TECHNOLOGICAL AND MATERIAL PROBLEMS OF VENICE
The publication presents the results of an analysis of the technological and material construction solutions of insular Venice, in addition to their destruction and securing methods. Corrosion is a natural process of the environment’s influence on materials, which produces chemical or physicochemical reactions causing damage to a given structure. The first materials to undergo destruction are those that are most susceptible to corrosion. The rate of the infliction of corrosive damage to multi-element structures depends on the type of the materials that are in contact with each other, on the manner of the joining of elements and other factors that are difficult to define. The publication presents the results of research regarding construction materials and technologies employed in Venice, the factors that threaten them and contemporary repair methods.
In order to prepare the publication, the author used a research method based on performing on-site visits, on-site material expertises, as well as the method of the critical analysis of available sources. A detailed identification of existing geological, biological and foundation conditions, employed construction materials and the reasons of their destruction was performed. The following construction materials were analysed: stone, timber, structural ceramics, metal, concrete. Their technical condition was evaluated. The factors affecting their destruction were defined and appropriate repair methods employing contemporary technologies were presented.
The results of the research indicate that the special canals called gatoli, which were built in the walls and underneath pavements in the sixteenth century in Venice, and which gathered and directed sewage from the area of the city and then towards the waters of the lagoon, are still present in Venice as a method of sewage removal. They are often damaged or are literally falling apart. They are not able to accommodate the large number of people who are currently residing in contemporary Venice. In addition, structures in which sewage is being directly deposited into canals, called sbocchi, are as old as the venetian foundations. Along with the appearance of new sanitary technologies, new forms of sewage processing have been developed. However, these changes, for technological reasons, have not been introduced simultaneously in the entire city, which is why the current system of sewage disposal is an incompatible combination of the old and new system and it still does not meet the city’s needs. A central sewage treatment plant was built in Porto Marghera in the 1980’s, but it is located far away from the main centre of Venice. Sewage is transported there and treated, but sewage from some areas is still being deposited straight into the canals. This state of affairs negatively impacts the technical condition of Venice, which is facing constant flooding. The identification of the construction materials used in Venice and their specifics in combination with the threats that have been presented allows us to select appropriate securing methods..
The ability to appropriately use contemporary achievements of construction technology in terms of conservation, repair and renovation work is the foundation of the preservation of cultural heritage. Paradoxically, difficult water and soil conditions which constitute the structural foundation of all buildings on the islands of the Venetian Lagoon have made it possible for them to survive to our time. The oldest preserved Venetian palaces are dated to the thirteenth century. We cannot allow such precious global heritage to be lost – heritage whose name is Venice..
Keywords: construction repair, corrosion of materials, biology.
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