10 May 2018


"Art-Prison Project" in the Island of Favignana, Italy
Competition entry with Emanuela De Santi (Architect) and Leah Corra (Artist).

Location coordinates: 37.9267558,12.3063052 (which is off the west coast of Sicily. South of Isola di Levanzo and West of Isola Grande).

Inspirational Tale: Alexander Dumas.  El Conde de Montecristo. On the day of his wedding to Mercédès, Edmond Dantès, first mate of the Pharaon, is falsely accused of treason, arrested, and imprisoned without trial in the Château d'If, a grim island fortress off Marseilles. A fellow prisoner, Abbé Faria, correctly deduces that his jealous rival Fernand Mondego, envious crewmate Danglars, and double-dealing Magistrate De Villefort framed him. Faria inspires his escape and guides him to a fortune in treasure. As the powerful and mysterious Count of Monte Cristo, he arrives from the Orient to enter the fashionable Parisian world of the 1830s and avenge himself on the men who conspired to destroy him.After six years of imprisonment in the Château d'If, Dantès is on the verge of suicide when he befriends the Abbé Faria ("The Mad Priest"), an Italian fellow prisoner who had dug an escape tunnel that ended up in Dantès' cell. Over the next eight years,  
Faria gives Dantès an extensive education in language, culture, and science. Knowing himself to be close to death, Faria tells Dantès the location of a treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. When Faria dies, Dantès takes his place in the burial sack. When the guards throw the sack into the sea, Dantès breaks through and swims to a nearby island. He is rescued by a smuggling ship that stops at Monte Cristo. After recovering the treasure, Dantès returns to Marseille. He later purchases the island of Monte Cristo and the title of Count from the Tuscan government. Château d’If. The Château d'If is a fortress (later a prison) located on the island of If, the smallest island in the Frioul archipelago situated in the Mediterranean Sea about 1.5 kilometres offshore in the Bay of Marseille in southeastern France. It is famous for being one of the settings of Alexandre Dumas' adventure novel The Count of Monte Cristo. “If” is the French word for the yew tree.
El Conde de Mote Cristo certainly EXPERIENCED SOLITUD amongst other emotional encounters in extreme. This would be vision for our concept proposal to redevelop Il Forte di Santa Caterina in la Isola di Favignana, located in the hart of the Mediterranean Sea.  
It is anticipated that visitors to the gallery space will 'experience' various emotions as they navigate their way through various galleries spaces. All rooms and chambers within the original medieval fort-castle structure. The the adjacent 1800's building will serve as a dining and reading room for overnight guests and artists in-residence.

Temporary art exhibits and permanent installation works will be organised by perceptual emotional cues rather than the more traditional chronological, school/movement or geographic/location order. No signs nor explanations will be on display. Information could be found online if required by the visitor. The experiential rather than rational is the aim.

Concept to develop various paths into 'solitud'. The idea is to move visitors into an individual experience of solitud, even if arrive in companionship. The paths into solitud will develop labyrinths (or buffer-zones) in which individuals enter and personal single experience to engage with the place, its art and landscape.    
Competition Brief 
"Solitude has always been highly fascinating for human beings. Hermitages, fortresses, shelters. Since the dawn of time, human beings have been looking for a solitary condition, avoiding their counterparts as if they wanted to rediscover a feeling of purity, reconciliation with their self and union with nature.
 The fortress of Santa Caterina stands over the peak of Favignana, an isle set at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. It appears as a real jewel of solitude. It is a place imbued with an imposing and moving beauty. In such place, the embrace of nature is so intimate that creates the sweet and yearned for oblivion that fills the heart of those who had the bravery to leave civilsation to listen to silence. For more than a century, the fortress has been an abandoned prison. From the peak of the promontory, it solitary witnesses the continuous rise and setting of the sun in the crystal waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The latter has always been vigilant on the events of the isle. Over time, the industrious fishermen village has become a booming destination for international tourism.
Inspiration to engage with artists and artwork for permanent installations merging with the architecture. Anish Kapoor's parabolic mirror could resemble the Fort in the XXI C. as it denotes a telco antenna or a radar.
 In the wake of such transformations, Yac launches Art Prison. 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 centers 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.How to transform an ancient prison into a treasure chest containing works of art and the creative action of internationally renowned artists and intellectuals? How to transform an ancient fishermen isle into an open-air contemporary art museum? This is the fascinating challenge of Art Prison. This competition invites designers to get involved with the lure of solitude. By doing so, they will create a mystic architecture able to whisper to the heart of visitors. The isle will become a “sacred” place, a shelter for artists, creative talents and curious people who wish to stay to mentally and spiritually regain their forces. They will have the chance to enjoy the most amazing artistic innovations, brushed by the monumental and eternal fascination of an ancient fortress and a Mediterranean isle. 
The inspirational Landscape... and opening the gate to the sublime!
“What the newer landscape artists see in a circle of a hundred degrees in Nature they press together unmercifully into an angle of vision of only forty-five degrees. And furthermore, what is in Nature separated by large spaces, is compressed into a cramped space and overfills and oversatiates the eye, creating an unfavorable and disquieting effect on the viewer.”

— Caspar David Friedrich— Wonderer above the sea of fog, 1818, private collection.
Il viaggiatore sopra un mare di nebbia, 1818, particolare.

Image:  Friedrich in Andrea Di Franco, Il progetto di architettura: note di un percorso di ricerca. Politecnico di Milano, Scuola di Architettura, Maggioli Editore ISBN 9788883876092
“La visione del paesaggio del viaggiatore che proviene dall’esperienza urbana determina il paesaggio como luogo della ricerca ma dissolve i caratteri di oggetti e soggetti nella misura indistinta"

Friedrich was instrumental in transforming landscape in art from a backdrop subordinated to human drama to a self-contained emotive subject.

The Rückenfigur, or figure seen from behind, is a compositional device in painting, graphic art, photography and film. A person is seen from behind in the foreground of the image, contemplating the view before them, and is a means by which the viewer can identify with the image's figure and then recreate the space to be conveyed. It is commonly associated with German Romantic painting and particularly the landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich.
Site Access:
A number of underground tunnels and above ground bridges interconnecting the three main zones could bring a dynamic interconnection. We proposed contraction and expansion as a continuum around the site. 
A suggestion to wrap the Fort during construction works and refurbishment undertakes, this would bring an exciting kind-of-contained energy into the castle with the site project being prepared by artists Christo&Christo. Projects that have attracted hundreds of visitors during construction include the Eden Project in Cornwall (1998-2001) in the UK, the Jewish Museum in Berlin (2000) or La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (ongoing), all good examples where the construction site is actually part of the attraction even before the official opening also contributing to the project and local economy.   
 Inspirational references:

 Natural scape and vies from the Alcazar de Santa Barbara en Alicante, Spain.

Above images: the descent from el Alcazar de Santa Barbara en Alicante.

 Art references: Philippe Calandre

Philipe Calandre, Utopia. Suggestive images on the idea of a tiny island and the relationship of built form encompassing the landscape, buildscape to be more precise. The utopia, the contradiction, the abomination not too far from A Walking City by Archigram. This antagonistic view of solitud, yet embedded in a high density set is possibly what happens in today's cities. In our project we were looking for a healthier kind of solitud, the one by choice rather than by necessity.

Extracts of concept design development process _______
On 12 April 2018 at 20:40, Leah wrote:Ciao Emanuela, Guillermo!
Grazie di tutto!
Scusami, ho visto che il cover che ho scaricato non aveva la passerella- che scema- ero troppo stanca credo a quel punto- stavo perdendo la lucidità!

Adesso aspettiamo..aheheheheh!
Prossima volta che vieni a Milano dobbiamo festeggiare. :)

É stato fico lavorare con due architetti bravi ed vedere il processo di sviluppo di un progetto architettonico, mi sento di avere una nuova finestra aperta su questo arte, prima poco conosciuto!

Un bacione!
In bocca al lupo a noi!Leah
From: emanuelaSent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 3:39:57 PMTo: Guillermo Aranda-MenaCc: Leah CorraSubject: Re: Art prison
Ho aggiunto anche l'immagine Cover aggiornata con la passerella, che inserisco nella cartella comune.Leah: se non volevi inserire la passerella e vuoi poi sostituirla sentiamoci che ti dico come fare.
Ottimo lavoro, davvero, veramente orgogliosa!!!
Un bacione! 
2018-04-11 7:30 GMT+02:00:Ok, ho caricato A1 ed A3, adesso aggiorno la cover mettendo l'immagine che ha anche la passerella e poi carico anche quella
Il mer 11 apr 2018, 02:30 ha scritto:Auguri! Wonderful news Leah.
Should all celebrate in Solitud! ... and hopefully we will all meet at IL FORTE to start our project!
Crepi il Lupo!
From: LeahSent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 10:16:06 AMSubject: Re: Art prison
Ok- fatto- ho caricato tutto nella cartella Final Submission.
L’unica cosa e che il A3 non riuscivo mettere insieme in un album, non ho indesign su questo computer ed è l’unico modo che conosco per farlo. Spero che riesci è che non è una palla.

Insieme i 7 devono essere 9,3 MB.
Ho aggiunto le funzioni alla planimetria pero non sono riuscita incorporare i spirali.
Domani cerco di essere connessa già alle 7,30 se c’e’ un problema, e dopo le 9 al lavoro avrò il mio telefono.
Adesso devo dormire :) A domani!
Intanto, io sono fiera della presentazione ;) 
Il giorno 11 apr 2018, alle ore 00:03
Guillermo ha scritto:
...perhaps explaining this early concept.i was thinking that ‘way finding’ on-site upon arrival could have different sensorial cues. ...such as visual, sounds and/or tactile... also part of our vision is to drive people into solitude so ‘disconnection’ form the typically expected ‘main entrance’ might be our approach, ie. moving away from an elevate shrine type main or principal gate. I also think the poster needs to be visually clear - not too wordy nor cluttered!

From: Leah
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:19:06 AMSubject: Re: Art prison
I definitely think some things need to be explained, even if just numbered with a small list on the side of the planimetrie which indicates where things are.
Also if someone wants to draw a “percourses” map of various entrances, I can try to insert it into the grifts, but it should be simple and white. I am finding it impossible to insert the black background images and not disturb the flow of the graphics.
Il giorno 10 apr 2018, alle ore 15:08,
Ok, ma come possiamo inserire questo ragionamento nelle tavole?
Il mar 10 apr 2018, 14:53 ha scritto:
Your comment reminds me a little of my experience in Mattera. Ie. find myself lost at times as there are many little roads/senderi... BUT you always arrive to your destination point at the end, you only needed to keep going! ... we might have a similar case here. ... we have a number of loops AND not sending people in loose/open ends (but circular journeys?)..
The top hierarchy for accessing to the gallery is the “walking track” a the top we could entry from plan A level (not B) and a clear junction, access to either the gallery levels (reached by steps or lift) or hotel. The hotel should be something more secluded ...just as you did.
The only competing point could be the internally in the forte. I had a suggestion to demolish internal partitions making the interior of the forte one large arrival area (such as Plan B level). The pedestrian access could come a level lower (ie. Plan A level)
Although hidden, the access for disable “could not be seen nor experienced as second best” - but treat them in a special way too. ... which I think we are doing. We need to be careful that disable access does not get confused with rubbish collection and art deliveries!
Once in the main Forte, we got a clear radial distribution point connecting the gallery, hotel, restaurant and vertical/lift to upper level and rooftop garden/open cafe. This will be our main nodal point (Distribution on Plan B). ... ie. Larger space - some internal partitions have been removed. The current entry to the forte could be left as emergency/exit steps? ... just my suggestion.

From: emanuelaSent: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 10:11:41 PMTo: Guillermo Aranda-MenaCc: Leah CorraSubject: Re: Art prison
Non sò se risulta chiaro che ci saranno molti percorsi diversi per raggiungere il forte, e più in generale penso sia il caso di indicare lift, suite, double and familiar rooms, reception, restaurant etc... Guillermo forse tu, da insegnante, sei in una posizione migliore per valutare la chiarezza di tutto il progetto.
Il mar 10 apr 2018, 14:06 Guillermo Aranda-Mena ha scritto:Ciao Emanuela, can you please list the aspects/areas you want to describe? I could send you a few lines - and you can insert or leave out as you wish.Guillermo

From: emanuela de santiSent: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:59:20 PMTo: Guillermo Aranda-Mena; Leah CorraSubject: Art prison
Valutiamo se inserire la descrizione delle diverse funzioni? Ho paura che non risulti così chiaro... Ditemi la vostra!
Brilliant! beautiful experiential description Leah. Quite poetic indeed.
I can't wait to start building our project!! :-)
Talk more soon,Guillermo
On 10 April 2018 at 06:57, emanuela de santi wrote:Leah, ho visto adesso che hai inserito le tavole, ho inserito un po' di commenti, Guillermo domani se riesci prova a verificare anche tu che il discorso risulti ben chiaro, ed eventualmente cosa modificare/inserire.
Notte, a domani!

2018-04-09 22:35 GMT+02:00 Leah Corra :Ciao tutti!
Stasera ho finito, devo dormire. Ho scaricato i pdf. Del punto dove sono riuscita arrivare.Domani lavoro due ore- dalle 13-15, però sarò raggiungibile e lavorando prima e dopo cosi finiamo domani sera.
Spero domani di sistemare il testo, che adesso mi fa schifo. Anche da aggiungere o togliere immagini come vediamo giusto.
Buonanotte ed a domani!
Il giorno 09 apr 2018, alle ore 18:45, emanuela de santi ha scritto:create and emotional experience on the site playing with contrasting situations.

Urbanisticamente: opererei attorno al forte, per identificare chiaramente il "segno
...tried to think to different ways to arrive at the castle, in order to separate the routes to get there, creating new route, which stops before the historic route (see Eisenmann project at Castelvecchio VE), thinking to a way to give accessible the Castle for old and disabled person (lift), putting some labyrinth (what type?) along the way
...I imagined a path that develops in a ring around the existing fortification wall that surrounds the monumental complex, and distributes the spaces for tourist reception, imagined as closed volumes outside, with large openings to the landscape.I imagined a path that can be followed by all the people, stimulating contrasting sensations, from disorientation, to fear, to pleasure, in a crescendo of openings / closures, darkness / light, as in a Dante itinerary.

The new path "ends" with rising to the surface, in the wide open space in front of the Fort, and then go on inside it (another closed space), to end in the open terrace above...Matera, walking around the hills, you feel lost at times, then you suddenly appear walking on someone’s roof and get full views. That was cool! :-)

l'immagine architettonica/materica finale del nuovo complesso si potrebbe provare ad utilizzare il tufo murature piene, magari in tufo, con scale, finestre e passaggi, a creare un percorso nel percorso, come nelle architetture di Francesco Venezia. In entrambi i casi bisogna considerare che i dislivelli presenti sono troppo ampi da poter essere risolti con rampe di pendenza.

I much like your idea of the labyrinth linked with landscape and nature. ... I also think that we could perhaps have some variations on labyrinth patterns including a patter that resembles the spatial language of various contemporary architects and artisti ie. Libdeskin, Carlo Scarpa, Zaha Hadid, Richard Serra, Bernard Tschumi, Aldo Rossi and Peter Eisenman? ...or even more crazy, a maze inspired on with Jackson Pollock or Kandinsky!? ...imagine how great could that be?! Our concept design/submission entry could be suggestive to this idea - without having to fully solve all labirinti. Labirinti could also fulfil the concept as sculpture gardens?. ... intersections between artisti e architetti?

Above image, inspiration for artist studios and in-residence.
Above image: Master suite with views over the fort-tower and the Mediterranean sea. Window includes reference to
Above image: underground passage connecting gallery space with hotel reception. Extreme materials and finish, from smooth glass-ceramic-frit composite panels to rough tufo stone.  
Above image describing passage from the underground inspired on the spaces created by Sean Godsell for RMIT's Design Hub. 

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Signature Labyrinths:
Richard Serra; Zaha Hadid; Peter Eisenman; Paul Kandinsky; Daniel Libeskind; Jackson Pollock.

Daniel Daniel Libdeskind, Carrilho da Garça, Manuel Aires Mateus, Snohetta, Felix Perasso, Caspar David Friederich, Philippe Calandre, Anish Kapoor, Richard Serra, Prometeo Lucca, Mathew Barney, Gian Maria Tosatti.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous15.5.18

    Ciao Guillermo!
    I really liked you put our project in your blog, feel free to keep what I had done, you still find everything in the shared folder.
    I looked quickly at the description, and it seems to me very nice the Friedrich's reference (I had insert the man's picture in an image of the Labirinto), maybe I would have put the Montecristo's sentence, to underline the contrasting feelings we want to communicate in our project... But it's my own reading, and the blog is yours!

    About the winning project... I cannot find it of high quality! From an artistic/graphic point of view, it is done with the same standard-layout, very clear and a sure take for winning, but which I find a little too much 'aseptic' for this project.
    About the contents I haven't find the richness of themes which I think our project had... The "remember" of Matera, the multiple paths through which you can discover different places and different feelings... No one had deal it!
    And now to us... Regarding the winning project I had to say that our project is less clear, mostly in the A1, maybe some more bi and tri-dimensional scheme/drawing would have help, as well as giving ourselves as deadline for the materials to be included in the tables 10 days before delivery, in order to dedicate ourselves only to the explanation of the project... It's a pity because we had done a lot of work we hadn't insert at the end... But, maybe next time it will go better!

    "in bocca al lupo" for your exhibition, we will see your drawings on the blog? I'm curious!

    Buona giornata!