UNVEILING THE RIVIERA

restore, connect and activate the region

S

ymbioticA

PolyLester

Unveiling the Landscape

5

Intro

6

The present and the future

8

Existing situation

9

Future scenario

10

Principles

12

1. Restore

14

Quarries

15

Building typologies

16

Extended bay promenade

17

Public space design

18

Signage wayfinding

19

Road profiles

20

Unfinished structures

21

Military infrastructure

22

2. Connect

23

Connect the scales

24

Road and trails

25

Strategic plan

28

The unveiled Riviera

30

3. Activate

32

Activities

41

Art as attractions

44

Implementation examples

46

Zoom in 1

54

Zoom in 2

62

Zoom in 3

3

Unveiling the Landscape

Intro
Wandering through the Southern Riviera is journey of
mix-feelings. The amount of different scenarios that
are juxtaposed to each other is astonishing: crowded
beaches are just few hundreds meters away from
virgin white-sanded bays; the massively urbanized
Sarande and Xsamil are opposed to tiny rural villages;
between high mountain and the sea are often only a
few kilometers. This dramatic landscape is enriched by
marvelous archeological sites and unique ecological
treasures.
But many scars mark the urban and the natural
landscapes. Unfinished buildings, built-up coastline,
illegal dumps and quarries are some of the elements
that down- grade the overall aesthetics and functional
qualities of the region.
Furthermore the Riviera is suffering from a 2-month
mass tourism opposed to a 10 month isolation, where
only a few visitors to the Butrint archeological site can
be spotted.
Our proposal aims to -unveil the hidden potentials of
the Riviera from its eyesores. We propose to uncover
the qualities of the area and bring them to live. Is not
a radical trasnformation, but a clear framework that
enables to – restore, - connect and - activate the area
starting from what is there.
‘Unveiling the Rivera’ is also a strategy that aims
to reconnect the local population with their own
land and give the region a place in the international
attention that it deserves.

5

1. The present and the future

8

Unveiling the Landscape

The present and the future / existing situation

Sarandë

Dritas

Pllake

Vurgu i Ri

Ksamil

LEGEND
Butrint National Park
Butrint Archeological Park
Beach Zone
Urban Zone

Butrint

Productive Agricultural Zone
Restored Agricultural Zones
Natural/Park Zone along tophill of coastal area
Vrinë

Water Bodies

Shendelli
Xarrë

City Park
Restored Landscape Zone

Natural Landscape
Urban Waterfront

Mursi

Private Access Beaches
Shkallë

Undifined Potential Beach Area
Çiflik

Public Bays with facilities

Virgine/Untouched Bays

Unveiling the Landscape

The present and the future / future scenario

Sarandë

Dritas

Pllake

Vurgu i Ri

Ksamil

Butrint

Vrinë

Shendelli
Xarrë

Mursi

Shkallë
Çiflik

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10

Unveiling the Landscape

Principles

Goals

Current situation

1. RESTORE
S.1
S.2
S.3
S.4
S.5

Legal and illegal quarries.
Legal and illegal garbage dump sites.
Large amount of construction waste.
Large amount of unfinished buildings.
Several barren areas in the countryside.

2. CONNECT
S.1 Lack of possibility to access the open landscape and
hinterland.
S.2 Absence of dedicated bike lane.
S.3 Thematic trails only present yet in the Butrint archaeological area.
S.4 Water is scarcely used as means of transportation.

3. ACTIVATE
S.1 Recreation focused solely on beach holiday and archeological sites.
S.2 Tourist season limited to 2 months (July & August),
hardly any economic activity in remaining seasons.
S.3 Coast so far mainly frequented by regional tourists (Albanians, Kosovarians, Macedonians).

Unveiling the Landscape

Criteria for success

1. REHABILITATE THE LANDSCAPE
R.1 Consolidate abandoned quarries and landscape scars.
R.2 Remove illegal garbage dump sites; Relocate legal dump sites away from touristic and environmentally
sensitive areas & tracks.
R.3 Reuse construction waste (e.g. for trail and road construction or filling of abandoned quarries); Remove
remaining construction waste to legal dump site.
R.4 Draw up clear boundaries and regulations of areas to be protected, preserved or re-naturalized; Identify
which unfinished buildings can be removed or reused; Introduce art and temporary installations to activate
desolate or unfinished buildings; Remove redundant building structures in remote, inaccessible or protected zones; Use greenery to cover and integrate unfinished buildings back into the landscape.
R.4 Revitalize barren landscape areas with productive agriculture and nature.

2. CONNECT WITH ALTERNATIVE ROUTES
C.1 Connect beaches, hills & mountains and hinterland with pedestrian trails.
C.2 Create cycle connection from Saranda to Ksamil (following the EuroVelo network).
C.3 Create network of new thematic trails along coast (serving all seasons, different target groups & bigger
area).
C.4 Exploit different water bodies as transportation means (with a focus on tourism); Connect different
water transportation modalities & water bodies.

3. FOUR SEASONS
A.1 Exploit further the good local climate condition – extend summer holiday activities from May – October.
A.3 Extend local production & related activities (local food markets, special restaurants, mussel farm, etc.).
A.2 Establish new activities and infrastructure for slow recreation (hiking, biking, bird watching).
A.4 Offer variety of nature experience and adventure activities: Paragliding, rock climbing, camping, horse
riding, bird watching, sport fishing.
A.5 Create more water activities: sailing, water-ski, scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking on the canals.
A.6 Improve public space for active urban entertainment: biking, roller blading, jogging, partying, relaxing,
etc.
A.7 Create attractive spaces & infrastructure for seasonal urban life: yacht club, cruise ship arrival point,
open air festivals, attractive shops, elegant casino.
A.8 Improve permanent urban life activities: extend services for boat maintenance, increase local fishing
industry.
A.9 Establish all-year events (theatre, international conference, sport competition, festivals, art exhibits).
A.10 Promote the opportunities of the “Four-season trail & holiday” to international audience and travel
agencies.

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1. Restore

14

Unveiling the Landscape

Quarries

No

Yes

Rehabilitation of quarries

Illegal quarries are often used as dumps

No

Quarries in the natural protected area

Scars in the landscape along the infrastructures

No

Yes

Quarries reused for small to large scale events

Consolidation of landscape ‘scars’ with vegetation

Yes

Unveiling the Landscape

Building typologies

No

Yes

Visual relation with sea and open acess to the beach

No contructions blocking the sea views and access

No

Yes
Top Hill Green Area

No unplanned contruction on ridges

Construction allowed only under a given hight line

No

Non-characteristic colors and building materials

Yes

Characteristic colors and building materials

15

16

Unveiling the Landscape

Extended bay promenade

No

Yes

Promenade attached to main buildings along the bay.

Yes

Existing promenade in Saranda.

No

Build promenade over the water.

Yes
Narrow stretch between constructions and water edge.

No
Promenade instead of small constructions next to water.

Yes
HOTEL
Narrow stretch between constructions and shore line.

No

Promenade on part of existing parking lots.

Yes
HOTEL
BAR

Big resort with parking between main building and beach.

Promenade built on top of beach bar.

Unveiling the Landscape

Public space design

No

Obstacles to pedestrians along public space.

Yes

Walkable promenade, common materials, simple design.

No

Rural remaisn in central urban areas.

Yes

Local solutions.

No

Poor visibility between street and promenade.

Yes

Public space design enhances visibility and orientation.

No

Poor architectural quality.

Yes

Strict architectural quality control.

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18

Unveiling the Landscape

Signage - wayfinding

No

Yes

Invasive way-finding

No

Way-finding in harmony with its context

No

Oversized way-finding

Yes

Way-finding integrated in the pavement enriches the public space

Unveiling the Landscape

Road Profiles

Road between building blocks - No visibility to the sea
- Integrate trees to screen the not integrated constructions
- Integrate bicycle lain
- Integrate road signage
- Integrate urban lighting

Road Section between sea and building
- Integrate greenery on the building side.
- Leave open the view to the seaside.
- Integrate waterfront
- Integrate beach facilities within the waterfront
- Integrate bicycle lane
- Integrate road signage
- Integrate urban lighting

Road Section between sea and nature
- Replant the hills
- Take out the rubish
- Integrate waterfront
- Create beach facilities within the waterfront
- Integrate bicycle lain
- Integrate road signage
- Integrate urban lighting
- Integrate small control and planned decks

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20

Unveiling the Landscape

Unfinished structures

No

Typical building partially used and partially unfinished

Yes

Light installations

No

Unfinishes structures

Yes

Art on empty buildings

No

Unfinished and randomly built structures in Saranda

Yes

Trees hiding unfinished or illegal buildings.

No

Isolated unfinished structure in Saranda

Yes

Integration of certain structures in nature.

Unveiling the Landscape

Military infrastructure

No

Yes

Yes

No

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2. Connect

24

Unveiling the Landscape

Concept / Connect the scales

EuroVelo network / line 8

The Riviera is suffering from a 2
month-season and attracts too few
toursist from outside Albania. Foreigners
usually land in Sarande on organized trips
from Corfu. They stay in the Riviera only
for a few hours and are brought Butrint by
coach, leaving little room for interaction
with their surroundings. To make the Riviera and its small businesses, restaurants
and farmer shops more easily reachable
from within and from outside Albania and
to expand and improve the services of
the region, we propose a list of priorities
of which many are in line with current
planning.
-Increase the number of ferries from Corfu, expand the schedule to other destinations, (Durres, Bari and Igoumenitsa etc.).
-Create a small scale water connection
Sarande-Ksamil that can relieve the road
system from the summer traffic pressure.
-When the airport is a proven and feasible
option, locate it at the SH99 corridor and
not at the agricultural plain.
-Connect the ferry terminal of Sarande
with a dedicated bike lane to Ksamil-Butrint. This route can be used by
tourists from ferries and cruisshiphs, but
also as alternative route to the beaches
and through he country. The bike lane
should follow the EuroVelo requirements
and its Line 8 track.
-Address pass trough traffic to Greece to
the SH97 and keep the SH98 as a touristic
scenic attraction.
All these infrastructural measures have
to be approached in parallel in order to
address a sustainable development in balance with its landscape.

Unveiling the Landscape

Concept / Road and Trails
PANORAMIC ROAD

The southern Riviera has an incredible array of different landscapes and
under-exploited attractions. A lack of
accessibility on the local scale prevents
visitors to enjoy the region and its
local qualities. Accessibility however,
is a sensitive topic. We want to make
the various attractions accessible, but
we don’t want to spoil the ‘adventure’
allure of this landscape, and we are
conscious that new connections, if not
supported by clear rules and guidelines,
can increase unregulated development.
Our proposal uses the existing panoramic road as a backbone for a new
system that can expand the recreation
potential of the area.
Multifunctional platforms along the
road are the starting points for trails
that connect the road with the many
and diverse attractions. Open air activities, local productions and urban life
are linked in one comprehensive body
that take maximum advantage of the
existing qualities and become carrier of
new sustainable development.

mountain hut

water gateway

agriculture

beach

fish farming

pargagliding platform

archeology

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26

Unveiling the Landscape

Strategic plan

EuroVelo network Line 8

Unveiling the Landscape

zoom-in 3 [see p.62]

zoom-in 2
[see p.54]

zoom-in 1 [see p.47]

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28

Unveiling the Landscape

The unveiled Riviera

multifunctional platform
farm house
archeological site

eco camping
olive grove
waterfront

panoramic platform
accessible beach

marina

Unveiling the Landscape

refunctionalization of existing
quarry: art and events

paragliding platform
lodge

citrus orchard

bee hives
fish farming

bird watching / wetland

In our vision is key to understand that approaching
the coastal area alone is a mistake. The region has
to be approached in its whole structure, a complex
sequence of different landscapes intertwined together
and dependent of each other. By increasing the accessibility and promoting a year-round program we aim
to activate the cities and the villages, the agriculture
fields and the wetland, the beaches and the mountains.
A new identity where the wild atmosphere and the
local traditions are preserved and form the foundation
for a respectful and profitable us of the landscape.

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3. Activate

32

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Year-round attractions
water activity
markets
paragliding
bird watching

The southern Riviera has already all the potentials to go beyond its 2-month
touristic season and become a year-round attraction. We identify different activities that can take place in the area taking advantage of the urban settings as well
as the open landscape. Different target groups can be attracted from both Albania
and abroad if the recreational structure is potentiate, made accessible and promoted in different channels.

horse riding
wind surfing
olive grove
fish farming
theatre
citrus
beaches
honey
urban life
archeology

Let’s take for example December, January and February, a period when the
beaches are empty and the tourism in the area is virtually non-existent. Citrus
and olives harvest can be exploited as a cultural/educative attraction; bird-watching reaches it’s maximum interest because of migrations passing through the
area; horseback riders can enjoy the countryside as well as the snowy mountains
within a short distance; periodical local markets showcasing typical products as
olive oil, honey, mountain tea, mussels can attract visitors off-seasons.

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Beach

33

34

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Slow recreation

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Local products

35

36

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Adventure

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Water

37

38

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Urban entertainment

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Seasonal urban life

39

40

Unveiling the Landscape

Activities / Permanent urban life

Unveiling the Landscape

Art as attractions / Observation towers

41

42

Unveiling the Landscape

Art as attractions / Landmark art

Unveiling the Landscape

Art as attractions / PolyLester

43

4. Implementation examples

46

Unveiling the Landscape

Zoom-in 1
Sarande

Ksamil

Butrint

Unveiling the Landscape

The Butrint canal is one of the most valuable areas of the Southern Riviera. Its value and uniqueness
come from the variety and richness of landscapes that
characterise the land next to the narrow strip of water.
Firstly the canal is one of the best fishing spots of the
area, because of the tide that is regulating the stream
inwards and outwards of the lagoon. The wetland on
the north side and the polder in the southern part of
the canal create an astonishing contrast. Last but not
least the archeological remains of Butrint and the Ali
Pasha castle are extraordinary cultural attraction.
Our intervention starts from the understanding of the
background condition, to unveil the qualities and make
them accessible while protecting them. The Platform
[P1] is an existing asphalt surface that is empty ten
month of the year. Here we propose -with subtle inter-

ventions and an agenda of events- to extend the use
of the platform for a multitude of activities and events
throughout the four seasons. A large parking lot for
the busy summers becomes space for local markets,
sports, small events and, on the top of all, a panoramic platform.
Just by taking advantage of the level difference, steps
can create a unique place from where people can
relax and enjoy the view of the Ali Pasha castle, the
Butrint plain with Corfu in the background. The platform is the starting point for trails that aim to create
a narrative by joining different dots in one story. The
dots, point-shaped attractions -panoramic towers,
pockets spaces, little piers, art pieces and kiosks - are
meant to enhance the accessibility of the landscape
and create a new, fresh and subtle identity to be discovered.

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48

Unveiling the Landscape

Platform

Sports

Market space and events

Parking

Way finding and art

Unveiling the Landscape

The SH97 and SH98 roads already have several platforms along their routes. Asphalt surfaces used as
parking spaces during the summer period are empty
during the rest of the year. These areas are the starting
point of a system of trails that connect the road with
different urban and natural attractions, and they embed the possibility for a more extensive use throughout
the whole year. In fact they can be used as multimodal platforms flexible to host a series of scenarios and
events in relation with the seasons and based on the
sustainable exploitation of the local qualities.

Vermosh scenic route

Existing situation

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50

Unveiling the Landscape

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52

Unveiling the Landscape

The trails that connect the platforms at the main
road with the different attraction point become an
experience on their own.
View points, art pieces, different landscapes and a
variety of programatic possibilities mark the path
facilitating the orientation and transforming it into an
exciting journey.

Unveiling the Landscape

53

54

Unveiling the Landscape

Zoom-in 2
Sarande

Ksamil

Butrint

Unveiling the Landscape

The entrance point to the Lagune of Butrint offers a
spectacular setting of a diversity of different landscapes
and attraction in utmost proximity to each other:

Right at the narrowest point of the Laguna peninsula
and at medium level between sea, lake and hill tops we
propose to implement a multifunctional service platform acting as a staring and end point to all close-by
destinations and performing the following functions:

- the Riviera coast with its beautiful virgin bays and
views towards the open sea and West;
- the mystic Laguna lake on the East side overlooking
wide stretches of mussel banks in calm waters resembling like an endless reflective pool;
- the historic Monastery of “Shen Gjergj”, located on
top of a steep hill close-by offers a splendid 360 degree
panorama view across the whole region.
Our intervention aims at strengthening and protecting
this special landscape experience by implementation
of a carefully integrated service infrastructure network.

- viewing platform,
- orientation to other destinations and pedestrian trails,
- parking (shaded by trees),
- local market area,
- event space (e.g. open air cinema).
Local public service points (such as toilets, shower,
bars and resting spots ) are proposed to be implemented directly at the singular attractor functions and can
be also integrated with private investments.

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Unveiling the Landscape

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Unveiling the Landscape

seasonal event

seasonal market

parkings

path and viewpoints

Unveiling the Landscape

WHATCHING POINT

VIEW PLATFORM

LAGUNE

HOTEL FACILITIES

SWIMMING POOL

PLATFORM MIXED USE
PARKING/ SEZONAL MARKET/ EVENTS
BEACH AREA

Geiranger Norway, viewing platform

Existing situation

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60

Unveiling the Landscape

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62

Unveiling the Landscape

Zoom-in 3
Sarande

Ksamil

Butrint

Unveiling the Landscape

Saranda has to accept that it has become a real city.
Albanians still remember Saranda as a small fisher
village and their strolls along a itspromenade, the pearl
of the Albania Riviera. The explosion of concrete in the
past 25 years have irretrevably destroyed this serene
atmosphere. But not all is lost.
If Saranda leaves its past behind and looks for other
role models it can become a thriving city in the south
that is sought after as a destination but also as a home.
Saranda boasts a fantastic climate and is – already now
via Corfu – very accessible. It is located in beautiful
surroundings and can potentially couple this with a
clearly urban feeling and comparable amenities.
As a basis we imagine the cruiseliner terminal to host
also bigger cruise ships providing passengers with
direct access to the city persuading them to take more
advantage of what the it has to offer. The promenade
is in a fairly good condition and can be complemented
by a marina at the heart of the bay, much larger than
earlier proposals and comparable to Corfu or even
Monaco.

The promenade should be repaired in a few parts
where the flow of pedestrians is hindered. A bikelane should be added that continues along the shore
towards Butrint. Hotels and bars along the coast will
profit from the increased number of visitors.
An abandoned building and a storage area currently
occupy the main hinge of the promenade. This could
be developed into a much-needed urban square. It
brings the city to the promenade, negotiates between
the different levels of the city and hosts truly urban
program like markets, concerts and gatherings.
Towards the east we imagine extending a main axis
of the city into a “sunset boulevard”. The endpoint of
this is an urban balcony at the fisher harbour that can
be developed as a nightlife neighbourhood, without
nightly nuisance to the main bay but a great strip of
bars and café to cruise along, by foot or in a Ferrari. A
series of trails extend from the city to the direct hinterland, for example through the western valley, meeting
the coast behind Maja e Eremetçit and returning along
the shore. The former military area should be conserved as a park, similar to Mont Juic.

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Unveiling the Landscape

m
c. 500
c. 920m

Bay of Saranda

Abandoned building and a storage area occupying the main hinge of the promenade

0m
5m

37

49

Gouvia (Corfu) Marina, Greece

m

0
c. 44

m

0
c. 40

Square on promenade hosting urban life

Port Hercule, Monaco

Unveiling the Landscape

Sarande / World class urban life

World class urban marina (view or Port Hercule, Monaco)

Virbant city life overlooking the bay (Placa Real, Barcelona)

New night life standard in the Balcans (view of the Linq on Las Vegas Strip)

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www.openfabric.eu

www.cityfoerster.de

open@openfabric.eu

rotterdam@cityforster.net

Oostkousdijk 12A, 3024 CM

Delftsestraat 9c, NL 3013 AB

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

S

ymbioticA

PolyLester

www.symbiotica.net

www.polylester.com

info@symbiotica.net

info@polylester.com

Rruga Thoma Kacorri No. 5, Pll. „SKAI“, Kati 06, 1023

Nieuwpoortkade 2a, 1055 RX

Tirana, Albania

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Unveiling the Riviera