Sanctuary and lighthouse terminal syracuse


From the legendary Colossus of Rhodes to the majestic Pharos of Alexandria, lighthouses have always marked human history, adquiring a crucial importance beyond the basic function of a warning facility: suggesting dream, adventure, fascination and mystery.

Slender and solitary, the lighthouses are situated in wonderful and often uncontaminated ecosystems and are an inestimable legacy of the past.

On the cliff of Murro di Porco - a few kilometres from the historic center of Syracuse, is situated a lighthouse of supreme charm and value.

The lighthouse of Murro di Porco was once lived-in but then it was gradually abandoned with the arrival of modern technologies. As it became a simple lantern, a place no longer inhabited by humans, the lighthouse has progressively deteriorated as it often happens to many other coastal buildings. 

It is a project of the Italian government to transform lighthouses into tourism and accommodation facilities. It was inspired by the idea of making the most of their valuable location and proximity to the sea to create dream-like accommodation able to reinvent the ancient lighthouses and reverse their degradation process.

How can we transform a lighthouse into an incomparable accomodation?
How can we relate projects of contemporary architecture to such majestic and fragile ecosystems?

On the basis of these gripping issues, YAC launches Lighthouse Sea Hotel in collaboration with the Italian government and thanks to the support of Rimini fair. This competition challenges the designers to let the beauty of these remote places fascinate them; to imagine a new future for these abandoned lighthouses by transforming them into tourism facilities beyond compare and to make their protection and possible conservation sustainable. 



‘Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself’
Hermann Hesse


The lighthouse has come to represent humankind’s journey in life. It can symbolise struggle and triumph over the adversity of a stormy sea; it can warn of perils ahead in the danger of rocks and shallow waters - features perilous to journeying ships; it’s persistent light can represent spiritual strength in darkness, a guide to those in need.

Ultimately, as lighthouses became automated, the rich history of the occupants who ensured safe passage for all sea-farers, gave way to the mechanisation of our technological age. In this modern era, the lighthouse has come to signify a marker, a way-finder and a beacon of hope, representing solitude, contemplation and community.


‘It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again’
John Steinbeck


The small rock pools, formed from rainwater and sea-spray, are a constant reminder of the connection between land and water. The open vessel of land upon the sea is mirrored in small pockets of water held upon the land. The interesting geological feature of tidal geysers, water blown through holes in the rocks, form an exhilarating and exciting spectacle, visually and audibly marking the ticking clock of the tide upon the rocks of Faro Murro di Porco. These features are both tranquil and explosive, static and poetic, serving to remind us of the capricious nature of the sea.

The inspiration for this entry is borne from the desire for an authentic experience of both culture and local produce against the dramatic back-drop of this area of outstanding beauty. It is an architectural and cultural mark in history that allows us to look back as well as forwards.


"The geographical map, in short, although static, implies a narrative idea.  It is conceived in keeping with an itinerary, it is an odyssey"
Italo Calvino


Akin to the notion of Agritourismo we seek to form a proposal where people may visit the area and learn about the history of the lighthouse and the biodiversity of the surrounding land; to experience the natural beauty and solitude of the coast; to experience markets with local and seasonal produce; to participate in ‘Slow Food’ cooking in the community kitchen, dining in the restaurant, or evenings of music or theatre in the courtyard.

On site shelters offer space for contemplation where inhabitants can escape from the daily stress and sample coastal living.

Salt has been an important commodity for humans for thousands of years; it is present in the sea water, as well as humans and animals alike. It is a common and popular seasoning, that traditionally is used as a preservative and was once a well traded and highly valued product. It is also a necessary requirement of our diets. The importance to balance salt intake may be neglected - we eat processed foods that are often high in salt content and without careful balance of this most basic and necessary substance, it can be detrimental to our health.

Influenced by the ‘Slow Food’ movement, we look towards the importance of balance and sustainability in the environment by eating local, enjoying seasonal produce, taking the time required of nature, to eat together, tasting and savouring flavours…

By adding these ingredients into a melting pot with the coast and the lighthouse, Salt is the ingredient that enhances their flavours - Salt is the ethos of our proposal.



TEAM: Donnie duncanson, marta gamarro, javier lopez, aitor vega, adam fisher, RUBYMAE BERGIN

year: 2014