175. In a national competition held twenty years earlier in 1934, fifty-four designs had been submitted, but all were rejected, and in the end the Amministrazione Ferroviaria substituted its own less adventurous project.46 Set back from the Grand Canal, and raised high on a broad flight of steps, the building makes no concessions to the scale, style or siting of those around it. But with its clean horizontals and informal asymmetry, the long white facade asserts its streamlined modernity, while the prospect that it offers to visitors to Venice from the portico at the top of the steps is breathtaking and unforgettable 175 Stazione di Santa Lucia, project by the Amministrazione Ferroviario, 1954 In the same year a new office block for the electricity company, the Societa Adriatica di Elettricita, was begun on the banks of the Rio Nuovo fig. 176. 47 The architects of this building, Angelo Scattolin and Luigi Vetti, took over the approximate scale and rhythm of the bays from Venetian architectural convention; but what one might call the ‘interna- tional post-War office block style’, even when reduced to three storeys, fits uneasily into the context of Venice as a whole. Even the rigidity of steel-frame and reinforced concrete construction is problematic on the unstable Venetian terrain. None the less, the Rio Nuovo area was undergoing large-scale development, making this an ideal site for the intro- duction of new architectural language. The fate of architecture in post-war Venice, as elsewhere, seems to indicate that public bodies, and those with wealth and influence, were less seriously restricted by planning controls than ordinary private indi- viduals.


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