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Venice in Peril: the 31st symposium. (View).

Venice, a city so beautiful and haunting, inhabits the imagination of most who visit her. A time-share in the dream has inspired hundreds of organizations to devote themselves to her preservation and enhancement. Venice in Peril, the English charity, was generated by the worst-ever flood there in November 1966.

With an impressive record of monumental preservation and restoration behind it, the charity's latest project, the 3 1st, is of a different order. Domestic, family-oriented, it is the brainchild (15 years in gestation) of a woman, Sheila Hale, author of the American Express guide to Venice. In the San Giobbe area, by the Ponte di Tre Archi, it is an ordinary house, derelict now, opposite the old slaughterhouse on the north-eastern skirts of the city. Four families of 'ordinary Venetians', thousands of whom have given up and gone to live on the mainland, will eventually be able to live in it, paying a subsidized rent and selected from the City's housing list. Their perfectly restored apartments using techniques and materials peculiarly suited to the age and character of the house - plus communal use of a shady back garden - are intended to be models of public housing: exemplary alternatives to casual demolition and wholesale rehousing.

The two architects selected, Leo Schubert and Frank Becker, have been lined up with their plans for five years. At this October's city planning meeting they hope at last to get the go-ahead. Schubert and Becker, with their intimate knowledge of the house, their experience of traditional building methods, their research into hinges that cope with sloping floors, lime washes and plasters that adapt to elderly walls, pipework and plumbing at ease with frail structures, seem as keen on the protect as when they took it on five years ago.
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Author:Kee, Cynthia
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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