In November 2014, a volcano on Fogo Island, Cape Verde, erupted, spewing forth massive amounts of lava and destroying the homes of hundreds of people from the nearby village of Chã das Caldeiras. One of the buildings in the volcano’s wake was the National Park Cultural and Administration Center – a sleek, dark building designed by OTO Architects and winner of the 2015 ArchDaily Building of the Year Award for Cultural Architecture.
Captivated by the lunar landscape and the sudden destruction of architecture, architect Adrian Kasperski has designed three new speculative projects that respond to the events and culture of the island: A Volcanism and Culture Centre, a Vineyard and Hotel, and a New village to replace the leveled Chã das Caldeiras.
Volcanism and Culture Center
Designed to replace OTO’s Park Headquarters, this building is located on the border of two entirely different landscapes. Cutting into the ridge of the caldera, the program elements have all been placed below ground level, making the building disappear from a distance. A public square in the center of the building serves as the entrance, as well as a flexible space of respite. The glazed surfaces of the structure curve towards the center of the ridge, creating a perfectly framed view of the nearby volcano.
“Noticing the unusual nature contrast has awakened my imagination and became the starting point for the designed architecture,” says Kasperski. “The project was treated as an opportunity to create a “connection” between the inside and outside of the island.”
Vineyard and Hotel
The next project element is a facility that attempts to activate the area through alternative tourism sources – a hotel and vineyard. Ramps extending off of the park trail lead people to an observation deck offering panoramic views of the caldera, the volcano and the water.
“The whole refers to the terrain form – the view results from the topography, where the facility is located. On one hand the form is slightly raised above the ground level, forming a horizontal block, on the other hand, it is embedded in the rocky slope of the rising caldera. The central part was designed to be a generally accessible square. This solution allowed the consistent combination of the two functions,” say Kasperski.
The last intervention would be to construct a new village to which the displaced community could return. The village would be located near the new northern road to the caldera, and would contain important town facilities such as a school, a market and a church. To match the natural terrain, individual buildings would cascade along the hillside, linked together through a network of alleys, irrigation canals and pavilions. Interstitial spaces could be used as orchards or vegetable gardens to provide food for the community.
Other important elements would include an extension of the road to the caldera to create a loop of circulation, allowing for new distributions of traffic that could provide resources for additional new constructions of the island.
Hoping to see Fogo Island gain recognition for its unique beauty, Kasperski sees alternative tourism sources as the perfect solution to helping the island redevelop in a sustainable manner.
“The vision of the development of the Fogo island along with the active volcano caldera is a very complex project, because it combines the cultural issues, social issues, nature and architecture. The aim was not to create the building itself, but analysing the relations and processes of the human environment and interpreting it into the language of architecture.”