An open international design contest has been launched to convert a disused barn into a new meditation retreat in Vidzeme, eastern Latvia
Open to everyone and organised by Bee Breeders – the anonymous competition seeks ‘eco-friendly and cost-effective’ proposals for a new guest house for wellness enthusiasts inside an abandoned and partially demolished former sawmill straddling a small river.
Backed by SRED property developers – the project will deliver temporary accommodation for up to 20 guests, permanent accommodation for the retreat’s host family, and an ‘inventive and eco-friendly’ space for meditation and yoga practice.
According to the brief: ‘The Bee Breeders Stone Barn Meditation Camp architecture competition encourages participants to create eco-friendly designs for a complex in the heart of Latvia, one of Europe’s greenest countries.
‘Working in collaboration with SRED property developers, the Stone Barn Meditation Camp will be built on the site of a repurposed stone barn. Looking to serve as an example for green building practice, participants are tasked with focusing on eco-friendly and cost-effective designs to create an exciting and enticing wellness complex that will further encourage ecotourism in the region.’
With around 54 per cent of its land covered in forest, Latvia is home to a diverse eco system, which includes rare black storks, otters, beaver, lynx, and wolves; as well as large numbers of deer, wild boar, elk and red fox. Protected wildlife zones account for approximately a fifth of the country.
Eco-tourism is a going trend in the region and late last year Bee Breeders launched a separate competition for a guesthouse and spa offering blue-clay treatments in rural western Latvia. The winners of the Blue Clay Spa contest – which have yet to be announced – will be considered for construction by SRED Global, which is planning to start building the project in 2017-2018.
The latest contest in rural Vidzeme focusses on a disused stone barn constructed in 1875 and used as a sawmill until the late 1990s after which it was emptied and partially demolished. Proposals should restore and extend the existing structure.
Proposals should feature an events hall, sound proof meditation room, accommodation for 20 guests, a dining room, kitchen, bathrooms and storage facilities. A separate area for the host family featuring two bedrooms, a library, kitchen and bathroom will also be required alongside external landscaping including a terrace, sauna, vegetable garden, play area and farm.
Submissions must include four A2-sized digital presentation boards featuring sketches, renders, plans, sections, elevations and diagrams with all descriptions in English.
The winning team will receive a £2,400 top prize and see its design considered for construction of the Stone Barn Meditation Camp. A second place prize of £1,200, third place prize of £400, a student prize and green prize of £400 each and six honourable mentions will also be awarded.
The deadline for submissions is 11.59pm GMT on 3 May.
How to apply