Winner Ghost Town Refuge Competition


AUTHORS: Claudio C. Araya, Yahya Abdullah
PLACE: Craco, Italy
YEAR: 2020
STATUS: Unbuilt
INSTAGRAM [1]: @ccaraya_
INSTAGRAM [2]: @yayodems


How can a site carved from stone retrace the footsteps of the human fingerprint? An empty town with infinite stories, both of abandonment and fantastical romantics, must remain. Breathing a new life to forgotten history requires a careful surgical operation, like the recovery of a broken water vessel. The fragments speak stories of townspeople and the activity they have left behind, leaving only traces. A fossilized town can now be dis­covered and restored as individual moments. Meshing the damaged ruins through an operation of nesting and stitching begins to relive the town through a dialogue with the contemporary. A new system of nesting within the old, maintains the relic of the previous age while the necessity of the new may come to life.

Old is New. New volumes only find themselves embedded within ru­ined walls, allowing visitors to rediscover Craco through an archaeological type experience. The refuge shelters are embedded within a nest which act as a protective skin for the ruined walls. The notion of embedded box­es come to play, leaving visitors with legible layers of history. A gallery pathway is introduced within the cen­tral zone, linking the service center as a homogenous spine which can be explored outside or inside.

Ghosted Mesh. One must get lost in the forgotten, to truly discover its value. Every visitor’s journey is part of the restoration process. A site of the past is monumental to the person; the surgical stitching of a ruin becomes the mending of the soul. An operation of protecting the old, becomes a renewed spirit of the visitor. Craco is the embodiment of layered stone.


The competition organized by YAC in collaboration with Craco Ricerche S.r.l. addresses the ghost town of Craco, Italy in its state of ruin and abandonment. In bringing new life to the site, the town would see a sober intervention which allows for tourists to inhabit a restored Craco. The proposal named ‘Traces’ was selected for the first prize from a jury of architects, engineers and researchers.

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