The Ritual of the Bricola

The bricola, the characteristic wooden piles that mark the change in channel depth and thus aid navigation in the Venice Lagoon, provided merit for investigation. This project explores the bricola, a structure that plays a fundamental role in the success of the City of Venice over millennia.

The bricola forms a key element which, along its axis, mediates both the human activities of the city and the processes of non-human species which live in the Lagoon. In this way each bricola can be seen as a micro-island, accommodating a system of interacting species. With multiple processes and species reliant on these oak piles, this project suggesting each bricola as an Axis Mundi, a central point of the World. This mythological concept describes a line connecting different cosmos levels and at the intersection rituals often occur.

The Ritual of the Bricola creates a new annual ritual that connects the bricole scattered across the Lagoon. A ritual to increase awareness of the implications of Venice as a functioning city and the repercussion of this society on its Lagoon. It is at this interface between the city and its fragile Lagoon that the proposal to encase the bricola sits, a space that promotes contemplation. A space to admire the work of both the non-human and human processes which sculpt the bricola, creating awareness and recalibration of our thinking towards the changing Lagoon environment and the ecosystem which it supports.