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The Aperture of Art

In collaboration with Hadeel Ayed MohammadYasamin MayyasHana Makhamreh, and David Jimenez

Project entry awarded 3rd prize in the Young Architects Competitions' Art Prison Competition

bustler     |     CLAD

 

Art of Nature

From a fortress of solitude to a temple for contemplation transformed, the prison of Favignana is set within an unparalleled backdrop of natural beauty. It’s surrounding waters run endlessly into the horizon creating a sublime datum between earth and heaven. As the sun rises and sets each day, the sky is painted with a spectrum of vibrant hues unfiltered. Its effects are amplified by the pristine crispness of the Mediterranean. An awe-inspiring phenomenon of light and color dances across the vast landscape. It is a symphony for the senses that encompasses the whole island with allure. A moment of reflection is required to take in its splendor, but to experience it in its totality, one must rid oneself of all distractions. Nature takes its role on stage as the protagonist, while architecture remains as its supporting cast. The built environment aids in the framing of the natural, and its synergy create a narrative that guides the audience throughout. The fortress becomes an epicenter not just for the artworks within, but also for the art of the landscape and beyond.

To scale the pinnacle is to embark upon a journey of anticipation. The idea is not to reach one’s destination expeditiously, but instead it is about rediscovering the natural and artificial wonders that are embedded throughout this rich terrain. From the subtle striations of the Tuff stones to the mesmerizing panoramas, and ultimately to the artworks, there is a linear series of hints and motifs that teases and beckons the audience to appreciate and admire what the island has to offer. Through pathway extensions, and land-form augmentations, the beauty of nature is integrated within architectural typologies, and thus elevates the significance of both. What results is an odyssey that is not defined by a single moment, but instead by a crescendo from piano to forte. Art and architecture evolve to become an immersive experience that breaches the boundaries of a canvas to envelope our senses.

Art of Walkway

A lone pathway guides the audience from the commune of Favignana to the fortress. It is a solemn road that adheres to the terraced contours. As a hike without pause, one is compelled to promptly reach the top in order indulge on the apex. There are no designated moments to marvel at the contextual beauty of the surroundings... What is proposed then is a series of walkway platforms that extend out from the pivots as viewing markers. They act as points of reference allowing the travelers to rest and remark upon the journey ahead. Derived from the stones excavated for the art-scape hotel, each platform offers a different vantage point of the island and the waters below. There are rooms within each that provide shelter and gallery space, as well as a framed view of the landscape. They are limited in numbers in order to emphasize the surreal beauty of the scenes they generate. As one traverses from one landing to another, anticipation is built upon the process leading towards the climax.

Art of Landscape

Created from a military past, the fortress is built upon layers of terraced fortifications. Each band provides structural supports for the ones above. Their striations are a very distinct and prominent feature that defines the overall organization of the prison and walkway. As such, it is pertinent that any articulation of the terrain should respect and integrate with the existing conditions. The art-scape hotel comprises of a network of subterranean clusters that runs along the terraced base. Its organization is determined by the outline of the contours to allow for a simplicity of construction, and the mitigation of runoffs. Each unit has clean vistas of the breathtaking surroundings, while ample amounts of daylight are brought in through the light wells along the corridors. The design mimics the methodology of stone quarry excavation, and incorporates materials that are locally abundant. Similar to the art walkway, the focus of the design is to maximize the incredible presence of Favignana’s natural context; the architecture becomes muted in awe...

Art of Materials

The desire for silence can be translated as a space devoid of noise; noise that permeates past the audio and into the visual. In this sense, it is a fortress without clutter. Like a white box, bare and reclusive, it leaves nothing for the imagination. Reflection is praised upon the artistic endeavors within, and the natural beauty beyond. In this process, the fortress is stripped to its most basic essence; pure and untempered with. The existing materials are restored to reveal the simplicity of its structural antiquity. Any unnecessary materials that may distract the users’ desire for contemplation are removed. The only motifs left are frames that help to signify the focal points of spaces as well as to mitigate their transition. A bare enclosure becomes a canvas for which all things are possible. Whether it is an artist’s search of seclusion, or a client’s pursuit for inspiration, the fortress can offer relief to them both.

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