YAC International Competition - Castle Resort, Roccamandolfi Italy

Team: Feng Xue, Kim Diep & Leonardo Lamanuzzi


The intent of the competition is to promote research-based ideas from young architects. The brief called for modern resort facilities on a historical castle site of Roccamandolfi, southern Italy. The resort location and programs are open to designers within allowed perimeter. The new resort should not threaten or obscure the existing architecture and landscape. Built form constraints include 5m height restriction, no more than 3000m2 footprint, and max1m excavation only outside the castle. The destruction of existing facilities and tree cutting are forbidden, etc.



Opinion: Two train of thoughts come to mind with respects to designing for historical architecture. To introduce a new typology into the area or to extend and conserve the meaning of the castle by acknowledging its existence including its past? Although it may have more than one answer, our design is more inspired by the latter.


Our castle resort facilitates both as a hospitality destination, also to revive the spirit of Roccamandolfi Castle.

The design begins by posing a question ‘What is a holistic Castle Resort?’, always interrogating the fundamental ideas of a castle and a resort as one unified program.

We understood the original inhabitants of Roccamandolfi’s castle struggled through invasions against imperial power; despite eventually erecting a sophisticated defence mechanism. Ultimately their conquest of land led to the demise of the castle, its inhabitants and surrounding area at a cost of death and misery.

In addition to providing a hospitality destination, our scheme sympathetically conserves and revives the spirit of Roccamandolfi castle, resonating with its history, extending into the resort by introducing the audience through a journey of discovery; continually discovering what 'secrets' lie beyond the Wall.

  • LAYERS:  History Showed the castle went through phases of erection, destruction and abandonment. Our scheme is to respectfully integrate a new layer acknowledging the past phases of Roccamandolfi Castle.
  • WALL:  The wall becomes our architectural language as it bridges the past to the present, connecting the castle to the resort; the remains of the castle walls concealed secrets and told stories. The wall can also obscure one’s direct sightline. To allow or deny views, to guide or to confuse, to hide or to present the treasures inside.
  • CHARACTERS:  On top of bringing in spaces of leisure, convenience and easiness to the resort, our design embraces the castle's sense of mystery, violence and conquest. Spaces of continuity and obscurity form experiences throughout the castle resort, which may trigger a sense of confrontation outside of one's comfort zone.
  • PLANNING:  Functionally the design inherits the hierarchy between the keep and the ramparts of the castle. By separating accommodation (ramparts) from the gathering space (the keep), it ensures ideal locations of both in terms of views and accessibility from the castle. Further to the ramparts protecting the keep, the ring layer of the resort casts the castle into secrecy.

Our castle resort scheme is to realise an exclusive tourist destination also to give a response to what Michele Del Ricci (mayor of Roccamandolfi, 2007) hoped for, ‘To help the population of Roccamandolfi reappreciate their past and find yourself the pride of your roots’.

castle resort axo