Design proposal for Young Architects Competitions
From design brief:
The lighthouse of Murro di Porco was once lived-in but then it was gradually abandoned with the arrival of modern technologies. As it became a simple lantern, a place no longer inhabited by humans, the lighthouse has progressively deteriorated as it often happens to many other coastal buildings. <…> It is a project of the Italian government to transform lighthouses into tourism and accommodation facilities. <…> How can we transform a lighthouse into an incomparable accomodation? How can we relate projects of contemporary architecture to such majestic and fragile ecosystems?
Purely utilitarian nature of lighthouses and site qualities around them usually dictate their austere appearance, which does not need additional decoration. For this reason, design proposal focuses on creating a landmark aside from lighthouse that will serve both as a hotel and a public structure that will attract more visitors.
Shape: Hotel is shaped like a quarter of a circle with a central point set at the center of the lighthouse tower. This orients all views on one side towards lighthouse, while the other provides panoramic sea views to hotel rooms.
Structure: Hotel volume is elevated at a height of 8 m above sea level and anchored to the rocks at several points. Landscape decks at both ends visually extend the hotel.
Circulation: Circulation of general public is organized in a closed loop from the lighthouse via the bridge. Hotel guests are directed to the hotel entry deck through reception building and a boardwalk. Shared public spaces (lighthouse, stage, art studio) combined with landscape work as a buffer around hotel.
Overall Plan Layout
New structure spans between rocky cliffs on the seashore, keeping respectful distance from the lighthouse. Curved shape in plan makes tower into the center of composition. Space frame structure accommodates hotel rooms, offering unparalleled experience to stay above the sea, at the edge where waves collide with cliffs. Accessible roof deck turns hotel into a public bridge over water. Visitors can observe the lighthouse from distance, or spot dolphins through stationary binoculars. Terraces under hotel provide dining and water sports facilities for hotel guests.
Public areas between lighthouse and hotel are open for general public as well as hotel guests. New construction is limited to an art studio and a restaurant at hotel reception. Art studio will host classes in various arts, or it can be rented out to artists to let them create in a very inspiring environment. A small parcel near site entrance is reserved for outdoor exhibitions.
An existing building adjacent to lighthouse is turned into preparation rooms for dancers and other performers. It has direct connection with a wooden stage for outdoor theatrical performances, music concerts or modern ballet shows. Lighthouse just by itself or combined with lighting projected on its walls becomes a unique backdrop.
Second existing building is refurbished into a reception building for the hotel. Original masonry is reinforced and preserved; new spaces are built within existing envelope, with the exception of restaurant with sea views, which is added on the southern side.
At last, lighthouse itself is turned into museum space. Interactive exhibits can educate visitors with information about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers. Special multimedia stands can be connected via Internet with other lighthouses in the area or around the world and show live feed from there.
According to overall boutique-style of a hotel, its miniature rooms are intended to be used for short-term stay. Floor-to-ceiling windows in both room and shower provide spectacular views of the sea. Wall-bed can be raised up to free up space for a hammock. SPD Smart Glass used in window system with adjustable transparency allows to control solar gain and room privacy.