Client: Young Architects Competitions
Locations: Siracusa, Italy
This is not a building, it is an experience.
The overall concept of the project is of minimum impact on the land. That is why the path is always elevated from the ground, if only for ten centimetres, and the path itself becomes volumes, underneath it, where program is needed. Everything, path, volumes, platforms in the sea, are floating above land and sea.
Existing and new functions are connected by the promenade. The existing buildings and the lighthouse host all the offices and reception halls for the hotel, the sport and spa centre and for the exhibition space. Along the path the visitors experiences different moments thanks not only to benches, stairs, ramps and visual connections, but also to different functions as hotel, spa, restaurant, sport centre and exhibition space. Within each function the user experiences different moments: some rooms of hotel and spa are suspended on the cliff and perspective views are guarantee to appreciate the beauty of the landscape.
Shape of the path
Approaching the site nothing is noticed except for the lighthouse. This is the most important and preserved element, nothing is higher than it and everything rotates around it. It would have been possible to realize one linear path from the lighthouse to the sea, but this would not allow the experience of different moments and the lighthouse would have been the starting point and not the centre of the project. The lighthouse is tangible memory in the territory and metaphor of the Italian tradition. That is why the promenade is a curved infinite loop, that always come back.
The shape of the path is given by a reflection on number three. This number is not casual. Three are the natural elements in the site, the vegetation, the cliff and the sea. Three are the “layers” in the site, the sky, to where the lighthouse looks at, the land where tradition and people stay, and the sea, from where cultural influences come from. Sicilian tradition comes from ancient Romans, Greeks and Arabs. Romans represent the social heritage, Greeks the cultural heritage and Arabs the interactive heritage. So, the three loops point in the direction of origin of the Sicilian history. Programs are combined in three groups as well: spa and hotel are focused on the person (social – Romans), restaurant and sport are for interaction between people (interactive – Arabs), exhibition space is for culture (cultural heritage – Greeks).
From the sustainability point of view, the project aims to have less impact on the territory as possible, both in terms of material and energy consumption, and in terms of visual experience of the project in the site.
The site is accessible by pedestrians and cycles. Cars are left at the entrance of the site, provided with parking lot. The experience of the landscape and the promenade take place walking or cycling.
Sustainability is expressed by materials. The path is made of a light steel structure covered with corten and wood. The volumes underneath the path are realized with the X-Lam system in wood, to ensure reversibility of the project and isolation. They are suspended between the ground and the path to ensure natural ventilation refresh the interior space. Moreover the volumes are moved backward with respect to the edge of the path above, when facing south or south east and west, for natural shading.
For energy sustainability, solar panels are provided all along the path for electricity and warm water supply. Solar panels, that produce electric energy by walking on them, are placed on the path in proximity of an activity, such as restaurant and exhibition space.
A system of water collection is provided with tanks distributed all along underneath the path.