Venice: Amphibious Hotel

2018 Faculty Research Award

Award Period: 2018-2019

Professors of Architecture  Guy Nordenson and Paul Lewis are designing a studio course (ARC 503) in which students will design an “amphibious” hotel near Venice, Italy, that adapts to the region’s fluctuating land and sea level. The project provides a “softer” approach to massive engineering projects designed to protect Venice from the encroaching sea, specifically the MOSE (Experimental Electromechanical Module) project, which is a series of submerged mobile gates that cut the Venetian Lagoon off from the Adriatic Sea to prevent flooding. Students in the studio will explore and develop a 20-room, 10,000-square foot hotel — with boat docks — on the island of Torcello that is detached from the ground. The goal is provide for the emergence of a new kind of hotel that embraces the ground as part liquid and constantly in flux.

Educational Impacts

Students will work in teams of two on small, detailed aspects of the overall project. The studio will begin with short exercises that focus on aspects such as sustainable site design and construction of a single building section. Students will select existing hotels to redesign according to the goals of the project. The latter half of the semester will concentrate on the integration and development of the structure, skin, environment, program and site. Workshops will be held roughly every three weeks to critique and refine the project. Large-scale sectional drawings and models will be used throughout the semester. Students will travel to Venice during the semester break.

Participating Department


Professor of Architecture
Paul Lewis
Professor of Architecture