Polish winners of the 6th INSPIRELI AWARDS in the architecture category!

Dobrawa Bies
19 of November '21

Agnieszka Chudy and Jędrzej Słomiński from the West Pomeranian University of Szczecin designed an observation tower in Iceland and won in the architecture category in the 6th edition of the international competition for architecture students INSPIRELI AWARDS, beating 1286 projects! This is the first edition in which Poles stood on the podium.

1308 students and a 500-strong jury!

The 6th edition of the competition involved 1308 students from 86 countries around the world, who submitted 1286 projects. 60 projects from 29 countries qualified for the finals. For the first time in all editions of the competition, Poles stood on the podium! The international INSPIRELI AWARDS competition for architecture students was held in three categories: architecture, interiors and urban design. Submitted projects can be of any theme, but it is important that they were made during their studies.

First prize for Agnieszka Chudy and Jędrzej Słominski in the architecture category.


The submitted works were judged by an international jury of more than 500 architects! Among them were, among others: Budi Pradono from Indonesia, Vincent Marani from the USA, Jurgen Mayer from Germany, Robert Konieczny from Poland and other renowned architects from Canada, Czech Republic, Australia, Vatican City, Malaysia, Iran, Italy, New Caledonia, among others. The full list can be found on the organizers' website.

Projekt In between

Poles have created a futuristic observation tower

© Agnieszka Chudy, Jedrzej Slomiński

First prize for architects from Poland

The results of the 6th edition of the competition were announced at the end of October this year during a livestream from Prague, which was also broadcast by ArchDaily and Amazing Architecture. Three grand prizes were awarded in three categories. Maha Aziz of Egypt received first prize for her Agora project in the urban design category. Duo Alena Kokueva and Silviya Al Ubed from Russia, thanks to their design for a concert hall in a former church, won in the interior category. The first prize for architectural design went to Agnieszka Chudy and Jedrzej Slominski for their concept of an observation tower in Iceland "In between"!

You caught our attention with a beautiful and magical arrangement of space, a place you created. I am not afraid to say that you have created a place that has a soul. "In between" is perfectly realized, convincing and hard to miss. The design solutions work on the viewer on several levels, are connected to the environment and preserve the natural surroundings. One admires the futuristic shape, formed by triangular elements that evoke an "ice landscape." The choice of materials is strongly adapted to harsh weather conditions and takes into account sustainability [...]. In conclusion - this is a great example also of small architecture that deserves recognition. This building would enrich and enhance what few buildings can offer. This is the power of architecture and your winning project! - justified the selection by jury chairman Martin Dudasko.

Wieża widokowa
zagospodarowanie terenu

The building is located near the Grjótagjá caves

© Agnieszka Chudy, Jędrzej Słomiński

futuristic observation tower

Agnieszka Chudy and Jędrzej Slomiński located their project near the Grjótagjá caves in the northern part of Iceland, between tectonic plates. The caves house some of the most beautiful geothermal pools in the world and became very popular after appearing in the Game of Thrones series. All of the caves are located in close proximity to each other, two of them being only fifty meters away.

We looked for solutions that provide simple amenities as well as amazing architecture. With the increasing number of tourists arriving in search of the perfect photo spot on Instagram, the natural lava fields are being damaged. Therefore, in order to protect the natural landscape, we wanted to make the gap between tectonic plates safer and more accessible, the authors explain.

projekt znajduje się
na styku dwóch płyt tektonicznych

The project was placed at the junction of two tectonic plates

© Agnieszka Chudy, Jędrzej Słomiński

The young architects created a design for a stop, an observation tower "In between", where tourists could stop, before exploring the caves. They designed a staircase connected by viewing platforms placed at key points, so that the visitor would not step on dangerous rock formations. The authors also thought of using geothermal pools - bathing in them would be paid for, which would allow maintenance of the equipment and the possibility of introducing safety instructions for using the caves.

Jedna z plansz
konkursowych projektu In between

The authors also introduced modular paths

© Agnieszka Chudy, Jędrzej Słomiński

In between

The tower was located between the tectonic plates of the European and North American continents. The visitor is informed of this fact at the entrance, and the connection between the two plates has been reflected in the facility's floor. The authors also thought of a small center - an information desk, consisting of a one-person office, cashier's office and locker rooms and bathrooms. In the observation tower itself, a café has been placed at the disposal of visitors, allowing them to spend time waiting to enter the caves and admire the landscape, sunrises and sunsets. In order to better protect the delicate environment, as a design solution the architects used modular paths in the form of meshed, triangular elements that relate to the building's facade. The pathway module can be replicated throughout the Vogar farmland.

Wnętrze kawiarni Rzut punktu informacyjnego

Interior of the café and projection of the information desk

© Agnieszka Chudy, Jędrzej Słomiński

concrete, quantum glass and tuff

The architects took care of Vogar's protected land by designing ready-made structural and façade elements that can be delivered to the site by air. The materials used for the tower's construction allow the building to fit into the context of the landscape.

The structure of the observation tower consists of two main parts: a concrete base embedded in the ground with seismic isolation, and a structural steel wall - prepared before installation. The seismic isolation also protects against tectonic movements of the shifting slabs.

Konstrukcja wieży widokowej

construction of the observation tower

© Agnieszka Chudy, Jędrzej Słomiński

The facade was clad with weathered steel elements, both with smooth and, porous surfaces. The inner walls were made of a mixture of concrete and volcanic tuff with an irregular, hand-formed shape. Handrails and platforms for people with disabilities are mounted to the walls. The roof and walls of the tower's top are glazed with quantum glass, generating free solar energy and insulating it from the outside elements.

The small information point building has a similar structure - a concrete base and walls and a steel roof structure. The roof covering is a natural mixture of volcanic tuff, which provides thermal comfort and alludes to traditional building methods.
The simplicity of these materials emphasizes the beauty of the raw environment, which is changing with the buildings over time.

In between szkic projektowy

design sketch

© Agnieszka Chudy, Jędrzej Słomiński

winning and what's next?

Winning the INSPIRELI AWARDS is a prestigious international achievement, exceptionally important for young architects. In addition to the "Wings to the Future" trophy, Agnieszka Chudy and Jędrzej Słomiński received the INSPIRELI AWARDS certificate, were invited to the competition's board of advisors, received membership in the American Institute of Architects, and after graduation joined the INSPIRELI AWARDS international jury.

 Agnieszka Chudy
i Jędrzej Słomiński z nagrodą

Agnieszka Chudy and Jędrzej Słomiński with the award

photo: organizers' archives

Read also about the final works of the 5th edition of the competition: the ReFactory project by Patrycja Czechowska and Katarzyna Winkler from Wroclaw University of Technology, and the revitalization of the African amphitheater project by Katarzyna Dybala from Silesian University of Technology.

We invite you to participate in the next, 7th edition of the INSPIRELI AWARDS competition, registration has already started!

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