UC Students Display Work Alongside Famous Venice Architecture Festival In Italy

May 14, 2018

Some UC students and faculty are in Venice, Italy, this week installing their own architectural piece alongside the 16th International Architecture Exhibition.

The piece is called "Alchemy."

Graduate student Andrew Scott Campbell says it's made with reclaimed materials from around Cincinnati, and is meant to reflect the city to those who walk through it. "I would hope they get a sense of the city, but also a sense of the age and workmanship of some of what they're walking through and shared history that we have with the materials."

“Alchemy” as seen during its previous installation. Special crates were made to ship the architecture project to Italy.
Credit Provided / University of Cincinnati

Materials include salvaged Rookwood tiles and reclaimed wood from a 150-year-old Cincinnati church. Indiana limestone makes up a map of Cincinnati's 52 neighborhoods. That's paired with single-word descriptions of the communities. Visitors can use their smartphones to view videos and images of Cincinnati that correspond to specific parts of the exhibit.

Campbell says he's learned a lot from the hands-on approach the team used to create "Alchemy." "Experimenting with materials, connections, and finishes... it's all the different kinds of approaches to design and building and there's a lot to be learned from that."

It also includes materials meant to draw connections between Cincinnati and Venice, like Formica. "Formica is incredibly popular in Venice. They call it 'FORM-ih-cuh' so I'm told," Campbell says with a laugh. "We're reapproaching the context by which you will experience it and who will be experiencing it in Venice."

Indiana limestone makes up the Cincinnati-shaped floor of "Alchemy."
Credit Provided / University of Cincinnati

The piece has won several awards. It was originally conceived to depict connections between Cincinnati and Columbus, Indiana.

A half-million people are expected during the show's six-month run.