An international ideas contest has been launched to transform the ruined Santa Caterina Fortress into a cultural centre for Favignana, Italy
Open to teams featuring at least one member under 35, the competition seeks innovative proposals to convert the Mediterranean island’s former prison into a landmark centre for art production and tourism.
The ’Art Prison’ project – backed by Young Architects Competitions, the Municipality of Favignana and the Italian Governmen – aims to create a globally recognised hub for art and culture on the small island off the west coast of Sicily.
According to the brief: ‘This is a competition in collaboration with the Municipality of Favignana aiming at making the most of a remarkable context in order to transform Santa Caterina Fortress into one of the most suggestive centres of contemporary art of the Mediterranean.
‘It will have to be a sublime place of encounter, culture and creative research where artists will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy in an untouched place. The latter will be the perfect context to inspire artists’ imagination and make them express the real essence of their inner self.’
Favignana is a small island of around 4,300 inhabitants located around 18km west of Sicily in the Mediterranean sea. The settlement was formerly a major centre of tuna fishing but is now a popular international tourism destination.
The Santa Caterina Fortress is located in a small mountain range in the centre of the island. The fortress was first constructed as a Saracen watchtower and later rebuilt during a Norman occupation of the island and further modified during the Bourbon domination.
Santa Caterina Fortress in Favignana, Italy
The latest project aims to transform the ruin into a new art space providing quiet reflective spaces for both artists and visitors. Proposals should take account of the dramatic site and its natural setting, promote the social and economic revival of the island, and reflect Favignana’s history.
Concepts must include a 1.5km pedestrian route featuring artworks leading visitors to the site, an affordable hotel space within the fortress, several luxury hotel suites, artist studios, a cultural centre and a restaurant.
Designs may be up to 4m tall and may occupy up to 3,000m² within the fortress but should avoid any demolition of the existing structure. Judges include Daniel Libeskind of Studio Libeskind, Felix Perasso of Snøhetta, and Giuseppe Pagoto from the Municipality of Favignana.
The overall winner, to be announced on 30 April, will receive around £8,900, while a second prize of £1,700 and four gold mentions worth approximately £890 each will also be awarded.
The registration deadline is 8 April and submissions must be completed by 11 April.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information