Portuguese building destroyed by volcano wins top design award

Architecture || It is a bittersweet accolade. Portuguese architects have won a top building award – but their creation lies in ruins, destroyed by last year’s volcanic eruption on Ilha do Fogo, Cape Verde.

The minimalist “Edifício Sede”, built in the Parque Natural da Ilha do Fogo, cost over €2 million and survived only seven months.

The Portuguese who designed it were nonetheless delighted by the recognition given by International Archdaily Building of the Year 2015 – saying it served to highlight the quality of Portuguese architecture.

The 3,200sqm building, constructed at a height of 1,800 metres, won in Archdaily’s “Cultural Buildings” category and was doubly extraordinary for the fact that it was constructed in an area almost completely devoid of water, electricity or any other infrastructures.

Thus it was self-sufficient – even using lava in the mixture of its concrete building blocks, to give a special ‘local’ feel.

The winning team – the only Portuguese contestants among 3,000 projects submitted – was made up of André Castro Santos, Miguel Ribeiro de Carvalho, Nuno Teixeira Martins and Ricardo Barbosa Vicente – all working for the Portuguese firm OTO, based in Lisbon.

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