Saving Venice

Mike Echalaz
Monday 10 Mar 2008

Plan to raise the houses in Venice gets municipal backing

Raising the houses in Venice is an issue that has struck the collective imagination of its people since the first time the waters of the lagoon touched the ground floors of the houses. Since then, a lot of studies have been carried out and a lot of money has been spent on impossible attempts to roll out a solution to the flooding crisis. Through “Progetto Rialto” SOLES and MATTIOLI aim at restoring the houses in Venice to their original height with the foundations above the water level.

The process:
A building can be raised by preparing a platform at the ground level, suitable to distribute the building’s weight on a new system of foundations that can be done even with the use of the Soles® piles. By setting a hydraulic jacks system between the platform and the new foundations one can apply the force required to raise the whole building without jeopardising its integrity.

After the raising, the building reaches the desired height and at better static conditions because it has a new base structure, more rigid and stable compared to the previous one.

The stages
After having removed the floor (carrying out all the adjustments required in case it should be set back again) and after having carried out the excavations corresponding to the thickness of the platform, cleaning is carried out. After that, the pile heads are fixed into position with the drive pipe and anchorage, connected to the fixing harness for the consequent connection to the raising devices.

Once the mat foundation is ready and after having tight the post-tension cables, the piles’ steel core can be driven using a special machine anchored to the guide pipe, the heads can be pushed one by one penetrating into the ground with a force twice the one foreseen to raise the building.

Special care is to be taken to maintain the pile steel core free to move, through the platform solid guide pipe.

In this way, at the end of the procedure, steel pipes fixed into the new foundation and piles free to move through to the platform shall protrude from the top of the platform.

Each Soles® pile, to be used to support the raising, shall be driven using a force, one and a half-twice the theoretical calculated force after having evaluated the building. In this way, total safety for the building is guaranteed, both during the operations and at the end of the raising.


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