From the accurate reading of the territorial richness, the project Art Prison aims to give shape to the concept of hieratic solitude, of a poignant relationship with nature and purification through an architecture that goes back to its purest origins such as the point, the line and the surface.
“The Geometric Point is the highest and absolutely the only link between silence and speech.” “The Geometric Line is an invisible entity. And the trace of the moving point.”
“By Surface we mean the material surface destined to receive the content of the work.” Wassily Kandinsky
It was therefore important to start from a territorial analysis to identify these three elements. The strongholds, are elements rooted within the landscape of the island.These are legible as points in the territory. The streets and the topography of the landscape are the lines physically registered in the territory that define the limits and the formal structure of the anthropic and natural space. The space comprising and divided by these elements becomes the surface of relationships through which everything is put into a system.
The project then moved on to the definition of these elements on the architectural scale. Encouraged by the idea of seeing the island as a sacred enclosure where everything happens and inspired by the hypogean power of the tuff quarries as a refuge for hidden treasures, the path that leads to the castle was conceived as an open-airgallery. The path of“ purification” takes place in each of the five pavilions with the descent (line) to the sacred enclosure (surface) and then with the ascent (point) through a ladder-belvedere. These elements function as a reference point, attracting the observer’s gaze from a distance. Each pavilion is oriented in the landscape along geometric and visual lines and, thanks to the vertical element that emerges, take on the role of an element that sees and isseen.
From the idea of excavation of tuff quarries and sacred fence the ancient maps of Mediterranean cities that have dialogued with the soil through the excavation were studied.
These excavated places and by the many most common uses of the area were exploited by people all over the world and created environments protected from temperature fluctuations, such as shelters or living spaces and still today they fulfil their function. The hypogeums are at various levels and connect, internally, with wells and vertical ventilation devices.
What prompted you to enter in this specific competition? how does it relate to other work you have previously developed as a group or singularly?
The Idea of undertake this competition derives from our desire of collaboration on the active research in the field of contemporary architecture that has grown in us during the years of University. Participating at this competition would have given us the opportunity to exercise on the critical question in the built environment – How to deal with the enormous number of objects left in ruin by the time flow in our heritage.
The Santa Caterina fortress, in fact, has been silently forgotten over the pick of its isle after having protected and guard the Mediterranean see from all the threats during the ages.
It is hard to say what is the specific relation to this project with the one previous done. In general, we believe that designing is a constant research and process which never stop. In fact, we believe that there is a continuity within each project. Nevertheless, each specific condition is what essential for the project and needs to be taken into consideration since the very first stage of the design process.
What were your initial reactions to the brief? How did you start to develop concepts and ideas? What role did the drawing play within this initial phase?
Being the project involving different elements of the island, our first reaction to the brief was a close attention and reading of Favignana’s history and topography. In fact, before developing concepts and ideas we investigate the territory by conducting an analysis on its physical elements. Studying, the strongholds left by the passage of the greatest cultures beside the territory naturally set a path of investigation.
The drawings have been essential for the first phase because by Using sketches, we detect and distil these elements that afterwards we hierarchically structured for creating forms that synthesis the programme and the landscape.
What is your take on the relationship between art and architecture? is there de definite boundary?
Nowadays, in a “small” world in which architecture is often recognise by its architect’s name and therefore see as a piece of art, it is fundamental to take some time to reflect and remember that architecture is a discipline and therefore, it is relaying to other fields. For instance, in the natural structure of the landscape the five apogeal enclosures, likewise the ateliers use some elements present in nature such as light, proportion, perspective and the horizon to hierarchically structured, harmonized the geometries of the project in a sensorial path of hieratic ascension where the art finds its place.
In other words, the architecture is supporting the art by disposing elements that suspend the time and allowing the reflection, inspiration and observation.
The boundaries between art and architecture are, for us, blurred due to the symbiotic relationship of the two. However, if we consider architecture as support for life we than realize that when we find our self in front of a pyramid we than became suddenly serious because, we know that there, someone is buried.
What was your work process in terms of research and acquaintance with site? Was this done through first hand site visits or through virtual walkthroughs via google earth?
The site has been one of the starting point of our research. A research carried through a topography analysis. In fact, adopting the landscape as a point of reference we tried to give shape to the concepts that naturally where express by the island to irrevocably building a new continuity with nature and the past.
Due to the impossibility of a visit, through Images and visual walk throughs we move along the territory, discovering the elements that characterize the unicity of the island.
We instantly have been triggered by the powerful hora of the stuff quarries, the natural terraces which the man over the century used andthe presence of stronghold, witnessed of vertical stratification left by the passage of some of the greatest culture.
What defined the selection of drawings and language of representation through which you choose to explore your submission?
Several methods of representation have been chosen to better explain the project: while the plans and sections drawing were perceived as almost as diagrams that wanted to show the clear ideas that referred to ancient map of Mediterranean cities that have dialogued with the soil through the excavation, the schemes highlight the relation between the elements detected thorough the topographical analysis and typological, spatial principles and value. Whereas, the vistas, being iconic central perspective, recall the timeless renaissance images that used central perspectives for the study of proportion and modules.
Overall, the language we used wanted to enhance the relationship between nature, art and architecture. Therefore, we tried to capture the colours and material of Favignana in the clearest way, to underline our desire for integration between design and nature by referring to the idea “I trace and paint just what I see” of Leonardo da Vinci that has been the precursor of the En plein air painting.
What is your take on the role and mission of architecture competitions as this of YAC?
How does the format of the competition influence how you choose to format and explore your work?
YAC is an active organism that is contributing on the research in the field of contemporary architecture. It is involving student, recent graduates and professionals, therefore is a platform of exchanging ideas and investigation of contemporary themes. Moreover, the jury is always composed by talented and experienced firms which have a critique eye on the works.
Consequently, by having attended this competition we enriched our vision and skills due to the brief and the fact that was the first open competition undertake by CT-3 Studio.