first prize in the Matterbetter international competition

The third scale of the lighthouse.

 The proposed design is based on the idea that the lighthouse is an architectural archetype, that is defined over time by crossing two distant scales: the territory and the building. At the territorial scale it marks its presence through its height, colors and light. At the architectural level, it is a structure, the apotheosis of a column, which carries the light to the sky, whose interior is converted in a shelter for the lighthouse watcher.

Unfortunately, in the clash of these distant domains, the intermediate scale, that relates to the direct context of the building is missing. This is why the cylindrical shape of the lighthouse presents a certain indifference to the site. This omission is the reason why the relationship between structure, light and space seems immutable.

Thus in order to investigate a new typology of the lighthouse, it is necessary to question the architectural object, defined by the fixed relationship structure/light/space. That can be achieved by introducing the third scale, that of the physical context and memory.

The dispersed lighthouse.

To introduce the intermediate scale, the lighthouse structure is “dispersed” on the slope. The relationship between the physical context and the project is then established through the distance between the vertical elements. As the ground subsides, they become gradually longer, thus to prevent the buckling, the structure has to be densified. Consequently the structural density becomes a reading instrument for the topographic complexity of the site.

Between the pillars, there is a suspended, wheelchair-accessible, footbridge, drawn as extensions of existing trails, offering a new perspective on the landscape. It transforms the old introverted lighthouse concept into a public space that democratizes its experience. Finally, thanks to the air walkway, the general transparency and structural lightness, the design borrows from the lighthouse-archetype its ability to connect elements of air, land and sea.

From lighthouse to lightscape.

To maintain stability, the pillars are systematically interconnected with horizontal panels that light up during the night and create a dense, luminous cloud. This way, unlike the traditional lighthouse, a harmony between light and structure is established, so that they become inseparable.

Since this new lightscape seems chaotic, it evokes the image of a city by night, emphasizing the public nature of the space. Moreover, the new design is inspired by the day/night antinomy typical of the traditional lighthouse. During the day its striped shadow passes through the landscape as if it was “scanning” it, while during the night the perception of the lightscape changes according to the viewers position.


Finally, since all of these horizontal panels (1000 m2) have integrated photovoltaic cells, the lightscape becomes a seamlessly integrated, completely sustainable, layer of the landscape.


AUTHORS :International team of young architects working in Spain :
- Andrzej Gwizdala from Poland
- Adrien Mans from Belgium

31..2015      Autore: Redazione