Chapter 3 Architecture & Design
Venice's cultural elasticity has afforded architects, artists and designers the ability to explore new vocabularies of urban living, free from aesthetic or historical restrictions.
The template of a community, as that of a person, is defined by a series of factors that are determined by the environment that it rests upon. From the time of the building of Venice of America to the post-war years and the beat generation, the area's cultural elasticity, as architect Lorcan O'Herlihy suggests, has allowed the community to define itself for what it can be and not for what it has become. This temperament has afforded Venice the ability to remain new, young and current—as if in a perpetual creative state of adolescence -- and afforded architects, artists and designers the ability to explore new vocabularies of urban living, free from aesthetic or restrictions.
Working around many size and height constraints, a new generation of "Venetian" architects have come to the forefront of sustainable architecture by incorporating features such as reusable (prefab) materials, solar energy and water reclamation, and for being keenly aware of density as an urban paradigm affecting modern American cities today. All of these architects are descendants of a tradition of experimentation and audacity established by the likes of Frank Gehry and Brian Murphy, who designed Dennis Hopper's house and studio back in the 1980s. But with the drastic shift in property values and the clear danger of real-estate speculation in the area, one can't help but wonder if these multi-million dollar homes are changing the template of the area or simply affirming it.