New Concordia Island by Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore

New Concordia Island by Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore

Sunken cruise ship the Costa Concordia would be transformed into a watery memorial garden in this competition-winning conceptual design by London architecture graduates Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore.

New Concordia Island by Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore

The cruise liner fatally struck a rock off the coast of Giglio Island, Italy, on 13 January, causing the deaths of 30 passengers and becoming the largest passenger ship in history to capsize. A year on, the ship is still in place awaiting a £250 million salvage operation.

The competition, organised by research platform ICSplat, asked architects and designers to come up with alternative proposals for the site, as part of a strategy to reassess how new landscapes can be developed amongst the remains of a traumatic event.

New Concordia Island by Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore

Architectural Association graduates Laing and Belfiore were awarded first place with their proposals, which suggest removing the 35 percent of the boat that rises above the water and adding plants inside the remaining compartments of the former rooms. "The fragment immersed becomes the container of new activities and crossings of the ship among paths, tanks of water and surfaces planted," explain the designers.

Two floating pathways would lead out across the water to create a route for visitors from the coast of the island to the surface of the memorial.

New Concordia Island by Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore

Second place was given to Italian studio Vulmaro Zoffi with designs to generate an artificial reef as a habitat for marine species, while third prize was shared between Francesco Tonnarelli and Andrea Cippitelli of Italy and Architectural Association graduate Wynn Chandra.

The proposals come just over a year after two memorial fountains opened on the site of the former World Trade Centre. Watch a movie about the plans for the 9/11 site here.

See all our stories about memorials »