Client: Young Architects Competitions
Status: Competition (2016)
Location: Isola, Italy
Coordinates: 37.003039, 15.335210
Climate: Temperate, Mediterranean
Types: Hotel, Residential
Latomiai [from the Greek word “latomiai”, composed of “lâs” – stone, and “tomíai” (from “témnein”) – to cut] is a vision: an extraordinary system able to reconnect mankind to the sea. Latomiai is a building, which resolves the great level difference between the city and the sea. With its strong but natural look, it becomes integral part of the coast of Syracuse. Its subtle materiality blends with the surroundings: washed concrete made from local aggregates and utilised as the only vernacular material, in its full thickness and thermal mass. The Latomie of Syracuse, like “l’orecchio di Dionisio” or the “latomie dei Cappuccini”, are enchanting places of enormous depth, unique in their kind.
They are effectively digs in the rocks shaped by time and water. Throughout the centuries many great travellers (page 2) have described them as lush areas of vegetation, shaped by light and shadow. An example of this is the extraordinary underground promenade, which connects the Duomo square to the sea. The city of Syracuse has grown with time; it has closed itself as a sign of protection but also opened up to the sea in a slow process of reconquering the mysteries of the sea. Latomiai is the symbol of that man who is willing to regain a natural and reciprocally respectful contact with the water.
An active change, which feels to be needed in the area of the lighthouse. The function of the building becomes secondary to the message which the latter aims to transmit: people are encouraged to rediscover the sea, approach it, rest and bathe in this extraordinary and unique marine environment. The uncommon one-person hotel stands high and untouchable in this scenery: a secret alcove willing to be conquered and experienced. One-person hotel is the nest of that man who feels the need to reconnect with the nature and with the self. A man who looks for a far deeper experience than the one of the prosaic 5 stars hotels.