Architecture Mixed Use Award II

Young Visionary Architecture Competition 2023 - Winners


Miruna Marincas | Romania

Project Title: Infrastructure of Water in Architecture – Baneasa Thermal Baths
Project Typology: Thermal Baths and Water Purification Station

Project Description

The project starts with the resource, continues with necessity and ends with poetry.

Colentina River in the North of Bucharest city forms a chain of lakes with its own history and natural scenery.  In the still largely present areas of wild nature, the built environment is in the process of adapting to the place. On top of that, large pieces of fenced territory on former industrial areas extend to the lake shore, blocking access to the river and sometimes obscuring its presence. This represents the template on which the livable city must now take form.

Focusing on Baneasa Lake’s immediate vicinity, we see uncontrolled urbanism, dictated by immediate needs, where the absence of public space and utilities to accompany the solitary popped up villas is felt to the extent of the obligatory roads missing. By placing a public utility for the community on Baneasa Lake shore, adjacent to an important road – Straulesti – the proposal tries to redirect public space towards the lake’s thematic landscape. The uncovering of another water resource, natural thermal water, in the site’s underground deposits, generated the function of the proposed public building. 

The project gets to play with the functionality and expressivity of water in its diverse forms, transforming the resource in motif, elevating the technological process involved in working with water and borrowing its perceptive qualities to the built space. The cyclical circulation of water inside the baths, the wooden structure, space proportions, rhythm and materials aim to convey a sense of nature, while also embracing the beauty of human made technologies.

1st runner up

Luan Fontes | Brazil

Project Title: Out of sight
Project Typology: Sustainable dance school and emergency social housing

Project Description

The place chosen for the implantation was the Frades Island, in the northern area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Located in the literal southeast of the state, in a slightly dense region, just 11 km far from the city center. The project land is characterized by the combination of landscape formed by plains and an intense and preserved afforestation that configure the bucolic climate, having as principal view the Presidente Costa e Silva Bridge which connects Rio de Janeiro to Niterói. Having as object of study extensionist projects of local relocation, as well as the learning resulting from the experience of residents, the project aims thinking the island from the limits that define it, whether physical-tangible or social, assuming a critical reading about the role that they play on these resident´s lives. 


The project was thought during 6 months, with an estimated execution of 4 months. In it, I proposed the insertion of 42 conteneirs of 20 foot treated with thermal insulation, totaling a space built of 620 m to meet two needs: a dance school that previously operated in spaces adjacent to the church and three emergency social housing, which would serve as temporary shelter for the residents, always having on mind the necessity of a fast and accessible construction, with materials of easy insertion on the local.

Their project aims to respect the limits of the existing topography, tracing the axis of the street parallel to the neighboring building, a church dating from the XVIII century, within the limits of the unified lots, taking advantage, above all, of the space in which it had been the stage of small tenements belonging to the local religious.


As a result, we have a project with a structural system 85% lighter than the usual masonry and that takes half the time to be executed, in comparison to any other common building. Already in the community, thanks to the larger space we have for the cultural area, we would be able to double the number of children attended by the school, changing, therefore, the young local population’s reality. We can also count with internal and external lounges and social areas that make the buildings key parts in the community's experience. The addresses would provide not only temporary shelter the three local families, but could also serve as shelter to other families in the future. 


he project as a whole, together with the political local movements and extension research, warn/alert about the need for government and society care towards the remaining population of Ilha dos Frades, especially the right to access to culture and decent housing, present in the Brazilian constitution. It comes as a conversation topic the importance of the historical-ancestral preservation of the place, through the generations of families that since the century XIX have been there, whom thanks to the project would continue to inhabit the place and mitigate, therefore, the effects of gentrification and real estate speculation in the Rio´s port area.

2nd runner up

Alessandro Pagliuca | Switzerland

Project Title: A new “fil rouge” in the Loire Valley
Project Typology: Various typology

Project Description
  1. The infrastructural interventions in the Loire Valley serve as a poignant example of how rapid changes in human needs are reshaping the natural landscape. The construction of the Gronjant dam in 1958 marked a significant turning point, leading to a profound transformation of the Loire River. Industries, ancient railways, and pathways were submerged, severing crucial connections between numerous historical and precious sites in the region.

    The proposed intervention seeks to repurpose the abandoned viaduct by establishing a floating walkway, acting as a tool to mend these lost connections and facilitate the creation of infrastructures that will host open functions and activities. The strategy involves a dual approach, addressing both the water and ground sides.

    On the water side, floating elements, such as piers for boats, water terraces, or secondary walkways, will be integrated to facilitate cross-river movement. On the ground side, open functional infrastructures will be implemented. The main structure comprises a few modular elements in prefabricated red concrete, allowing for a flexible composition that can manifest in various typologies, such as towers or linear blocks.

    Within this structure, independent volumes will house diverse functions, including hotel rooms, offices, classrooms, sports activities, and libraries limited only by imagination. These volumes can vary in size, form, and shape, tailored to the specific functions they accommodate. The use of concrete and metal in the design aims to achieve harmony through the shared red color palette. Over time, the rusty metal will naturally evolve to match the red hue of the concrete, contributing to an overall harmonious aesthetic.

    Since 1958, people have been relegated to enjoying the Loire from hilltop vantage points. This project endeavors to reintegrate them into the heart of the valley, restoring a sense of connection to the natural and historical richness of the region.

Honorable Mention

Nastassia Kustouskaya – Maciek Szukała | Serbia – Poland

Project Title: Convento de Santa Monica Extension
Project Typology: Architectural extension

Project Description
  1. The extension project serves as an expansion of the Convento de Santa Monica in Lisbon's Alfama, an area steeped in history with narrow, irregular streets dating back to the 12 century. 

        The primary objective was to seamlessly integrate the old monastery, situated on an abandoned site, with the innovative extension designed to incorporate recreational and healthcare facilities, including a spa. The overarching aim was to rejuvenate both the historical monastery and the surrounding area, infusing new life into these culturally rich spaces.

     The idea of the project is based on the flow of movement along a functional path,  defined by the volumes of the monastery and the spaces of a new structure,  both interlocking with each other. 

      The composition originates from the idea of mirroring the cloister, a covered walk in a convent with a colonnade open to a quadrangle on one side,  by point reflection. 

      The project's functional path starts within the original entrance to the monastery, and leads the visitor like a ribbon,  along art ateliers and gastronomy,  located around the original, pre-existing cloister. Later,  the structure opens up into the garden,  offering a walk on top of the new structure,  rich in views and open space. 

       The lower level of the garden can be accessed by ramps,  which extend the serpent-like composition of the path. The outdoor pool is arranged inside of the new cloister. The plot can also be accessed from eastern an southwestern sides. On the southwestern side,  the ground level and street level were equated,  in order to provide a seamless and clear transition into the space of  the garden.

     The pool module is assessed by a wide entrance,  positioned strategically by the ramp,  which connects the original cloister of the monastery with the garden. 

      The exterior pool is a variation on cloister theme,  reinterpreted in a maximally simplified form - it features a partially submerged colonnade and an additional water tank,  which provides a view on the garden through a subtle aperture in the exterior wall,  placed right on the level of swimmers sight. 

       The interior pool,  placed below the upper level of the garden, is illuminated by a longitudinal skylight,  which organises the space of the pool  as well as movement  on top of the structure. Over time, the garden ascending onto the roof of the new structure will seamlessly merge with it, creating a harmonious integration.

       Additional functions, including performative space,  exhibition rooms and library, as well as student dormitory, were placed in the volumes of the pre-existing building of the convent.
        The exterior design of the building extension draws inspiration from the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, a modernist complex in Lisbon and the iconic Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright in Pennsylvania.

       As for the interior, the design takes cues from Balneario de la Fuente Santa in La Palma by Antonio J. Cidoncha, Koldo Fernández Gaztelu, and Jokin Lecumberri; Peter Zumthor's thermal baths in Vals; Jorge Sodré de Albuquerque + VHM ArchTendências' Hotel Axis Viana; and a contemporary Japanese bathhouse by Kubo Tsushima Architects.