Keywords Change this

Installation, VAB

Project timeline

1979 – 1981



Location Change this


Also known as Change this

Teatro del Mondo

Architect Change this


Article last edited by Bostjan on
September 11th, 2020

The World Theater Change this

Venice, Italy
by Aldo Rossi Change this
1 of 8

Description Change this

Il Teatro del Mondo was built by Aldo Rossi for the Theater and Architecture” sections of the 1980 Venice Biennale, in conjunction with the exhibition Venice and the scenic space. Anchored at the Punta della Dogana, this ephemeral floating theater then sailed across the Adriatic to what was then Yugoslavia, visiting Dubrovnik among other ports that were part of the former Venetian colonies, after which it was dismantled. It was officially opened in Venice on the 11th of November, 1979, on the site opposite the Customs House. The idea of the Biennale was to recall the floating theatres which were so characteristic of Venice in the 18th century. The present scheme modified certain features of these theatres, while retaining the concept of building- cum-barque.

Constructed in the Fushina shipyards, the Theatre was towed across to Venice by tugboat. The building was erected over steel beams, welded together to form a raft. Its total height above the platform of the raft is 25m (82'). It consists of a cuboid 9.5 x 9.5 m (31' x 31') by 11m (36') in height, which supports an octagon 6m (20') high. The top of the cuboid gives access to a balcony with views of the Giudecca in San Marco's, almost on a level with the statue of fortune which stands on the Customs House. The tubular steel structure is paneled with wood, both inside and out.

Through his many drawings for the theater, Rossi analyzed and condensed the Venetian identity, its physical, geographic, architectural and mythical reality. This “singular” construction, as the architect described it, “draws its substance and its image from technology and history.” In it many references converge: primitive, proto-renaissance Florentine kiosks, renaissance theaters, Elizabethan theaters, lighthouse architecture and especially 18th century Venetian architecture, known for its floating structures built for Carnival (ephemeral stage sets inserted into the moving landscape of the city). Thus, it is the typology of the city that creates the scenario. And this mobile theater-boat became a fragment of the urban history, a quasi-metaphysical image tasked with representing Architecture. With a height of approximately 25 meters, comprised of a cube topped by an octagon, it is made of steel poles and a wood skin. Between physical object and image, large-scale model and drawing, this universal theater creates a blurred vision that makes it hard to read, representing the real in a kind of dreamlike meta-reality.

The Creator's Words

"On the subject of architecture, I have still a dream of great civil architecture; not the concordance of discords, but the city that is beautiful because of the wealth and variety it contains. I believe in the city of the future recomposed. In truth the recomposition does not seek a single, overall design but the liberty of a life of its own, a freedom of styles.A city that is free."


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