Aquatecture: Architecture and Water by Anthony Wylson

By Anthony Wylson

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I n r e c e n t y e a r s , m a n y of t h e cellars h a v e b e e n c o n v e r t e d into speciality s h o p s a n d r e s t a u r a n t s , u s i n g t h e l o w e r level as a w a t e r s i d e t e r r a c e . S e c t i o n s of N i e u w G r a c h t p a s s t h r o u g h q u i e t r e s i d e n t i a l a r e a s , c r e a t i n g a n e l e g a n t c o r r i d o r s p a c e . T h e s u n k e n c a n a l , a c c e s s i b l e by s t a i r s from t h e streets a n d visible from t h e m a n y b r i d g e s , p r o v i d e s p a c e s p r o t e c t e d by r e t a i n i n g walls a n d s c r e e n e d b y trees a n d b a l u s t r a d e s .

D u r i n g t h e e a r l y fifteenth c e n t u r y V e n i c e r e a c h e d a p e a k in m a r i t i m e c a p a b i l i t i e s w i t h 3,900 b o a t s , 300 w a r s h i p s , 17,000 sailors a n d 6,000 m e n Venice 39 w o r k i n g in t h e A r s e n a l . T h i s s u p r e m a c y w a s affected by t h e o p e n i n g of t h e C a p e r o u t e a n d V e n i c e w a s forced t o c h a n g e its function from b e i n g t h e i n s t r u m e n t of t r a d e to p r o v i d i n g for g o o d s in t r a n s i t to i n l a n d m a r k e t s .

21 Utrecht: two-level quay on Oude Gracht. In the fourteenth drainage century of the marshes reduced the water level. New quays and wharves were built, and the vaulted cellars the canal houses were underneath the roadway. are now utilised providing The as cafés and a canalside of extended cellars shops, amenity away from street traffic. C o u r t e s y o f t h e author. t h e v a r i e t y in a p p e a r a c e of i n d i v i d u a l b u i l d i n g s w i t h i n a t e r r a c e . W h e r e a s t h e t o w n s of Z e e l a n d w e r e treeless d u e to t h e p r o x i m i t y of t h e sea, c a n a l s in r e c l a i m e d m a r s h l a n d t o w n s w e r e lined w i t h t r e e s .

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