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Competition: Pessegueiro Island chapel, Portugal

An international ideas contest has been launched for a sheltered religious sanctuary on Pessegueiro Island, Portugal (Deadline: 2 February)

Open to students and young architects aged under 40, the competition seeks proposals for a ‘Site Chapel’ providing a space for solitude, contemplation and reflection while also respecting the unique landscape and nature of the small Portuguese island which hosts the ruins of an abandoned fort.

Proposals for the rocky exposed site may incorporate the ruins of the former citadel and be of any height but should have a combined space – including interior spaces and entrances – of between 40m2 and 60m2.

Pessegueiro Island, Portugal

Pessegueiro Island, Portugal

Pessegueiro Island, Portugal

According to the brief: ‘The Site Chapel is a place of solitude and contemplation, an intimate space for reflection and a platform for meditation.

‘Together with the Roman archaeological remains, the fort ruins and the enigmatic space of the quarry, the site chapel offers a unique experience within this remarkable landscape; it is a reflective journey and contemplative walk through memory, time and silence.’

Pessegueiro Island, Portugal

Pessegueiro Island, Portugal

Pessegueiro Island, Portugal

Located around 170 km south of Lisbon, Pessegueiro Island is a small 340m-long islet separated from Portugal’s Porto Covo Atlantic coastline by a 300m channel. The tiny landmass was used by the Romans as a fish processing centre.

The rugged island also includes the ruins of the ‘Santo Alberto’ fort and the remains of a former quarry on its northern cliff edges.

Site Chapel is twelfth competition to be organised by ArkxSite since it launched in 2014 as a platform offering conceptual challenges to young architects focussing on neglected but beautiful locations across Portugal.

The overall winner, to be announced on 5 April, will receive a €2,000 top prize. A second prize of €1,000 and third prize of €500 will also be awarded along with 7 honourable mentions. All submissions will be published on the ArkxSite website.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 23:59 local time (WET) on 2 February

Fee

Early bird registration from 17 October to 17 December: €73.80
Regular registration from 18 December to 18 January: €92.25
Late registration from 19 January to 28 January: €110.70

Contact details

Email: info@arkxsite.com

View the competition website for more information

A Chapel For New Mexico case study: Q&A with Michael Jantzen

The Santa Fe-based artist and designer discusses lessons learned designing a multi-faith chapel for New Mexico

How will your project deliver a contemplative chapel space for all religions in rural New Mexico?

A Chapel For New Mexico was designed as a nondenominational place where people of any faith or spiritual philosophy could gather together in small numbers in New Mexico, for special ceremonies. The structure would be located near Santa Fe New Mexico where a large number of people are immersed in a wide variety of spiritual endeavours. My hope as the designer of the Chapel For New Mexico is that its design will help to promote the idea of multiculturalism, inclusiveness, and tolerance.

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

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

The aesthetic and functional design of the structure was inspired by the mountainous landscape of New Mexico, and by the symbolism inherent in the ways in which the chapel is to be used. The painted steel, glass, and concrete structure consists of four large multilayered facades, each facing in a different direction, and reaching into the sky. This configuration is symbolically referring to the chapel’s openness to all who will hopefully be inspired by its uplifting geometry. These facades are connected to the centre glass-enclosed meeting space, with four large doors located at the centre of each of the glass walls. A large skylight is located at the centre of the roof of the enclosed space, with a circular chandelier hung below it.

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

Attached to the floor of the chapel are eight benches that can accommodate up to 30 people. An elevated circular platform is located at the centre, which is used by a minister, priest, rabbi, or any other inspirational speaker.

What advice would you have to contest participants on creating a new chapel for the remote Pessegueiro island?

My advice for the contest participants on creating a new chapel for the remote Pessequeiro Island is to also explore ideas that promote multiculturalism, inclusiveness, and tolerance.

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen

A Chapel For New Mexico by Michael Jantzen