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Competition: Paphos beach shelters, Cyprus

An open international contest has been launched for a modular €2,000 sun shelter for beaches in Paphos, Cyprus (Deadline: 28 July)

The competition seeks aesthetic and practical proposals for a 10m² pop-up structure which could be erected on Geroskipou Municipality Beach and other similar locations in the surrounding area, which features many popular tourist resorts.

The Paphos Beach Shelter Competition is organised by the Cyprus School of Architecture (CYSOA) and coincides with the city’s status as European Capital of Culture 2017. The project is part of a wider programme of planned upgrades, which aims to transform the surrounding urban area into a new ‘smart city’ and provide new opportunities for innovative design solutions.

Geroskipou Municipality Beach in Paphos, Cyprus

Geroskipou Municipality Beach in Paphos, Cyprus

Geroskipou Municipality Beach in Paphos, Cyprus

According to the brief: ‘CYSOA is looking to demonstrate designs for a modular canopy system that can be deployed on beaches to provide shelter from the sun – during June to August the average temperature is between 27.7 to 30.4°C.

‘The essential programmatic need is to provide a canopy or other form of shelter from the sun; however additional programs, material concerns, and aesthetic results should be decided by individual participants.’

Geroskipou is a coastal town east of the major city of Paphos. Its population is approximately 7,000 and it is the second largest municipality in Paphos District.

The city of Paphos is about 50km west from Limassol – Cyprus’ largest port – and its urban area is home to 62,000 residents along with an international airport. In recent years, local infrastructure has received significant renewal and investment in preparation for hosting the European Capital of Culture 2017 title.

Geroskipou Municipality Beach in Paphos, Cyprus

Geroskipou Municipality Beach in Paphos, Cyprus

Geroskipou Municipality Beach in Paphos, Cyprus

Surrounded by many historical buildings, the popular tourist district of Paphos features a subtropical climate and was an important centre for the ancient cult of Aphrodite. The coastal town of Geroskipou is meanwhile famous for its five-domed Byzantine church of Agia Paraskevi, a Folk Art Museum and the production of Turkish Delight.

Entries may be from individuals or teams of up to three members. The winning scheme will be constructed following consultation with the local municipality and its approval. All entries will feature in an exhibition hosted by CYSOA.

How to apply


The deadline for registration is 12pm (UTC+2) on 30 June
The deadline for submissions is 12pm (UTC+2) on 28 July


The fee is €20

Contact details

The Cyprus School of Architecture
6 Stass Paraskos Street
Lempa Village
8260 Paphos


View the competition website for more information

Q&A with Emilio Koutsoftides

The organiser discusses his aspirations for the contest

Emilio Koutsoftides

Emilio Koutsoftides

Emilio Koutsoftides

Why are you holding an international contest for a shelter on Paphos Beach, Cyprus?

This open competition was launched to inculcate new thinking into this small and somewhat maligned area of Paphos. This particular district is likely to undergo significant transformation in the next few years, with the local authority currently procuring masterplan schemes. Paphos is also the European Capital of Culture 2017 (ECC), and as such has received significant EU investment in recent months. This inward investment, coupled with the Cypriot economy’s emergence from the doldrums of 2008-2013 to a thriving, expanding economy, could provide many opportunities for young local and international architects and designers to expand and improve the diverse offer available as a result of various ECC projects.

What is your vision for the modular canopy?

We want to leave complete freedom of programme and features of the canopy or structure to those who would like to enter. There are existing structures on the beach and across the beaches of the eastern Mediterranean. These are typically timber frames, the canopies are often provided by large palm leaves or other dried foliage synonymous with bars and beach parties. This ‘club-med’ vernacular could be reinterpreted, or a radically different approach could be taken. A critical aspect of the scheme’s viability is the ability to inexpensively replicate any design. There can be many tens or even hundreds of these structures along beaches on the island, and a successful design is likely to take this into account.

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

We think this would be a great opportunity for a young architect or designer, even if they have not yet completed a building, to have a small scheme realised. CYSOA will also be happy to provide any technical support, and an understanding of the statutory processes involved in Cyprus, if the winning individual or team lack the experience required. If any more established practitioners are keen to enter, they would obviously be most welcome.

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

The Cyprus School of Architecture is a relatively new entity; the school was established to provide a high-quality and innovative education taught in English, based in Cyprus, and at a fraction of the cost for both fees and living expenses than found in the UK. It is our intention to gain ARB/RIBA candidate status for our Part I course, as well as allowing registration in an EU country, thus affording our graduates the choice of practising across Europe in a post-Brexit world. One might imagine a competition to develop our campus, but this would be some time in the future. Our current aim is to support young practitioners in gaining recognition of their work, tested through small-scale projects procured with the help of interested local authorities and community groups.

Are there any other modular beach structures you have been impressed by?

As we are interested in gaining the broadest possible set of entries, we don’t think that highlighting a project or projects that we have in mind would be appropriate. Architects and designers are often able to imagine new ideas without looking at other bits of architecture for reference, and we hope that some very innovative and previously unimagined schemes will come out of the brief. The focus should be on interpreting or reinterpreting the idea of ‘modularity’, and how this aspect of architecture and design can be extrapolated out to produce something we haven’t seen before.

Modular Tangram Canopy case study: Q&A with James Shen

The principal of People’s Architecture Office discusses lessons learned designing a modular sun shade structure for China

How did your project deliver an adaptable modular canopy for use in various locations?

We made our components modular to that it could be shipped efficiently. But we limited the number of parts to ensure installation was quick.

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness in your design?

We built the truss-like structure out of thin steel rod to achieve long spans while keeping each unit light enough for one person to lift. The result is a structure that almost disappears while the canopy appears as a floating plane. The red PVC fabric cast a red hue on everything under the canopy to create visual unity.

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a modular canopy for Paphos Beach?

Use inexpensive durable and light materials. Use modules with a limited number of connections. Take advantage of sunlight and color. Beware of wind and uplift.

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office

Modular Tangram Canopy by People’s Architecture Office