An award-winning visitor centre completed last year by Oto Arquitectos on the Cape Verde island of Fogo has been destroyed by a volcano (+ slideshow).
Designed by Lisbon-based Oto Arquitectos as a headquarters and cultural venue for the Parque Natural do Fogo, the building was inaugurated in April 2014 and went on to be named cultural building of the year in Archdaily's Building of the Year 2015 awards.
But it has come to light that the structure only stood for seven months – it was completely wrecked when the Pico do Fogo volcano erupted in November.
André Castro Santos, one of the four founders of the architecture studio, has described the event as "traumatic".
"On the first three days the building resisted and stopped the lava, only the south wall was destroyed," he told Dezeen. "But on the fourth day the volcano got stronger and the building was completely swallowed by lava."
"It took us seven years after we won the completion and it lived seven months," added the architect. "We think buildings are forever but nature is stronger."
Fogo is one of the most prominent islands of the Cape Verde archipelago and has a population of over 40,000 people.
Pico do Fogo, which has previously erupted in 1995 and 1951, stands at the centre of the island. When it erupted again last year, hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes and a local airport had to be closed.
There were no reported casualties, but there was significant damage to buildings in the Chã das Caldeiras area, as well as to the Fogo Natural Park Venue.
Castro Santos said the cultural venue – which featured a library, indoor and outdoor auditoriums and a terrace bar – could be rebuilt in a new location, but it is unclear when this would be and how it would be financed.
"The PNF Headquarters was built near the villages of Portela and Bangueira – the aim was to create a landmark and help the sustainable development of Chã das Caldeiras," said the architect.
"Now it's all destroyed, if it's possible for the population to rebuild all the crops and houses, I think it will have to be rebuilt near that. If not, maybe outside the caldeira, but even so we can't predict what the volcano will do."
Very little of the original building is salvageable, but some equipment and energy systems were removed and could be installed in a new structure.
Photography of the building before the eruption is by Fernando Guerra.