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LOT #2

B U R E A U
S O N - g r o u p

B A S
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V A D I M

S M E T S
V O S T E R S

1. REVEALING THE LANDSCAPE7
1.1 MULLHOLLAND DRIVE
1.2 NORWAY DETOUR
1.3 ANSELM ADAMS YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK 

2. RIVIERA DRIVE15
2.1 COASTLINE AND NATURAL LANDSCAPE
2.2 RIVIERA DRIVE AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPE 

2.3 EXEMPLARY LANDSCAPE

3. LANDSCAPE SEQUENCES25
3.1 INHABITED SLOPES
3.2 BEDROCK BALCONY
3.3 TWIN TOWNS
3.4 PORTO PALERMO
3.5 FERTILE VALLEYS
3.6 CULTIVATED TERRACES

4. RESEARCH THROUGH DESIGN41
4.1 STRATEGIC NECESSARY INTERVENTIONS
4.2 SIMULATION OF THE STRATEGY
4.3 APPLIED LANDART
4.4 PERCEPTIONS

Riviera Drive & Pristine Coastline
The project for the Albania Riviera offers the opportunity to radically
rethink its image, its use and its organisation.
The Albanian side of the Ionic Sea is characterised by two lines lying
at a variable distance : the Coastline and the Coastal road. Due to its
rock formation the latter is not lying next to the former. The Coastal
road is actually rarely very near to the Coastline at all.
This has created a very interesting situation : On the one hand the
Coastline is made out of singular and isolated moments. It is largely
unspoilt and characterised by a series of beautiful beaches, lush
tributary valleys and steep rocks formations. On the other hand the
road connects the man made environment of villages, castles and
terraced cultivation on the hillside.
We propose to reinforce this double system in which the Coastline is
revealed as a pristine natural landscape waiting to be explored, while
the road becomes a ‘Riviera Drive’ offering vistas on both mountains
and see while connecting all the elements of the cultural landscape.
The relationship between the natural and the cultural landscape is thus
defined by their section. The varying distance between Coastline and
Riviera Drive creates a number of sequences that are very different
in morphology and character : from the Inhabited Slopes of Dhermi to
the Twin Towns of Himara to the Fertile Valleys of Borsh and Qeparo.
Each sequence should have its own identity offering different
opportunities for tourism and local economies. Every intervention
and investment should be conceived as an integral part of this double
system, reinforcing the dialogue in section.
We propose to start with all the necessary interventions such as
signage, street furniture, lighting and public places. All of these
elements should be part of the same family of objects that reveal the
landscape through a language of ‘applied land art’.
Bas Smets

1
R E VE ALI N G THE LA NDSCA PE

1 . 1 MULLH O LAND D R I VE

Barabara Fine Summit
Overlook

Dead Man
Overlook

Audry
Overlook

Overlook
Deep Canyon
Overlook

Hollywood Bowl
Overlook

Johnson
Overlook

Universal City
Overlook
Nancy Hoover Pohl
Overlook

Overlook

The Groves
Overlook

Stone Canyon
Overlook

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Constructed in 1924 by the City engineer William Mulholland, the road became
quickly one of the most famous thoroughfares in United States. Built on the ridge
of the mountain, it offers on both sides panoramic views on the city the mountains
and the ocean. Its scenic quality has changed the road into a strong regional
landmark and a specific attraction for locals and visitors. Offering a strong visibility
to the landscape, the road itself has revealed the vast surrounding landscape.

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1 . 2 NO RWAY D E T O UR
Lofoten

Geiranger-Trollstingen

Havoysund

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50

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In Norway, the coastal road crosses several natural landscapes presenting
different conditions (Islands, bays, wet hinterlands, mountains, etc.). In order to
increase the touristic offer in the area, several panoramic points were implemented
and designed according to a specific landscape or view. Here the landscape has
imposed a specific approach everywhere, creating singular experiences along
the road.

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1 . 3 ANSE L AD AMS Y O SEMITE NATION A L PA RK

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With his photographs, Anselm Adams revealed the tremendous beauty of Yosemite
natural landscape, leading to its preservation as a national park and subsequently
its transformation as a major touristic attraction. Through art, natural components
are perceived landscape, a composition, a natural organisation revealing its own
structure.

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2
RIVIERA DRIVE

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The Albanian coast is a contrasted environment. Mountains falls into the sea with
different intensities and various topographics declinations. Our territory could be
seen as first as an in-between area, a mitigation zone where the natural elements
create several distinct environments along the coast line. These natural conditions
have deeply influenced the human settlements along the road, creating on top of
the natural landscape a man-made landscape, called cultural landscape.

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Following the coastline and its natural beaches, the natural landscape stretches
inland following natural rivers and seasonal streams. It is also composed of the
coastal areas presenting a strong declivity, preventing human settlements and
offering a sparse maquis vegetation. Along the bays and the tributary rivers, some
astonishing natural peculiarities can be found, such as natural caves, canyons,
waterfalls and underwater springs.

2 . 1 C O AST LI NE AND NATURA L LA N DSCA PE

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The Riviera Drive finds its way through the relief offering various astonishing
panoramic views on the landscape. It crosses also distinct man made environments.
A large part of the coastal area is characterized by olives, citrus and orange
groves on terraces. Only a few villages are located along the coast while most of
them are located along or near the Riviera Drive. Within their urban fabric, many
singular religious buildings, castles and high value historic traditional centres can
be found.

2 . 2 R I VI E R A D R I VE AND CU LTU RA L LA NDSCA PE

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The entire coast is then perceived as a meeting area in between two parallel linear
systems. Development should occur favourably within the cultural landscape while
the natural landscape should be seen as a preserved environment, only sheltering
light temporary accommodations. Considering these two systems could ensure a
coordinated and integrated development along the entire coast. The exemplary
landscape could also be integrated within the local masterplan and policies.
Revealing the specificities of the road and coastline systems leads to specific
strategies not based on mercantile approach or natural amenities consumption.

2 . 3 E XE MPLARY LAND SCA PE

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3
LAND SCA PE SEQU EN CES

3 . 1 I NH ABI T E D SLO PE S

On the northern part of our site, the mountains goes down smoothly into the sea
offering large terraces and long pebbles beaches. Here the natural and cultural
landscape are mixed in between the Riviera Drive and the coastline. Once a strong
productive environment, the slopes are now facing a strong urban pressure and
present already numerous private developments within the groves. Villages along
the Riviera Drive present a strong cultural interest with various religious buildings.

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3 . 2 BE D R O C K BALC O NY

The Riviera Drive and the villages are separated from the coast by a strong
topographic boundary. Thus this area is still more natural and do not present
a strong touristic related development. Some hidden bays offer great natural
peculiarities such as caves and canyons.

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3 . 3 T WI N T O WNS

Following the Riviera Drive, the two Himara towns are respectively on top and
at the bottom of a cultivated valley. The new town is located on the seaside
and it composed of numerous new developments while the old city, despite its
historical and cultural value, is lacking of investment and renovation.

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3 . 4 PO RTO PALE R MO

The Riviera Drive is crossing a natural contrasted

environment where high

mountains directly meets the sea to create a unique protected bay along the
coastline. The bay is one of the rare point where the Riviera Drive and the coastline
meets.

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3 . 5 F E RTI LE VALLE Y S

Two cultivated valleys are surrounded by steep mountains. This dramatic
landscape scenery offers a great variety of environments such as a long linear
beach along the coast, old villages and castles on top of the cliffs. The groves are
implemented along a geometrical rational irrigation system.

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3 . 6 C ULTI VATE D T E R R AC ES

From the Riviera Drive to the coastline, the entire landscape was once reshaped
by men. Cultivated terraces of olive and citrus trees has deeply shaped the ground
and created a unique environment. The Riviera Drive crosses linear villages on top
of the terraces. Due to the lack of accessibility the beaches are mainly preserved
and present different natural conditions.

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INHABITED SLOPES

BEDROCK BALCONY

TWIN TOWNS

PORTO PALERMO

FERTILE VALLEYS

CULTIVATED TERRACES

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4
R E SE AR CH THROUG H DESIG N

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1. Reinforced urban structure
and historic polarities

4. Hiking and Eco-tourism
focus development

7. Light temporary accomodations
along the coastline

2. Combined development

5. Footpaths within natural
protected environment

8. Historic renovated village
as unique accommodation

3. Increased accessibility
through terraces landscape

6. Natural preserved coastline

9. Harbour and sea activities
focus development

INHABITED SLOPES

BEDROCK BALCONY

TWIN TOWNS

Revealing the singularities of each landscape as a mitigation between two
linear system helps us to identify possible priorities or singularized strategic
developments for each sequence. Along the coast, several strategies could be
implemented to push towards a specific development (eco-tourism, agro-tourism)
and increase everywhere the experience and the attraction of each site. Those
strategies are considered as a first step to discuss with all the stakeholders and
the partners to identify what could be done before the next touristic season and
what could be seen as long term vision.

4 . 1 STR AT E GI C NE CE SSA RY IN TERVENTION S

10. Recreational objects
implementation

13. Experience of dramatic views
and contrasted landscapes

16. Enhanced living experience
in the groves

11. Historical objects
preservation and accommodation

14. Reinforced irrigation system
and unique agricultural pattern

17. Perserved and reinforced
unique terraces landscape

12. Contemplation objects
implementation

15. Qualified buffer area in between
the groves and the beach

18. Peculiar beach development
through natural landscape

PORTO PALERMO

FERTILE VALLEYS

CULTIVATED TERRACES

Part of the strategy is also to include locals and inhabitants in the process.
Renovating the villages, finding and marking old paths to climb, reinforcing the
terraces and irrigation are seen as strong interventions and cannot be done
without the local knowledge and experiences. It is a vital process to include
everyone in the future development to reach an integrated territorial strategy.

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The Riviera Drive can become the real spine of the future economic and touristic
development through its connections with the natural features and the touristic
attractions both along the coastline and inland.
Through this continuous spine the aim of the strategy is reinforcing the dialogue
between the cultural and the natural landscape.

4 . 2 SI MULATI O N O F T HE STRATEG Y

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BUREAU BAS SMETS + SON-group + VADIM VOSTERS

Luigi Ghirri

Richard Long

Ettore Sottsas

Christo and Jeanne_Claude

Chris Engman

Vadim Vosters

Ettore Sottsas

Andy Goldsworthy

Hannes Van Severen

Louisiana Museum

Marc Wilson

Luigi Ghirri

4 . 3 APPLI E D LAND ART

Once we have identified a specific strategy for each landscape sequence, we
are able to develop a specific intervention to enhance the experience of locals
and visitors on a peculiar site. Along the Riviera Drive, panoramic views and
refurbished urban centre offer a new frame on the landscape. In the groves or
in the maquis, lines, paths and trails could be drawn to create new pedestrian
accesses towards the beaches. On the coastline, specific objects will enhance
the variety of recreational uses while characterizing the beaches.

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4 . 4 PE R C E PTI O NS

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RIVIERA, LOT#2

OBJECT
Riviera LOT #2 phase 2.

DATE
November 2014
ISSUED BY
Bureau Bas Smets
i.c.w.: SON-group
Vadim Vosters

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of Bureau Bas Smets. They may be neither reproduced nor further distributed
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© BBS Fall 2014

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