EL PANTÀ DE SAU: El Pontón De Los Peregrinos | The Pilgrims Pontoon

William Campbell (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formDesign

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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.


“…listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

Lubbock, J., 2001. The use of Life. Boston: Elibron.

Throughout history, water has been synonymous with religion, meditation, and the picturesque; physically and philosophically representing acts of reflection, purification, and respite. Faced by a global pandemic, war, climate crisis, social and economic challenges, communities more than ever require places , spaces and moments which offer the opportunity to step away from the woes of modern life; an opportunity to recuperate both mentally and physically.

Drawing on the backdrop of of El Panta de Sau within Les Guilleries national park, El Pontón De Los Peregrinos (The Pilgrims Pontoon) acknowledges historic and vernacular architecture where vaulted and arched masonry structures prevail. The proposed floating pavilion utilises cork as a primary material, a carbon negative material adopted in load bearing cross vault format. The striated textural cork blocks mimic the surrounding landscape, presenting a solidarity and weight whilst conversely creating a buoyant platform on which pilgrims recuperate.

The architectural experience commences as visitors depart the land either by watercraft or connective bridge, this transition from land to water marks the beginning of a restorative journey. On arrival at the pontoon an immersive experience is offered engaging sight, sound, touch and smell. Whilst some visitors may wish to quietly contemplate and observe the landscape and religious relic from the perimeter of the deck, others may feel more compelled to fully engage in the act of purification through a refreshing plunge into the top lit, petal filled pool found centrally within the pontoon."
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLiverpool
PublisherLarsen Liverpool Limited
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


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