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mini challenge winners


Design a meditation place in the impressive setting of El Pantà de Sau using only one image. This image will show either:

- the external building you have designed within this dramatic landscape


- an interior meditation space that you have imagined with a strong connection to the outside scenery

This one image can be a sketch, visual, render, drawing, painting or photoshopped image, anything that can embody and communicate the essence of your mini design.

Considering the current environmental crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic that we are experiencing globally, it is important that we use our expertise as designers to create considerate and thoughtful sustainable architecture that feeds and nourishes both the earth and us as people. With this in mind, we are asking for applicants to design a piece of vernacular architecture that will be environmentally conscious with a minimal carbon footprint. It should set an example for how architecture can work with the surrounding landscape and benefit areas such as this protected natural park.


The idea is to provide an architectural beacon for the area that will attract short stay visitors and act as a gathering point. The building should also provide a space for meditation and reflection for visitors and the local community to come and step out of their everyday troubles, with a close connection to the surrounding nature and scenery.


El Pantà de Sau is one of the most prominent features of its kind across the whole of Spain and home to the oldest underwater church in the world.


The valley in which it lies was home to the small village of Sant Romà de Sau which is now submerged beneath the reservoir, apart from the Church steeple, which is still visible when the water level is low. The reservoir is one of many that provides water for Catalonia’s Capital city, Barcelona and is therefore of huge importance to the area.


The reservoir sits within Les Guilleries national park, a protected area spread across 8,300 hectares of the pre-Pyrenees within central Catalonia. Its mountainous landscape is made up of tree topped undulating mountains and dramatic sheer cliff edges. Steeped in nature, activities and rich history, the area has become a haven for the people of Catalonia and visitors to the region.




by team Fiat Lux

Winner Sau


We have noticed that the local residents had a very good interaction with the church —— they often took boats and frolicked beside the church.

There is no doubt that the church has become a part of the spirit of place and a part of the collective unconsciousness of residents.

Therefore, our design concept comes from "boat", which is a tool for local residents to interact with the church. We also hope to reduce the interference of the new building to the church, rather than replacing it with a new building.

So we designed a “ship building”, it provides a space for us to meditate. It has the following excellent qualities:

1. During the high water level of the reservoir, it became a substitute for the meditation function of the church. More importantly, its function will not be affected by the rise and fall of water level.

2. Because being undisturbed by others is a good quality of a meditation space, each space of the building should serves only a few people as much as possible. By increasing the number of ship buildings, enough people can be served.

3. The construction of ships is always faster and easier than other stone buildings. There is no doubt that the materials used to make ship buildings, namely wood, are also quite environmentally friendly. At the same time, we also believe that the scale and materials of the ship building make it harmonious with the surrounding landscape.

Yong Lin & Yangjian Pan



The 3 schemes below have been selected by the judges as the runners-up in this competition.


We are so proud of all the work submitted and the amount of thought given to each of the schemes. We would like to congratulate each and every one of you for embracing and celebrating the site's cultural heritage.