The Alentejo, in the centre-south region of Portugal, is characterised by cold winters and excessively hot summers. This has shaped a particularly dense architecture with thick walls, confined spaces and small windows to control the temperature inside the houses. Over time, architectural elements like the 'Alentejo chimney' have been blocked, leaving the already dark, interior spaces with very little ventilation and triggering problems with humidity. To bring more natural light and quality to these spaces, the project suggests making the chimneys functional again and giving them a new purpose – to act as light channels.
The jury was intrigued by the simple idea and by its strong presentation. The project takes its starting point in a realistic situation and a real challenge, and subsequently suggests a solution that seems realisable as a very simple intervention. The solution for improving natural ventilation and introducing reflected light considers the hot summers and refers to the special light of Alentejo. The project is beautifully illustrated and very poetic in its description, thanks to the work of the Portuguese photographer Artur Pastor. For the jury, it is a clear winner in the category for Western Europe.