YAC announces the winners of Art Prison competition

YAC – Young Architects Competitions and the Municipality of Favignana announce the winners of Art Prison, an ideas competition that was launched last January in cooperation with the Italian Government and aimed to the repurposing the breathtaking fortress of a scattered island in Southern Sicily.

Here we are at the end of one of the most important projects we have ever led in our region and this is a great satisfaction for us. We launched this competition because we wanted to open ourselves towards an international audience looking for creativity in order to get to an enlightening vision that might develop new architectural solutions for a reuse and re-harmonization of the fortress. I believe we succeeded in this challenge and that the winner proposals provide smart solutions in full respect of the requirements given. I sincerely congratulate with all contestants for their several and their high-quality ideas” – says Giuseppe Pagoto, the mayor of Favignana and member of the internationally-renowned jury that assessed the projects submitted. The jury committee featured also Daniel Libeskind, João Luís Carrilho da Graça, Manuel Aires Mateus, Felix Perasso (Snohetta), Emanuele Montibeller (Arte Sella).

There was a total cash prize of € 20,000 to reward to the winner projects: the 1st prize of € 10,000 has been awarded to the Italian team “Simposio”, the 2nd prize of € 4,000 to the Brazilian team “in situ” and the 3rd prize of € 2,000 to team “MJHM” from the US. The 4 Gold Mentions of € 1,000 each have been assigned to teams “Llobregat Asatrián” (Spain), “MaMe” (Italy), “a3m” (Ireland) e “PT” (Thailandia). Additional 10 Honorable Mentions and 30 Finalist Mentions follow up as completion of this huge and international podium.

Below we present the description of the winning project:

“Simposio” (Italy)
Davide Natarelli, Federico Bettazzi, Chiara Davino, Tomás Seveso, Eleonora Valle

”The tectonic nature of the new cultural hub illustrates the insertion of the project in the landscape and the topography of the naturalistic context of the Favignana fortress, as its main peculiarity. The new design highlights and articulates the way the fortress grafts into the rock.The spatial narration of the project, on a wider scale, holds together natural and architectonic elements, such as the two slopes that overlook each other and the fortress, the existing path and the new volumes. It elects the stronghold as a fulcrum and turns the landscape from a simple background into the key player. The design strategy is structured on three main actions: the extension and the reinterpretation of the existing path’s trace; the strengthening of the old walls’ footprint through a new platform space; the graft of panoramic points of view and squares in the greatest landscape’s points. The marked trace of the preexisting path is a fundamental inspiration for the morphology of the new one. It works as a crack, which structures a big cultural and panoramic basin connecting different spots of the landscape. Starting from the site’s orography, the path is organized in a sequence of visually connected spaces. The exhibition itinerary ties together the ancient and the new in a unique design; the journey, in a climax, leads up to the great open-air theatre oriented towards the fortress, allowing for a new perspective on the landmark.

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In the fortress’ interiors the intervention is organized in three main interlinking thematic cores: the permanent exhibition and the house-ateliers for artists, the suites and the wellness area, the lounge bar. The internal paths guarantee both levels of privacy and the complete fruition of the structure. The original idea of each intervention lies in the expansion of the previous space to better welcome new functions and point out the potential of the preexistence. For instance the exhibition space has been excavated and the suites and the wellness area have doubled their height. The lounge bar, instead, links to the fortress’ terraces. The historical palimpsest is highlighted through the specificity of each operation. The new volumes’ grafting (the restaurant and the rooms for short stays), according to the fortress morphology, is characterized by the same, tight connection between architectural bodies and ground, where the twentieth-century volumes are treated differently, becoming abstract objects according to the new functions. The new platform of contemporary art is a continuous gallery that crosses ancient and novel spaces, indoor and open-air environments, in a unitary drawing at a landscape’s scale, allowing an all-absorbing fruition of the area.”

All winning projects are available at >  www.youngarchitectscompetitions.com

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