How we won that competition? | Site Mirador by Arkxsite

In this article, we continue our series on Competitions.archi, presenting a collection of articles on different architectural competitions. Today, we will be featuring the winners of the Site Mirador by Arkxsite.

The primary objective of this series is to delve into the design process behind each winning project. We are eager to learn from architects and designers about their journey to victory in these competitions. How did they secure their win? We are curious to explore their creative path, from the initial concept and early blueprints to the final comprehensive plan. Additionally, we want to understand the choices they had to make along the way, including the solutions they discarded. Most importantly, we aim to uncover the grand idea behind each project. To achieve this, we will request sketches, drafts, and detailed descriptions, enabling us to fully grasp their techniques and the processes that led to their award-winning designs.

This article forms part of the Architecture Competitions Yearbook 2020, where you can find more captivating stories and inspiring projects similar to the one highlighted below.




The Site Mirador competition has been a great chance to experiment and to put thoughts and gestures into architectural spaces.

Since it is an open ideas competition, it’s a great occasion to express yourself and to deep reflect on the choices and feelings that guide the design process. Taking it as a useful time to learn and to grow.

This project has been a an opportunity for reflection, for a personal challenge. The fact of not considering the competition, but living it as a good moment of experimentation, was certainly a stimulus to design something not for those who would judge the project, but for the pleasure of doing it and to learn, and taking the time to do it, seeing how thoughts change, evolve from day to day.


Reinterpreting geology

It was certainly a starting point: to take a mental image of nature as a magnificent sculpture, to consider the coasts of the Algarve as a masterpiece that water, over time, has sculpted.

 A defining element of the project was then the reflection on the gesture of “digging”, as an action that gives shape to matter, as the ocean waves are continuously shaping the cliffs.

The key concept of the competition came from this: to re-propose a materiality that was born from this attitude, and from here to create an architectural atmosphere.




Shaping matter

Literally starting “digging” was fundamental to get in contact with the material.Producing clay prototypes, feeling this gesture directly with the hands has been the tool that guided the design process. Certainly sculpting in a different way from what water does, but the results were surprising, “natural”, exciting. An approach to the project starting from the raw material, which the lead to the physical model of the project.


  Betweenn Land and SeaThe plans of the Mirador are an attempt to represent the relationship of this new materiality with the context in which the project is inserted.The intention is to maintain contact and balance with the pre-existing ruins but at the same time looking for a new identity for this project. A presence as primitive element connected to the ancient preexistences, the Mirador aims to be a crossing between land and sea, a point that leads to the discovery of the horizon, to meditation, a filter of natural lights before the complete openess to the landscape of the ocean.  


Author: Sofia Nembrini from Italy



If you would like to ready more case studies like the one above please check our annual publication

 Architecture Competitions Yearbook.



Categories: Articles
Date: June 6, 2024