Every year the company I work for takes everyone on a study trip. This time Venice was the chosen destination. Eighty-four of us assembled in the Italian city for a weekend of architecture and Aperol Spritzes.
Day one kicked off with a guided tour of The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, located in the San Polo district. We were taken up into the roof to view the impressive (from an engineers point of view…) ancient timber trusses dating back to the 13th century, as well as to the top of the bell tower to witness the views over a foggy Venice.
The Biennale de Veniza architectural festival was the the main reason for the weekend away. We spent the rest of Friday wandering around the Gardini – one of two locations for the event. Each country has an exhibition or pavilion based on their interpretation of this year’s theme for the festival, which was ‘freespace’. That night, there was dinner, drinks and singing at a restaurant on the island of Murano.
On Saturday morning we eventually found our way to the Arsenale – the second location for the Biennale. Split into smaller groups, we were given guided tours of the exhibitions within the Corderie – a 300 m long building originally used for rope making. There was some free time after to explore the rest of the Arenale. I found my home town in the Ireland exhibition and was seriously impressed by VTN Architect’s bamboo pavilion. A canal-side lunch the other side of the city, at Sivoli, brought the trip to a close.