Concordia Lighthouse

buildings

Exploring a contemporary version of a specific typology, the design of the lighthouse attempts to create a physical structure with specific function that also encapsulates events related to memory. Following the site’s topography, the lighthouse is nested on a natural recess of the rocky terrain in front of the area of the shipwreck. The ground level is organized as a bridge between the land and the sea.

The volume opens to the sea through a slot, 53-meter high, same as the dash length in the engine compartment of Costa Concordia. This slot creates a gate to the sea and frames the view to the location of the shipwreck. The sloped surfaces of the massive concrete walls surround the ascending monumental stairs that narrow at the top.

Two intersecting prisms, widened at the base to achieve structural stability, create the lighthouse form. Concrete surfaces fold and bisect to create forms reminiscent of a sea vessel and through their interlocking freeze a collision.The orientation of the two intersecting elements creates a cross in alignment with the 4 cardinal directions. Further to the signalization and the function of a navigation compass, the symbolism of the cross creates a landmark using light as a strong element of signalization. Thus, the lighthouse doubles as a beacon and as a memorial of the tragedy.

Layered glass panels are organized as an extension and termination of concrete volume. They intensify the juxtaposition between the heaviness / solidity of concrete opposed to the lightness / transparency of glass. Following the principle of light transmission through glass, the light travels through the solid glass volume and it emerges from its edges. This arrangement helps to solidify and give shape to light, whereas at the same time it directs it to the 4 cardinal points.

An array of 32 copper pipes (matching the number of the Concordia victims) hangs inside the void space defined by the concrete staircase. The vertical openings created on the building’s form create an air passage. As the wind blows, the sculptural tubes whistle out a tune and the concrete surfaces that surround them echo the voices of the victims.