It may be shocking that the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed and now floats alongside the island of Giglio is going to stay there. Forever. However, for architects, this floating mass (which can be seen from Google Maps!) offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to create a hybrid land-water space for visitors and locals. An international competition asked design firms to activate the half-sunken ship and coastline as a new public space, and four lucky winners have been announced. From an underwater mall to a scientific geological raft, it's a good thing this boat isn't going anywhere, because these ideas are truly transformative.
First place went to Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore, in London. Their design includes suspended pathways that lead to a system of above-water walkways and decks. However, the real design is below deck, where the firm utilizes the submerged areas as underground (or underwater) courtyards, shops, and activity spaces.
Vulmaro Zoffi from Milan won second place with an unusual design that completely removes the visible wreckage. The firm wants to create an artificial reef that will help maintain the coast's sea life. Underwater, the vertical beams of the ship would be replaced with metal blades that would help colonize marine species. While the striking image of the boat above water would be gone, the firm believes an abstract form of its shape will still exist, as birds will fly over the wreckage in search for food, outlining the massive boat in the sky.
Third place saw a tie between Francesco Tonnarelli and Andrea Cippitelli from Macerata, Italy and Wynn Chandra from the UK. Francesco and Andrea created a similar design to the first-place winners, creating a dock walkway to the ship from the harbor. Various levels and fragments of the ship's above-water areas will become public spaces. The ship is then poised to become a positive site and new piece of the island.
Wynn Chandra's design is certainly the most technical of the group. The firm aimed to tie the natural water environments surrounding the ship to a rock matrix off the side of the island. This new geology would create an artificial ground for people to literally walk on water. The design would also elongate the island's landscape and transform the coast into a man-made, hybrid space.
Images: courtesy of New Concordia Island Contest.