The wooden foundations of the buildings in Venice

In the research CORILA - Veneto Region "Guidelines for the interventions of consolidation of foundations based in wooden poles" directed by prof. Biscontin University Ca 'Foscari was made in March 2012 a campaign of surveys at the site of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Venice.

The foundations of the buildings in Venice are based on a complex system composed of wood, water and soil.
The knowledge of the conservation status of the foundation is important to know the influence on the statics of the building and its overall stability.
The chemical, physical and biological conditions of the environment where the wood is inserted in principle are not favourable to a quick deterioration of its properties, because biodeterioration agents (like insects, fungi, sea organisms) are not present.
Nevertheless, after few centuries, the wood subjected to constant imbibition, in almost anoxia conditions, could be deteriorated by anaerobic bacteria.
There is a lack of scientific knowledge about the actual state of conservation of the foundations, being not true the legend telling that a wooden pole in the mud last forever.
By means of in-depth and accurate surveys, it has been possible to find the correlation between parameters which describe the entire system (wood, water and soil): this is fundamental to reckon the stability of Venetian buildings. 
This study has recognized some meaningful parameters for determining the material stability.
 
Research group:
 
Prof. Guido Biscontin, Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia, project manager.
Dott.ssa Francesca Izzo, Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia.
Dott. Nicola Macchioni, CNR-IVALSA di Firenze.
Dott. Benedetto Pizzo, CNR-IVALSA di Firenze.
Prof. Claudio Modena, Università di Padova.
Prof. Paolo Simonini, Università di Padova.
Ing. Alberto Lionello, Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici e Paesaggistici di Venezia e Laguna.
Ing. Adriano Ercole, INSULA SpA, Società per la manutenzione urbana del Comune di Venezia.
Arch. Michele Regini, INSULA SpA, Società per la manutenzione urbana del Comune di Venezia.
 
Executing company surveys: SPG Geotechnital Surveys, Adria (Rovigo, Italy).
 
Press release
 
"Il futuro del passato. Le antiche palafitte fanno il "check-up". Articolo sul Corriere della Sera - Speciale Veneto del 15 marzo 2012, di Giorgia Rozza