our anticipated population growth from the new neighborhoods, highlighted in orange. As shown above, the proposal features nearly 600 new high-end residential units, ranging from 800 to 1300 square feet. These units will have the capacity to house 3000 people, but will most likely average to around 2500 people. Additionally shown are the estimates of available new job opportunities from expanding the existing industries, including 750 in Office/commercial, 200 in market/harbor, and 50 in transportation.
In our efforts to create a new face for the lagoon the old infrastructure needed to be reimagined. Shown in red are the existing structures to be demolished in order to create economic growth through the new neighborhoods and commercial infrastructure.