Competition: Salt-pan house - Final report

The Salt-pan house competition has met with a wide response from teams from all across the world. A total of 890 teams registered for the competition, while 252 teams submitted their complete proposals in time. Roughly 20% of the participants were from Slovenia and 80% of the participants were international. Due to the unexpectedly high number of participating teams, the jury – architects Maruša Zorec, Maja Vardjan, Boštjan Vuga, Matevž Granda, Srđan Nađ and Miloš Kosec, and conservator Etbin Tavčar – decided to divide the process of deliberation into two stages: the individual part and the collective part. In the first, individual part, the jury members individually graded the received proposals. In the second, collective part of deliberation, the jury members discussed thirty proposals which received the highest total sum of grades. The selected winning proposal will be built in spring 2020 in collaboration with Soline d.o.o., the Sergej Mašera Maritime Museum Piran, Alfanatura d.o.o. and Outsider magazine.

The jury deliberated at two sessions on February 24th and 26th, in which the jury members discussed the shortlist and decided upon the awards in the following order: the proposal with the code WFMHRQ is awarded the first prize, proposal S4UC9K is awarded second prize, and proposal NNHM8B is awarded third prize. The jury also decided to award three honorable mentions to proposals with codes QBXP9N, BK6H59 in PT4KPB.

The jury found a vast majority of the received proposals to be clear in their design, meaningful in their message and effective in their presentation. In spite of their versatility, several similar approaches could be identified amongst the proposals. These proposals can serve as the illustrations of the dilemmas posed by the state of the Sečovlje salt pans. The first and the second award are, in the opinion of the jury, the best examples of the two of the most sensible approaches. The winning proposal starts with a reminiscence of a seemingly unstoppable decay of the area, but through a creative gesture transforms it into a polemic challenge to the visitors from near and far. The second proposal sets in place a transformative strategy which is adapted to the selected ruin but could, with variations, serve as a model and prototype for the whole area. The jury would like to stress both of the approaches’ qualities and express hope that the first strategy might in time lead to the second one, consequentially leading to the long-term preservation of the exceptional intertwinement of natural and cultural heritage in Sečovlje.


First prize

Author: Victoria Tsygankova

Full proposal is available here:

First prize: 191-WFMHRQ Panels

Seemingly simple schematic dark silhouette of the former salt-panning house on closer inspection turns out to be a mere ghost: instead of four walls and a roof, it is comprised only of two intersecting planes. The structure is a roaming spectre: its relationship with the ruin is subtle, yet detached: in addition, it stands for all the other half-demolished and long gone saltpanhouses. It is not only a sign in space, however: the silhouette, identical from all angles and with a set of disorienting passages in its walls, transform the anguish of Sečovlje salt pans into an enigmatic visual-sensual experience which intrigues not only the visitors, but also the cyclists and car drivers in the distance – the peoplewho might otherwise never visit the salt pans. Out of a romantic decaying landscape, an all-too-familiar sight, the project creates a polemic question which cannot be overlooked.

First prize: EUR 3.000,00 gross + EUR 2.000,00 to cover travel expenses and accommodation during the building documentation workshop

Second prize

Author: Ben Weir

Full proposal is available here:

Second prize: S4UC9K Panels

The proposal is generative and projective, without pathos and with a healthy measure of adaptable pragmatism. An elegant construction, supported by three points carries the slanted roof,which protects the ruin. At the same time the roof enters into a relationship of equals with the ruin, contrasting the old and the new. The project does not grieve for the past, nor does it try to reconstruct the lost condition, but freezes the decay here and now. Within the familiar dilemmas of adaptation, reconstruction or slow decay, preservation of the existing conditions is a more radical option than might seem at first glance. A special value of the project is the elegance of its structure, the intelligence of its connection to the specific context of the ruin and the creation of a new ambient between the roof and the ruin. Most valuable, however, is the transformative approach created by the project without reconstructing traditional, now lost roofs or adding concrete binding to stone walls. With a specific as well as generic pragmatism it prevents further decay of one ruin while demonstrating a strategy for the whole area.

Second prize: EUR 1.500,00 gross

Third prize

Authors: építész stúdió / Tamás Fialovszky and Gergely Kenéz

Full proposal is available here: Third prize: NNHM8B Panels

The project is polemic and radical: instead of a reconstruction or a memorial, it proposes a spatial frustration, hiding the ruin from sight and physical access. More particularly, it keeps it from human sight and access; the wooden panel contour hide preserved stone walls and create a bird shelter inside, birds being both the blessing and the problem of heritage preservation in the salt pan area. The proposal awarded the third prize is alternately witty and nihilistic, but never straightforward. The ambiguity of the project raises questions and reinforces dilemmas already present in space, but simultaneously radicalises the barely visible processes of disappearance and makes them visible in the form of an architectural frustration.

Third prize: EUR 500,00 gross


Honorable mention

Author: Lovre Mohorič

Full proposal is available at:

Honorable mention: QBXP9N Plakati.PDF

The project is distinctly performative. Instead of a spatial intervention, it proposes participatory action, through which the visitors would construct a copy of the stone ruin themselves: a negative of the disintegrating house would thus rise against pre-constructed wood panelling. But as the proposal team emphasizes, the physical result of the action is less important than the action itself. In a vast space, where it seems impossible to halt or influence the slow persistence of decay, the collective gesture of visitors and participants is an act which can re-introduce the possibility of change.

Honorable mention

Authors: NOYD collab

Full proposal is available here:

Honorable mention: PT4KPB Panels

The project at the same time is and is not a reconstruction of the former object. The house frame, built within the stone walls of the ruin, upon a closer look turns out to be a stone ossuary. In its dense grid of niches, individual stones from the disintegrating object in which it is situated are arranged. These are re-elevated from the gravel of ruin scrap, but are not placed in their original position. A memento mori of sorts, the project rejects overwhelming pathos and, instead of a simple reminder of the present circumstance, creates a new thoughtful interior.

Honorable mention

Author: Konstantin Frolov

Full proposal is available here:

Honorable mention: BK6H59 Panels

The project does not touch the ruin, but rather envelops it with a protective walkway. The isolated remains are excluded from their surroundings, simultaneously becoming a self-sufficient sensory theatre. Isolation of the ruin from the gaze and, with the exception of a single door, also for the physical connection with the visitors, means a reinforcement of the presence of the ruin here and now. The project distances itself from the ruin protection and rather defines itself as an attempt to manipulate the visitors’ perception. The walkway therefore exhibits all the characteristics of a medieval contemplative cloister, adapted for the Sečovlje context.


Special mention of edtiorial board:

Authors: Jaka Korla, Hana Leban

Authors: ARP studio, Matjaž Bolčina, Ernest Milčinovič, Jan Žonta; Poems: Miljana Cunta

Authors: Marco De Vincentiis, Silvio Pennesi, Emanuel Falappa

Concept and execution: Outsider magazine with partners, editor-in-chief: Nina Granda

Partner and exclusive contractor:

This project is a part of a partnership network Platform Center for Creativity co-financed by European Union from European Regional Development Fund and by Republic of Slovenia:


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