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Competition: Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, France

An international ideas contest has been launched to conserve the extraordinary ruins of the ruined Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in France’s Nouvelle Aquitaine region (Deadline: 30 January)

Open to all students and professionals worldwide – the competition seeks proposals to preserve the decaying Gothic Revival landmark and create a new visitor destination highlighting the history, architecture and ecology of the abandoned site which was recently purchased by a community group.

Proposals may feature a range of uses such as a visitors centre, shop, restaurant, biofarm, theatre, castle villas, wellness centre, or observatory. Concepts will be expected to harness sustainable materials and be fully accessible for disabled people and the elderly.

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France

According to the brief: ‘Mothe Chandeniers invites designers to highlight the natural fascination of the castle in order to transform it into a destination of contemplation and relax for tourists and visitors from all over the world.

‘This competition offers designers the opportunity to dedicate their own design action to one of the most fascinating ruins in the world. They will do so by designing a visitors centre aiming at ensuring a unique, spiritual and regenerating hospitality experience.’

First built more than 700 years ago and significantly remodelled during the nineteenth century, the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers was the home of the Baussay family until it was wrecked by fire in 1932.

One year ago the members of an online community known as Dartagnans raised €1.6m to purchase the castle with the hope of restoring it. The surrounding area is home to the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park, which is home to a large variety of bird and mammals, including the European Beaver.

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France

The ideas contest is the latest to be organised by Young Architects Competitions (YAC) which has held similar open calls for other historic ruins and overlooked buildings aimed at promoting local and regional architecture and tourism.

The 11-strong jury includes British sculptor Anish Kapoor, Romain Delaume from Dartagnans, Julien Marquis from Adopte un Château; and Rudy Ricciotti of French practice Agence Rudy Ricciotti

The overall winner, to be announced 4 March, will receive €10,000 while a second prize of €4,000, third prize of €2,000, and four ‘Gold Mentions’ worth €1,000 each will also be awarded.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 30 January

Fee

Standard registration from 26 November to 23 December: €100
Late Registration from 14 December to 27 January: €150

Contact details

Email: yac@yac-ltd.com

View the competition website for more information

Q&A with YAC

The competition organiser discusses their ambitions

Why are your holding an international contest to transform the ruined Mothe Chandeniers into a new tourist destination?

At the sunset of a building, architecture itself has to protect the remarkable combination of human action and natural activity that is the fascination of Mothe Chandeniers. Architecture has to save the castle from the erosion of time in order to give it back to the community that purchased it. It is an unprecedented challenge that invites designers to deal with a place with a surreal beauty able to create oneiric and refined holiday scenarios. Designers will have to highlight such feature carrying out an architectural intervention aiming to be the milestone of contemporary architecture. An ideas competition is the best way for designers to develop and show their talent. Our aim is fostering research in architecture and design: competitors are asked to put their creativity forward and propose creative projects that respect the original features of our competitions’ locations. Moreover, the jurors will evaluate projects coming from all over the world: YAC believes that culture also shapes the architectural approach, therefore it is very enriching to be able to have plenty of completely different visions on the same project.

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France

What is your vision for the future of Mothe Chandeniers?

Words hardly explain such place. It simply talks to the soul. It is a place that “has to be lived” as Eliane herself said. Designers will have to understand and internalise it in order to propose architectures that live up to an unequalled place in the world. In order to ensure a contextualised design good to be translated into fully workable solutions. The first intervention to the castle will be a consolidation operation. According to the purposes of the owners, this operation will aim at maintaining the current state of the ruins, including its main trees. After consolidating the castle from collapses, a series of contemporary architectural interventions will be finally carried out. They will enhance the visit, the discovery and the extraordinary potential of the castle.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

Students, graduates, architects, and professionals can take part in our competitions and they are all very welcome to bring along their expertise and new visions or practices from all over the world.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

Here at YAC, we are always working on new, exciting, and challenging competitions. The best way to keep up-to-date with all of our activities is to subscribe to our newsletter on our website.

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France

Mothe Chandeniers, France