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Solana: architecture / ecoMachines / landscape / waterMay 27, 2016

Montenegro Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2016
 
Solana Open Aviary by ecoLogicStudio, is currently on show in the Montenegro Pavilion at the Venice Architectural Biennale 2016 and it proposes to redevelop the artificial territory formerly occupied by the salt production plant near Ulcinj into an augmented ornithological park where it will be possible to study, experience and affect the co-evolution of humans and birds. 
Solana Open Aviary is part of the larger project for Solana Ulcinj proposed by the commissioner Dijana Vucinic together with the curators Bart Lootsma and Katharina Weinberger.
In the words of the curators:
‘With a surface of 14,9 km2 Solana is one of the largest saline of the Mediterranean region. It is of local, national and international importance. The saline is a completely man-made, artificial landscape founded in the nineteen twenties, which turned into a biotope of global importance. It is a landscape with a high cultural value and hosts a unique biodiversity in flora and fauna. 250 of the 500 bird species that can be found in Europe, among which the Greater Flamingo and the rare Dalmatian Pelican come to the Solana Ulcinj for longer or shorter periods per year. It is an important resting place for protected bird species on the Adriatic flyway from northern Europe to Asia and Africa and vice versa and a breeding place for others. As the saline is out of use since 2012, it is crucial to develop new plans for the future of the saline, which are ecologically and economically sustainable. The Project Solana Ulcinj for the Venice Architectural Biennale 2016 takes the challenge to come up with new proposals how to save the important ecological position of the Solana Ulcinj and the unique cultural qualities of the landscape, while at the same time enabling and regulating economic interests in the area.’
 
ecoLogicStudio proposal for this site spurs from the realization that a disconnection between urban development and the understanding of the local landscape is taking place on the proposed site with evident negative repercussions on both realms. As a consequence, the design has developed a catalogue of proto-gardens called Open Aviaries, pilot projects devoted to stimulate reconnection and intensify co-action between socio-economic groups and their immediate surrounding landscape. 

Open Aviary is the key design concept for the project supported by the possibility to digitally manage global migratory fluxes of birds to promote the emergence of a new concept of natural reserve, a boundless, open and networked man-made ecosystem. Along this line of thinking the project Solana Open Aviary proposes to redevelop the artificial territory formerly occupied by the salt production plant near Ulcinj into what would be the world's first Open Aviary, an augmented ornithological park where to study, experience and affect the co-evolution of humans and birds. 

 
On the site of Solana Ulcinj an Open Aviary will be quite literally an aviary without a net, where birds and humans explore close interaction without being forcefully enclosed in a confined envelope; this is made possible by digital bird tracking technologies, hi-resolution satellite earth monitoring and robotically driven land sculpting.
The integrated design of digital technologies and landscape ecology confers to the word "Open" multiple meanings, both in the physical and virtual realms: "open" source ornithological database, "open" networks of migratory sites, open systems habitat.
This is the key design concept for the project to promote the emergence of a new kind of natural reserve: a boundless, open and networked man-made ecosystem. The project embraces the implications of its concept at all scales, from the intercontinental to the molecular. The tree main levels are: 
The Inter-Continental: this scale is represented a bio-political simulation at the inter-continental scale describing how habitats scattered in many different countries and regions are in fact part of a single project when it comes to preserving the global birds’ population and their complex migrating behaviours.
The Regional: this scale is represented by a satellite enabled survey at the regional scale, in partnership with the European Space Agency.  Through the eye of Sentinel2, ESA's new hi-res earth monitoring satellite, open aviary embodies never seen before detailed scanning of biochemical processes on the ground and water, revealing a landscape that is inextricably the product of the combined action of human agency and technology with local biological life.
The Material tectonic: this is actualized by a robotically fabricated artificial landscape that envisions a new life for the saline and its infrastructure in the bio-digital age. Using local material, such as the unique black clay mud and the salt crystals, an open process of natural mineral accretion is accelerated and articulated to evolve an highly differentiated landscape capable of attracting a wider variety of bird species present in the region and accommodate multiple architectural programs, from research, to sport-leisure and healthcare. 
To articulate these 3 levels of the project ecoLogicStudio has collaborated very closely with the main research partners. The collaboration of ecoLogicStudio with the Urban Morphogenesis Lab in the Bartlett UCL and with Aarhus School of Architecture consisted in interfacing with ESA (European Space Agency) in Rome to define a workflow that enabled us to design with near real time data from their new Sentinel2 Satellite. 
The exhibition in Palazzo Malipiero in Venice is articulated in a series of five components:
_Solana Open Aviary_Movie.
The narrative of the movie discusses the cross scalar approach of the project:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeSJkUDYoFY
 
_ Solana Open Aviary _ NDWI, Normalized difference Water Index operational field. 
The plan covers an area of 25x25km at a resolution of 10m and is plotted at a scale of 1:20000.
It is based on Level1 data from the ESA Sentinel2 Satellite. This operational field affords to engage the territory in terms of degrees of wetness and it is based on the possibility to algorithmically compute the difference in reflectivity of ground materials that possess a different water content. The last band of the visible red and the first in the infra-red zone are subtracted and normalized to obtain the values plotted here. The wettest zones are rendered in purple while the driest zones are rendered in dark green. 
 
_Solana Open Aviary _ Habitat gradients operational field. 
The plan covers an area of 25x25km at a resolution of 10m and is plotted at a scale of 1:20000. It is based on Level1 data from the ESA Sentinel2 Satellite. This operational field affords to engage the territory in terms of degrees of vegetation density and chlorophyll content and it is based on the possibility to algorithmically compute the difference in reflectivity of ground materials that possess a different chlorophyll content. This is made possible by the multiple sensors available on the Sentinel2 in the near infra-red spectrum. The densest zones are rendered in purple while the sparsest zones are rendered in green. Birds' habitats are redescribed as finely articulated gradients of transition and difference.
 
_Solana Open Aviary _ Plan.
The Plan is covering an area of 10 x 5km plotted at a scale of 1:4000. The 4 vertical bands deploy specific computational design techniques to articulate the 4 operational fields of the project Solana Open Aviary. Each band resonates with and amplifies the Level1 information provided in near real-time by the ESA Satellite - Sentinel2. This matrix of data is rendered at a resolution of 10m and can be seen in the size of image pixel. The 4 bands propose to envision the Salina as: 1. A network of transportation infrastructures (water, energy, vehicular and pedestrian traffic) operating on a specific ground morphology. 2. A bundle of airborne birds' trajectories connecting local feeding, nesting and resting habitats. This operates in response to the infrared scanning of the territory revealing vegetation density and related chlorophyll concentration on the ground. 3. A layered substratum of mineral accretions, the resulting intensification of the turbulent flows of brackish waters and the seasonal cycles of evaporation and rain. 4. Clusters of architectural prototypes casted upon a high-resolution true colour satellite map of the region. Each prototype hybridizes multiple architectural programs including research, education, sport-leisure and healthcare. The five main prototypes are: Bird Therapy, Ornitological Campus, Micro-biological Spa, Bio-catalytic Power station, Birdwatching Network.
 
_Solana Open Aviary_Model.
The Model renders the material and morphological articulation of one prototype Cluster as described in the Solana Open Aviary plan. It represents a typical cluster at a scale of 1:100 and with the 3 main proposed new bands: 1. A network of transportation infrastructures: water, energy, vehicular and pedestrian traffic (laser cut acrylic). 2. Aerial architectures conceived as the materialization in space and time of the birds' trajectories and their varied behavioural patterns (Nylon 3d printed morphologies). In time as the natural crystallization of local salts and minerals progresses the bundles become more and more solidified into bio-rock formations. 3. Layered landscapes of mineral accretions and black medicinal muds (Nylon 3d printed ground morphologies lacquered) This robotically articulated and highly differentiated landscape of inhabitable nesting structures is seen as capable of attracting a wider variety of bird species while simultaneously accommodating multiple architectural programs.
 
 
FULL CATALOGUE of the Montenegro Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2016 can be downloaded here:
 
http://streaming.uibk.ac.at/medien/c822/c82231/EU/Catalogue-Biennale.pdf
 
Project Credits:
ecoLogicStudio [lead architect]
Design Team: Marco Poletto, Claudia Pasquero, Terezia Greskova, Vlad Daraban.
 
Urban Morphogenesis Lab at the Bartlett UCL [research partner]
The research supporting this project has received funding from the Architecture Projects Fund
Research Team: Claudia Pasquero, Maj Plemenitas, Stuart Maggs.
 
Arkitectskolen Aarhus [research partner]
The research supporting this project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013.
Lead Researcher: Marco Poletto.
 
The project contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2016; Support to Copernicus satellite data access and processing, provided by ESA's Research and Service Support service.
 
Solana Open Aviary is part of the Solana Project curated by Bart Lootsma and Katharina Weinberger for the Montenegro Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2016 and commissioned by Dijana Vucinic on behalf of the Montenegro Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism.
 
 
Video Edited by Ivan Litvinenko and Hakan Yarman

Solana Open Aviary | Monetengro Pavillion Venice Biennale 2016
Solana Open Aviary_Model exhibition video