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Competition: The Beacon, Cyprus

The Cyprus School of Architecture (CYSOA) has announced an international contest for a €2,000 combustible structure near Paphos, Cyprus (Deadline: 29 June)

Open to students, recent graduates, and qualified architects in teams of up to five, the anonymous competition seeks imaginative proposals for an architectural structure which will be burnt down during the annual Lemba Lights Festival in August.

The winning scheme will be constructed in the main plaza in the heart of the cultural village of Lemba which is home to both an art and architecture school along with a pottery and other workshops. The structure will provide a meeting place for local inhabitants before being burnt down during the opening ceremony of the annual festival.

A beacon

A beacon

A beacon

According to the brief: ‘The Beacon is a design competition for an architectural structure that can be set alight. The competition involves the design of a structure in which a fire can be made, the primary purpose of which is to act as the opening ceremony centrepiece torch for the Lemba Lights Festival at the Cultural Village of Lemba, Paphos, Cyprus in August 2018.

‘The winning entry will be constructed after consultation and agreement with local landowners and planning officials, and feature as the centrepiece of the Lemba Lights Festival in Paphos. All entries will be exhibited at the Cyprus School of Architecture in an open public event in August 2018.’

The city of Paphos is about 50km west from Limassol – Cyprus’s largest port – and its urban area is home to 62,000 residents along with an international airport. The settlement hosted a wide range of cultural events last summer as part of the European Capital of Culture 2017 initiative.

Located around 4km north of Paphos, Lemba – also known as Lempa – is thought to be one of the oldest settlements on the island. The picturesque coastal settlement is known for its abundant agriculture and many archaeological excavations.

Since the 1980s the village has hosted an outpost of the Cyprus College of Art and 10 years ago the settlement received additional funding from the central government to attract greater visitor numbers.

Archaeological excavations in Lemba

Archaeological excavations in Lemba

Source: Image by Hermann Junghans

Archaeological excavations in Lemba

The call for submissions is the latest to be launched by CYSOA which launched a separate contest for a €20,000 lighthouse-inspired structure on a beach near Paphos late last year.

CYSOA also previously held separate contests for a new beach shelter – won by Korean firm Kim Min Jae Architects – and a €10,000 public viewing tower.

The latest competition will deliver a €2,000 architectural structure capable of being used by local residents and workers as a meeting place before being set alight during the Lemba Lights Festival.

The competition language is English and submissions should include a single A3-sized digital display board no larger 20mb in size.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 12noon (UCT+2) on 29 June.



Contact details

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


Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Franck Piloni

The CYSOA administrator discusses his ambitions for the contest

Why are your holding an international competition for a combustible architectural structure?

The intention was to encourage further thinking and research in the impact of more temporary structures. There are so many competitions for temporary pavilions that are designed to last for a few months. However, these often find a home in another location after their initial use (private collections, art galleries, etc). We want the entrants to engage with, and design for, the immediate destruction of their proposal. It also poses the question; was the winner the one the jury liked the most or the one they wanted to see destroyed the most. Who knows?

What is your vision for the architectural structure?

The site is the Lemba Plaza, an area currently under construction, which will be a meeting point for those living and working in the village (Lemba near Paphos), either at the art and architecture school, the local pottery workshop, or local residents. The structure will form the central part of the opening of the square in August of this year. The outcome should be both fantastical and appropriately designed to ensure the safety of spectators.

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

The competition is open to all, however we think it would be a good opportunity to an emerging practice.

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

CYSOA’s programme of small competitions will continue into its second year in August. Our programme of sponsored competitions challenges current procurement methodologies, allowing us to act as an advocate for designers and architects, framing the making of buildings and structures around good design and artistic practice. We constantly seek new ways of operating and are open to ideas from outside architecture, including collaboration with practitioners from different fields to help us to engage holistically with local communities, local government, and individuals.

Are there any other similar combustible structure projects you have been impressed by?

Not that we have seen yet!