YAC - Art Prison Competition

Favignana / Italy / 2018

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1 Love 1,034 Visits Published

This project takes inspiration first and foremost by the incredible scenery offered by the Forte di Santa Caterina. Atop the highest peak of the island the castle looms above everything and everybody, an unescapable presence. The intention is to turn all that in a truly civic beacon for the people of Favignana.


Among other things the fort actually served the fishing community of the island as a beacon in one of its many historical iterations, but as it happened it was quite often shrouded by clouds rendering its function fruitless. This fact is suggestive of almost other worldly qualities, almost divine.


The visitor approaches the fort following a paved path along which (and on which) some of the art that is expecting him at the end of the ascent. This is configured as a sort of Corbusian ‘promenade architectural’, where art and scenery play the big roles. On arriving at the end of the walk the imposing cantilevering torus structure mediates between the visitor and the fort, revealing its mass step by step. A metaphorical moat that instead of water houses beauty and ingenuity as form of defence.


To enhance this sense of ‘purity’, solitude and fortitude we decided to paint the fort white. The gesture is also a play on the ‘white cube’ platitude that so very often is invoked whenever spaces for art are thought of. White tends to evoke a quiet sense of pristine, optimistic novelty with the undeniable advantage of shielding the structure under the scorching Mediterranean sun.


The large ring accommodates the exhibition spaces: an uninterrupted promenade around the peak and its castle that tries to offer an immersive experience of nature and culture. It is conceived as a modular space that can be configured and adapted according to necessity to host conferences, lectures, film screenings. The roof of the structure is a public and breathtaking space among the heavens, the wide blue yonder. The sensation is heightened by the cantilevered sections of the ring that soar from the rock and into the air. A bold, simple sweeping gesture that tries to make the most of the situation by offering undisturbed views of nature and art alike.


We thought of using the fort to accomodate a series of functions. We imagine the rooms that once were jails turning into comfortable hotel suites and artists’ studios, where work can be created in freedom and serenity. The interior of the fort is left structurally untouched. The use of color and materials such as terrazzo, ceramic and marble tiles helps breaking up the massive body of the castle into more ‘manageable’ surfaces. This operation allows the architecturally interesting components that are found inside the castle, such as vaults and staircases, to shine of their own light.

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    This project takes inspiration first and foremost by the incredible scenery offered by the Forte di Santa Caterina. Atop the highest peak of the island the castle looms above everything and everybody, an unescapable presence. The intention is to turn all that in a truly civic beacon for the people of Favignana. Among other things the fort actually served the fishing community of the island as a beacon in one of its many historical iterations, but as it happened it was quite often shrouded by...

    Project details
    • Year 2018
    • Work started in 2018
    • Work finished in 2018
    • Status Competition works
    • Type Pavilions / Hotel/Resorts / Tourist Facilities / Art Galleries / Exhibitions /Installations / Monuments / Recovery/Restoration of Historic Buildings
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