Lighthouse Sea Hotel | Young Architects Competition
Independent Competition | Winter 2016
Collaborators: Glen Marquardt, Dino Vajraca
Location: Sicilian Coast, Italy

The Fresnel Art Sanctuary interprets and reclaims the historical functionality of a lighthouse as a regional focal point, as a mechanism which projects and broadcasts its presence upon the coast. The scheme takes geometric cues from the Fresnel Lens (present in the lighthouse of Murro di Porco), a volumetric manipulation through which a large lens is optimised to reduce spherical aberration. The proposal is composed as a collection of spaces organized around a central, ocular void, in reference to the circular singularity of the lighthouse itself. The public art functions aggregate in a central building, directly related to the existing lighthouse, while autonomous structures which house tourist accommodations, studios for resident artists, and communal amenities are scattered radially across the coastline. Through the radial and refractive organization of the site, visitor experiences are enhanced and framed in a similar way that a lighthouse does for light.

The program is imagined as a series of public art galleries in addition to private facilities for guests. The museum displays a collection of sculpture, painting, and photography related to the specific landscape and cultural history of Sicily’s unique and often dramatic coastline. A program of artists-in-residence rotate seasonally through the live/work studios, enabling them to internalize the landscape and creatively react to their experience of the coastline and lighthouse. Visitors of the hotel are offered shorter stays in smaller private villas, allowing them to engage with the landscape, history, and creative community of the sanctuary.

Neutral white concrete is envisioned as the primary material expression of the entire complex. The monolithic expression of a single material is in deference to the historical buildings of the area, and the traditions of coastal mediterranean architecture. A system of hollow structural steel frames provide structure, in addition to acting as visual frames in specific moments. Large glass panels allow the visitor to experience a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor experience, providing operability in the villas and studios.