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UK student wins Latvian ‘poet huts’ contest

British architecture student Daniel Brigginshaw has won an international competition for a group of beach huts for visiting writers in Pavilosta, Latvia

Brigginshaw – who is currently studying as a postgraduate at the Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio in Switzerland – received a US$3,000 prize for his ‘A garden within a garden’ scheme, which was praised by the jury for its reference to traditional Baltic architecture.

A second prize of US$1,500 went to Linnéa Holmberg, Maria Torrent, and Karl Zetterholm from BLANK ARKITEKTER AB in Sweden, while the third prize of $500 was awarded to Katharina Kocol and Olga Bialczak from Technische Universität Berlin, Germany.

The Pavilosta Poet Huts call for concepts – promoted by competitions organiser Bee Breeders – sought innovative proposals for five coastal cabins which will provide all-weather accommodation for poets and other people visiting the historic Baltic port of Pavilosta.

The competition set out to raise awareness of Latvia’s coastline as an international tourist destination and provide a space where writers can draw on the area’s natural beauty.

In a statement on its website, Bee Breeders said: ‘The jury was impressed by the well-rounded response to this call for proposals. The submissions included a range of building typologies, such as isolated cabins scattered across the site, single buildings focused on the community experience, and even towers offering views to the surrounding region.

‘Upon review of the materials, the jury members selected a set of winners that offered strong proposals for communal complexes that captured both the ability for writers to work in isolation, as well as interact with fellow visitors.’

Located on the western coast of Latvia at the mouth of the Saka river, Pavilosta is a small port town hosting several trawlers and featuring a sandy beach popular with windsurfers.

The contest sought proposals for five ‘poet huts’ capable of hosting a resident writer, additional visitors, and also providing a space for exhibitions and poetry readings. Proposals were required to feature two single, two double and one four-person hut, offering subdivided sections for residents and visitors.

Concepts also needed to include a dining room and kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room layout and a multifunctional 40m² space inside the structure. A roof terrace and secluded meditation space were also required.

Judges citation: ‘A garden within a garden’ by Daniel Brigginshaw

Winning scheme by Daniel Brigginshaw

Winning scheme by Daniel Brigginshaw

‘A garden within a garden’ references traditional Baltic architecture using local materials such as timber, and resourceful building methods. The design collects all of the programme within a single structure. It offers a distinctly modern rectangular block form, articulated by a grid of vertical and horizontal lines of alternating thicknesses, giving hierarchy to the form. The façade is defined by a square clerestory window set on horizontally oriented rectangular façade panels.

The project’s take on a courtyard building typology lends to its intent on creating a sense of community for users. It intelligently mixes interior and exterior spaces under a common roof and provides views to both the interior shared space of the courtyard and the exterior site. The structure uses repeated assemblies for ease of construction.

The dark exterior cladding is black-stained timber, while the interiors are light and simple to provide clean spaces for work and living. The project conveys its ideas clearly, using simple drawings and thoughtful renderings. The jury believes the project could be strengthened with an image depicting the relationship between the interior courtyard and the exterior site.