45°22'55.0"N 12°19'52.0"E Poveglia University Island



Type: Competition / Date: 2016 / Location: Venice, Italy  / Project Team: Yuda Huo; Xiru Chen; Naiji Jiao; Mo Liu


The island of Poveglia was once a defensive fort built to protect the Venetian lagoon, but has been abandoned for almost half a century. Filled with eerie tales, Poveglia is now a derelict island disconnected from the mainland. The aim of this project is to bring this forgotten place into the embrace of the Venetian lagoon once again, reestablishing its place among the islands as a dynamic and vibrant university campus as well as a destination for local communities and tourists. Through its embrace of history and culture while looking forward to the future, "One Poveglia" seeks to become a landmark that celebrates the its origin, while instilling a sense of belonging, and providing a memorable academic experience.


The campus is organized by the geometric pattern composed of the fundamental shapes of square, circle, and triangle. The patterns are symbiotic in which the spaces defined by the geometry are connected at different levels of scale; user, circulation, public space, and campus scale. Architecture are also defined by the geometric pattern, and are thus integrated into the landscape. Historical monuments and contemporary elements are also connected because of this, delineating a transition from cultural heritage to contemporary modernity.

A variety of materials placed within the geometric pattern further enhances the campus visually and functionally. From paving to planting, the mosaic of materials covers the earth with the elegance of traditional textiles from Venice. The entire campus is connected by this geometry, where the outlines of the identifiable shapes are the veins that carry people throughout the space.

Nothing can be more integral in bridging the dialogue between ancient and contemporary art than the three most basic geometric shapes of square, circle, and triangle. These three shapes are not only found throughout the entire universe at both the micro and macro level, they are also  fundamental in creating  visual messages that transcends human history. From the earliest cave drawings to written languages and mathematics, these geometric forms are key to building the civilization as we all know today.

It is not until the renaissance period in Italy that the fascination for mathematics, geometry, and the human body has reached a pinnacle. With inspirations from Leonardo Da Vinci and Bruno Munari, and in particular the Vitruvian Man; where the profound connection between the human body and geometry was found, we wish to further explore the relation between geometry, the human body, as well as the built environment built for the human community. We want to use the tools of the past to reshape the world of the new; such that with basic geometries, we can rethink the human environment of the contemporary world at each level of scale and intimacy.

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