• ANA Residences

    The residential complex AnA is situated close to the Student Village of Tirana University on a magnificent hillside. The oddly-shaped site starts with a narrow edge along the street and widens sloping down 15 meters of level difference. The building folds as a continuous figure, respecting all the necessary distances to the property line and on itself. This stepped form creates a local landmark with an identifiable skyline in a very heterogeneous context.

    The site opens itself to allow a pedestrian connection between the student village and the northern areas. This passage enlivens the commercial ground floor and the compound piazettas. The cuts in building volume are a response to the urban regulations and a way to break down the overall massing into pieces more related to the human scale. The same 'cut' approach is used in order to provide light and natural ventilation for circulation spaces. The attic floor has setbacks in strategic locations of the building for best views from the terraces for the exquisite apartments. The materialization aims for an elegant appearance with differentiated materials and patterns but an overall clean white look: the plinth is of fair-faced concrete with a diamond-shaped relief, the body from white plaster, crowned by an attic floor clad in beveled tiles for a shimmering reflection of the strong Albanian sun.

    completed
    2013
    41.321,19.851
    1000 Tirana
    Albania
  • House 1

    House 1 is the first built project of the masterplan 'mirror twins'. On top of a shared commercial ground floor a green link connects the site with the close-by park. The two seperate buildings connected by the common plinth are generating an enormous amount of requested square meters. Rather massive volumes are perforated by a series of programmatic voids that connect to a common circulation space, an inner void. The much needed public space is integrated into the building by creating a second entry level and reinterpreting the circulation space. The engraving appearance
    of House 1 refers to the typical salient facades of Tirana. Multiple tilted strips create a rich play of light and shadow.

    completed
    2009
    Rruga Jordan Misja 20
    8303 Tirana
    Albania
  • Park City

    The project is located on the western outskirts of Tirana, an area which has seen major development in recent years due to its prime location close to the main entrance corridor to Albania's capital. With a total of approx. 400.000 m2 built floor area the new district will house approximately 7.000 inhabitants. It stretches between two large parks, whose conceptual design also formed part of the competition brief. Runway Park is a 1,1 km long former landing strip and Lana Park is an extension of the city's main green axis. The design proposes an urban layout that forms a hinge between these two parks, making them accessible, as well as connecting them, whilst strengthening the distinctively different character of both. The urban structure reflects a combination of three typologies: 4 storey stripes, 12 storey towers and 8 storey 'urban rocks'. The aim is to offer a broad variation of lifestyles, as opposed to the prevalent development paradigm of 9 storey broken perimeter blocks in Tirana.

    completed
    2009
    rruga Abedin Rexha nr 167, Tirana 1033, Albania
    1000 Tirana
    Albania
  • CLG Training Institute

    A very special project in our portfolio is the Chalimbana Local Government (CLG) Training Institute in Chalimbana, Zambia as it can be seen as a good example of a passive and self-sufficient city. The aim of the masterplan was to increase the quality of life of both students and academic staff of the Institute, to structure the campus for the long term, and to provide the grounds with a clear, recognizable identity.

Low-tech in construction but high-tech in designing, we created a plan that included everything needed for an autarchic project. In a very sustainable manner, we used the excavated soil to press it into bricks contributing to the buildings being passively cooled and heated. To achieve that we mainly used the sun energy. From a special angle and material of the roofs to the orientation of all buildings to strictly East-West, with the main facades (North & South) avoiding the low angles of the sun, CLG Training Institute became an eco-friendly vision made into reality. Also, we made sure that the rainwater and the cleaned sewage can drain into the groundwater locally, granting a precise water cycle.

    The existing road provides access to the campus by car. Simultaneously, a new main route for pedestrian connections is established as the new 'heart' of the campus. It runs between the mostly residential area on the North and the educational program on the South side of the grounds. These two clusters - housing and education - at the two opposite ends of the campus are surrounded by the lecturers' houses, and by leisure activities. By closing off some of the student housing blocks, small neighbourhoods are created, with inner gardens and courtyards providing atmospheric living quarters.

    completed
    2021
    Lusaka
    10101 Chalimbana
    Zambia
  • Perspectives Gütersloh

    Over the past decade, many gaps in building blocks have been closed in the city of Gütersloh. Various areas have been upgraded or restructured. With the integrated action plan, not only the urban design of the city will be further sharpened. With the participation of diverse actors, new prospects for the long-term development of the city are presented.

    Strategic decisions are prepared to make the city centre adaptable for changing spatial requirements in the future. The integrated action plan defines key objectives for development. Conceptual and design requirements are defined for e.g. functional mix, open space planning, or traffic issues. These recommendations are implemented and spatially located in a strategic master plan. On this basis, future developments and project proposals can be tested and evaluated and individual measures can be derived.

    completed
    2013
    Berliner Straße 70
    33330 Gütersloh
    Germany
  • Cape Square Durres

    The design of the square strengthens the natural coastline of Albania which can be described as a sequence of capes. Our aim was to turn a necessary element of coastal defence into a public space that strengthened the formerly desolate promenade. The site forms the endpoint of this promenade and is divided into three parts: The park, the square, and the urban cape which acts as a public attraction, free of charge. The Park with the green beds and local trees supports the uniqueness of Durres and is easy to maintain.

    Following the geographical and ecological conditions, 'Cape Square' is seen from far away and invites to climb and play.
    Cape Square has been received extremely well as a real 'European Public Space' playing an important role in the electoral campaign of the incumbent mayor. It has featured in several music videos and countless wedding pictures and has been published and awarded widely. Cape Square is commonly known as 'Sfinksi' (The Sphinx) all over Albania.

    completed
    2015
    Rruga Pavaresia 66, Durrës, Albania
    Durres
    Albania
  • Open Neighbourhoods

    This urban design aims to create an attractive living environment for young families and couples and to give a new impulse to a large social housing estate from the 1960s. The existing open block structure will be maintained but is transformed into a structure with semi-private courtyards.

    Different typologies - i.e. houses with ground-level access, apartments with open floor plans - add variation to the housing supply. Within the building blocks, elevated courtyards create a safe environment for social interaction between inhabitants, especially young families. Notwithstanding their open character, these courtyards offer a clear visual and functional border between public and private spaces.

    Between the blocks, a sequence of car-free squares that draw on the surrounding structure contributes to a lively public space. To keep spaces as car-free as possible, most of the parking is organized in underground garages which are accessible from the edges of the block. By drawing on the existing structure, and by continuing the green belts and the existing rows of trees, the design creates a strong link with its surroundings.

    completed
    2016
    Erich-Klausener-Straße 1
    40789 Monheim am Rhein
    Germany
  • Durres Beach Hotel

    When designing the Durres Beach Hotel in Golem, Albania, CITYFÖRSTER faced the challenge of creating quality within an unpromising context. Golem, a popular beach resort, enjoys a prime location on the sea and is set in a mountainous landscape. However, the village has suffered from uncontrolled development, resulting in a sprawling blanket of buildings. The site for the new hotel is located in the third row from the beach and faces a highway on the other side.

    On the other hand, the site boasts a beautiful forest of mature Mediterranean pine trees and forms an anchor to a potential urban plaza in the south. In order to overcome the challenges, we designed a building rooted in the Modernist tradition, a compact building-block surrounded by greenery. This layout provides the entire building with light, air and space, and secludes the rooms on lower floors from their direct surroundings. An elevated roof garden compensates for the footprint and adds to the overall quality of the new hotel.

    All rooms have highly finished interiors, as well as balconies offering different views – either towards the sea, towards the mountains, or towards the trees. Each balcony is cladded in natural stone from different regions in Albania, which creates a distinct rhythm in the façade. The west façade corresponds to the adjacent buildings, whilst the east façade follows the patterns of trees. The end result is a positive eyecatcher, clearly visible from the highway and the sea.

    completed
    2017
    Shkembi i Kavajes, Rashbull, 2021, Albania
    Golem
    Albania
  • Gardencity 21. Green-urban-connected.

    The fringes of the city hold the promise to live in connection to nature, surrounded by landscape, open space and informal structures. At the same time, areas like these are criticized for their lack of functions, their boredom and their consumption of natural resources. How then – in the spirit of Ebenezer Howard - to create a "green urbanity" which is more diverse, dense, socially mixed and productive while at the same time maintaining the special qualities of the city edge? For the German BBSR, The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development we developed scenarios on How the Garden City can be translated to the 21st Century?

    A viable model can only ensue when spatial principles and specific qualities are brought and thought together with the processes, structures and stakeholders that shape the city. The planning approach for Garden City 21 therefore draws its topics, concepts and strategies from the context. Four sample areas illustrate how built and unbuilt intertwine, how aspects of a Garden City can be developed not only on the fringes of the city and how it can embrace local competences, programs and structures.
    Scenario-based designs and strategic stories are the starting point, and are used to illustrate the qualities of urban and open spaces, so as to be able to discuss them with stakeholders.

    Link to publication: 'Gartenstadt 21', Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung

    completed
    2017
    Am Markt 21, 28195 Bremen, Duitsland
    Bremen
    Germany
  • Dhërmi Waterfront

    The rural south of Albania is gifted with a spectacular coastline, unspoiled natural areas and rich cultural heriatage. Travel is an important driver of the economic development of Albania. However, developments of the past 20 years have been haphazard and do not match the touristic potential of the region. Being part of the Albanian Governments initiative of 'Urban Rebirth', the main objective of this project was the regeneration of the waterfronts of the villages Jalë and Dhërmi. Starting from the outstanding natural beauty of both locations, our aim was to structure and strengthen the coastline and connect it with its surroundings, both physically as well as ideally.

    In Dhermi this included freeing the main promenade from car traffic, providing basic infrastructure such as benches, bins, showers and fountains, but keeping the promenade at a low profile, seeking a continuation with the beach. At the entrance of the promenade an existing structure and a seasonal stream are integrated to form a watersquare, a landmark for the site which will include iconic lettering. A pier serves both for watersports but also as look-out and artificial cliff. The watersquare connects further inland through the 'valley of freshness' and invites for mountaineering and cultural activities.

    completed
    2016
    Rruga Kosova, Vlorë 9400, Albanië
    Himarë
    Albania
  • Kenniseiland

    DARE TO INNOVATE!

    As a part of a workshop procedure, Cityförster, together with Openfabric Landscape Architecture and Mijn WaterFabriek Systemen voor duurzam water, proposed an integral strategy for the Business & Science Park of the Kennispark in Enschede that tackles not only the challenges of extreme weather conditions but also the energy transition towards a CO2-free built environment by 2050. The concept is based on the construction of a blue buffer around the location that creates more space for rainwater, recreation and reinforces the identity of the location. Together with a network of smart rain barrels and 'The Hub' arises an inclusive system that celebrates conscious water and energy consumption within a green-blue-minded environment.

    CHALLENGES AROUND WATER MANAGEMENT
    The capacity of our current sewerage system is not designed for extreme downpours. If there is an overload, in a mixed system, the untreated wastewater is dumped into the surface water together with rainwater. That is why it is better to retain the rainwater locally. By temporarily retaining rainwater locally, damage can be limited. The peak of the discharge of rainwater towards the sewer is shifted in this way: the rainwater only flows slowly towards the sewer pipe when it is empty again. Rainwater can be retained by constructing wadis, ditches, above-ground water buffers, green roofs, rainwater ponds, underground storage facilities, water squares, or rainwater use installations. Where soil conditions allow, the rainwater can also be infiltrated directly by softening and greening as much as possible. However, to limit damage during heavy cloudbursts, this must always be combined with other water-retaining facilities, especially in places where infiltration is not possible due to high groundwater levels.

    On average, we use almost 135 liters of drinking water per day. Most of the drinking water is used for showering, flushing the toilet, and washing machines. Drinking is really just a little bit. A family pays an average of almost € 750 for the water supply: 30% of this is for the supply of drinking water, 26% for the sewage charge, and 44% for the purification and water system charges. Instead of disposing of clean rainwater with the sewer, you can also store and use it. Rainwater that falls on roofs is relatively clean. You can use it for the washing machine or the toilet, but also to water the garden. This way, it does not immediately disappear into the sewage system and it also saves drinking water. Furthermore, the consumption of water could be reduced by raised awareness among the citizens and businesses. It is also important to improve the efficiency use by e.g. installing water-saving showers and toilets. Greywater treated in wetland or through filters could also be reused.

    You can find a link to a reader (Dutch) with all the results of the workshop here.

    completed
    7511 AH Enschede
    Niederlande
  • Vlora Boulevard

    A scenic route that attracts locals and tourists.

    With the new Boulevard in Vlora, the second largest port city of Albania, we vitalized an important node of the city that was far from using its great potential of becoming the lively heart of Vlora. Here one can find everything the city needs; from bars, shops, and restaurants to theatres, mosques, the University and the stadium.

    The mission was to improve the public space that now is not only the biggest shopping street of Vlora but also acts as the spine of the urban structure connecting a variety of different programs with each other. The existing mix of regional and local functions and commercial and entertainment activities, that give the street a character with a high dynamic, has been strengthened.

    The boulevard used to be dominated by speedy car traffic and was characterized by palm trees that, unfortunately, were slowly dying due to a disease if not mostly dead already. The former noisy 4 lane street got downgraded into a 2 lane street to provide a 4 m wide free space for pedestrians to stroll and to promote the use of bicycles: A new service strip for terraces, furniture and all kinds of the local greenery.

    A lot of local greenery has been added to provide shade, reduce urban heat and improve the conditions and microclimate of the city. By using local materials and plants typical for the beautiful Albanian Riviera the design celebrates the identity of Vlora and emphasizes the genius local and topographical qualities and conditions. Sustainable and resilient materials for paving, using local planting and trees, define a public space that captures the characteristics of Vlora.

    completed
    2018
    Vlora
    Albania
  • Bar Center Fier

    Building on existing structures.

    The plot of Bar Center in Fier (Albania), located next to our projects Rinia Complex and Building Block on a central urban intersection and adjacent to an inner-city park, was occupied by an existing building from the late 1990s. This building – the plinth of an unfinished high-rise, which stood at three storeys high – was unassuming and unfitting for this prominent location; therefore, the owners approached us to extend the building and upgrade the existing floors. So we used the volume of the existing building as a starting point for the design.

    The addition activates the upper floors and makes them directly accessible from the new main square of Fier, to which the building now prominently orientates. The result is a stepped five-storey volume enclosed in a geometrical, rasterized façade. This geometrical façade, in turn, is partially clad in semi-transparent golden shading sheets, which function as a screen against the sunlight. Additionally, they bring more unity to the building's appearance. The volume, whose two newly added floors contain a publicly accessible rooftop bar with views over Fier, offers an urban topography that serves the city as a whole.

    completed
    Fier
    Albania
  • Carbon-Based Design

    How can we ensure that the 1,000,000 new homes that are needed in the Netherlands before 2030 exert as little pressure as possible on the already difficult-to-achieve climate targets? Even if all future homes are built according to the current agreements (BENG [nearly energy-neutral building], and 4% emission reduction in the industry), the CO2 budget for construction (under a 1.5-degree warming scenario) will be used in 2026 already.

    As the construction sector, we are currently responsible for 38 % of all greenhouse gas emissions. The problem is definitely gaining momentum in the debate; however, the focus within our professional community seems mainly to be on single methods or materials - whereas the solution lies in an integral approach.

    Carbon-Based Design is this approach. It provides insight into the CO2 cycle and what role the construction sector and the circular construction economy play in it. The focus is on embodied carbon (or material-related emissions during the production and construction process) in residential construction. By gaining insight into the construction process and which parts of it have the most impact on the total emissions, we can adjust our design and development strategy accordingly. The aim is clear: to design and realize buildings with the lowest possible CO2 emissions, or ideally even CO2 storage.

    With a focus on the emissions of production and construction and the ratio of operational and embedded energy, we found solutions for the way from carbon exploitation to carbon sequestration.

    You can download a full-resolution online version of the Carbon-Based Design report here.

    completed
    2021
    Rotterdam
    The Netherlands
  • Marconiplein

    How to raise a dike in an innercity environment?

    Nexus, from the Latin 'nectere', means a "connection or series of connections linking two or more things". Marconiplein is, indeed, at the crossroad of different flows: not only mobility but ecology, water protection, development.

    Our vision is rooted in the understanding of this space as a complex node, where traditionally, absolute priority has been given to transport. Our proposal aims to invert the paradigm of Marconiplein as a space - a sum of several leftover spaces- defined by infrastructures, but rather, addressing high-quality public spaces first, where infrastructural strategy follows. The design of the new square will be led by the principle of unveiling. If in history, infrastructures - considered as a major source of disruption - have been buried, hidden and elevated, technological progress and accurate urban solutions, offer now the opportunity of reconnecting to infrastructures.

    Specific solutions will range from sloping squares, new vertical cross-views, increased number of entrances, fostering the square as a seamless public space, where infrastructure is no more perceived as separated from the city.

    completed
    2021
    Rotterdam
    The Netherlands
  • Branch in the Landscape

    "Branch in the Landscape" presents a holistic concept that includes both the planned cycle and footpath connection across the Neckar and its relationship with the surrounding urban landscape. The focus is on providing residents and visitors with attractive incentives to switch to environmentally-friendly mobility. Urban planning, traffic, and design aspects are being developed into a uniform green infrastructure as a catalyst for new uses of the adjacent public spaces.

    Not only the residents will benefit from the new connections, but also the future users of the cycle expressway between Mannheim and Heidelberg. The infrastructure is deliberately compact and reserved in space and the cityscape. The functional path connection is supplemented at certain points by programmatic balconies, each of which enables a view of different landscapes and thus creates several places to come together and linger.

    Purposefully positioned buildings under the bridge structure (with potential uses such as a café and bicycle workshop) not only create a local path through the treetops but also create a new urban edge. Together with the bridge structure, this edge forms a new city gate in the west of Heidelberg and at the same time offers noise protection for the newly created Gneisenaupark.

    "Branch in the Landscape" creates a variety of spaces through the contrast between linear infrastructure and soft landscape, which also strengthens existing biotopes, creates new ones, strengthens the Heidelberg cityscape and helps previously separate neighbourhoods to create new synergies.

    completed
    2019
    Heidelberg
    Germany
  • Pavillion Days Korça

    Upside Down, Downside Up!

    For the 8th sculpture Symposium (2017), Korça Municipality invited a selected group of architects, together with sculptors, to create temporary pavilions triggering the revitalisation of public spaces.

    By inverting an abstract tree, Shu-Wei Chang, the sculptor, worked with the concept of 'roots-seeking'. The branches now grow towards the underground, recollecting the past, possibly finding some sort of lost identity. The proposition of this pavilion plays with this concept. A mirror that "returns" the sculpture to the "natural position" resulting in the viewer being inverted in relation to the surroundings. The structure, a form of a house, is stripped to its fundamentals. The materials choice (lumber and scrap wood) was intended to create a sustainable low-cost proposition while withstanding the time and made use of the limited availability of materials locally. Exploring further the 'back to the roots' concept, a traditional hanged Albanian carpet became the "soil" in which the tree seeks aliment. The pans (used to cook Korça typical meatballs) were positioned like flowers on a prairie. In conclusion, we aim to provoke a reflection of traditions as our identity ground in contemporary life.

    completed
    2017
    Korça
    Albania
  • TVET campus extension Mazar

    The TVET Campus Balkh consists of three different technical and vocational schools (an Agriculture and Veterinarian Institute, a Technical Teacher Training & an Engineering College) as well as student housing. The master plan for the campus extension aims to connect these three schools through common indoor and outdoor areas, to facilitate students' interaction and communication.

    The local climate was one of the main drivers behind the design. Both the placement of the buildings, the design of the facades, the implementation of shading and cooling elements and the water management of the campus have been customized to the local climate conditions to create pleasant indoor and outdoor spaces.

    A central square and the addition of trees link all main functions of the campus and create high quality outside areas. A multi-purpose hall provides the students with a facility for sports, social activities and events, while the kindergarten in the centre of the campus offers a safe environment for children to learn and play. For this kindergarten, the existing buildings of a historical caravanserai were converted. These new functions, together with the re-designed outside areas, contribute to the inclusiveness of the campus for different users.

    completed
    Mazar-i-Sharif
    Afghanistan
  • Blue Eye

    As one of Albania's most important natural sites, the area of ​​the water spring of "Blue Eye" (Albanian: Syri i Kaltër) has been endangered by tourism for years. Our master plan is the attempt to manage "Blue Eye" sustainably and to prepare it for the expected increase in tourism. The integral strategy protects the natural monument while at the same time releasing its full socio-economic potential. This is achieved through various interwoven strategies, such as diversifying the local offering.

    The immediate area of this rare, almost unreal place is a natural monument characterized by sycamore and oak trees. With the ambitions to improve the local infrastructure for sustainable yet more intensive tourism, we developed an integral strategy for spreading the load of visitors during peak season throughout the year by providing yearly services and activities. By introducing new ways of accessing the Blue Eye Monument, we create different scenarios, points of view and vibes (hiking trails, boat trips and a family path). The program is rounded off with a visitor centre, local product shop, camping facilities and a newly developed cultural and social agenda, proposing the possibility of organizing festivals and local markets close but not right next to the Blue Eye. All of that to stimulate the unique character and potential of the area while keeping the nature intact. 

    The result is a natural phenomenon, unique on a global scale and protected for future generations.

    completed
    2020
    Sarandë
    Albania
  • Mtirala National Park

    Mtirala National Park is considered one of the most important protected areas in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara in Georgia. The name Mtirala (meaning „to cry") is derived from the 4,500 mm of annual rainfall, making it one of the wettest areas of the former Soviet Union.

    The Integrated Masterplan for Mtirala National Park and Korolistavi Village aims to strengthen both wildlife and ecosystem protection as well as local economic development through eco-tourism. CITYFÖRSTER in collaboration with a variety of experts, from business consultancy to mountain bike trail development, developed a masterplan by formulating a 20-year vision for the region, containing 25+ possible interventions promoting and making accessible the "wettest place of Europe" a subtropical European rainforest, as well as a detailed 3-year action plan, eco-tourism and marketing and promotion strategy.

    CITYFÖRSTER organized three workshops with the community of Korolistavi village and three stakeholder's workshops, identifying their goals and vision for Mtirala National Park and Korolistavi village.

    Regarding the Architectural interventions, we were greatly inspired by the extremely peculiar natural situation of the park. Our aim was to design an architecture that doesn't distort but rather amplifies the peculiarities. This was achieved by designing extremely light, compact, and delicate objects.The function of these objects is not to draw attention to themselves but to be used as devices for understanding their natural surroundings.

    completed
    2022
    Adjara
    Georgia
  • Carbon-Based Design – Steps to Zero

    The Netherlands needs 1 million new homes before 2030. How can we ensure that they put as little pressure as possible on the environment? How can we ensure that they meet the challenging climate targets? Even if all future homes are built according to the current agreements (Nearly Energy Neutral Building BENG, and 4% emission reduction in industry), the CO2 budget for construction will run out in 2026.

    This research is a continuation of the earlier report from 2021 'Carbon-Based Design, research into the environmental impact of residential construction'. The focus is on the embodied carbon (the material-bound emissions from the production and construction process). Which components have the greatest impact on total emissions and how can we adjust our design and development strategy accordingly?

    This report goes one step further and quantifies the untapped potential for the reduction of environmental impact in buildings. With four cases, we aim to bring emissions as low as possible, or even to zero. The report compares three strategies: reuse, renovation, and biobased construction. We do this with the MPG method, which portrays the total environmental impact of a building over its entire life cycle, which is the current Dutch legal framework. Alternatively, with the Paris Proof method by the Dutch Green Building Council (DGBC) we test these results to see if they fit within the CO2 budget. Going beyond the legal framework, we also quantify the potential of Carbon storage in these three strategies.
    You can download a full-resolution online version of the Steps to Zero report here.

    completed
    2022
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Marienburger Strasse

    The focus of our project is, on one hand, the careful urban integration of approximately 43,000 m2 GFA (realization part) and 10,000 m2 GFA (conceptual part) of dense housing into the existing morphological and ecological context, taking into account imposed restrictions and desires. On the other hand, the identity of our project arises from intense coordination and integration of urban planning, architecture, ecology, and landscape design.

    Characteristic of the existing urban structure of the broader surroundings of the competition area is the loose construction with small and medium-sized structures. In contrast to this morphology, the future urban fabric east of the railway track is planned as an urban densified perimeter block structure (Munich Northeast Ideas Competition). Our project establishes a context-related connection to these two different spatial conditions while simultaneously creating its own strong local identity.

    To achieve this, our design is structured into overlapping levels of order, creating differentiated and precise spatial relationships: The construction structure is divided into four typologies. In the west along Marienburger Strasse, the existing structure of rowed, rhythmically offset, small-scale buildings is appropriately complemented to ensure spatial permeability. This is followed by a loose sequence running north-south of individual building volumes (urban villas) increasing in mass and height, set in a landscape park-like arrangement. A third row consists of elongated structures on the east and north sides, which are more monolithic and taller in the northern part, gradually transitioning to a sequence of architectural individual units towards the south.

    completed
    2023
    Munich, Germany
  • Student City 2

    Our reconstruction concept of Tirana's "Student City 2" aims to show the great potential for particularly thermal energy savings in construction, modern student housing and is showcasing a well performing example how public and private sector can interact. As the buildings suffers from massive deterioration on the inside, main focus of the energy concept lays on a replacement of all basic infrastructure, including a adequate ventilation and heating systems as well as new windows as its centrepiece to remedy humidity. Different subdivisions of student rooms with joined shared bathrooms and modifications in use of common rooms allows spacious privacy and reacts on students needs. Applying a complementary colored orientation and material system for each dormitory allows visual indication of buildings, floors and rooms and provides "Student City 2" with a unique identity. As the roofs of the buildings offer common space, they can be used according to public or economic visions of its users and leverage "Student City 2" to be Albania's pilot energy efficiency project.

    under construction
    Rr. Studenti, Tirana, Albania
    Tirana
    Albania
  • Unveiling the Rivera

    Tourism, which is important for many countries and regions, harbours the great danger of destroying nature and culture that is worth protecting. At Unveiling The Riviera, we have therefore paid particular attention to using the great potential of the region to create a strong economic base for the population and, on the other hand, to respect, protect and preserve the rich heritage of the Riviera. Our proposal aims to unveil the hidden potentials with three different goals: Restoring, connecting and activating the area, starting from the existing.

    Restoring aims for a rehabilitated and revitalized landscape next to touristic and environmentally sensitive areas. Connecting beaches, hills and mountains with each other and the hinterland is achieved by connections on different scales. We increase the accessibility of the various landscapes of the southern Riviera through hiking trails, a cycle connection following the EuroVelo network as well as a network of new thematic trails along the coast. These connections will increase tourism, targeting different groups in extensive areas that activate the whole Riviera.

    Using the good local climate conditions and local attractions will help tourism extend all season. Our proposal uses the existing panoramic road as a backbone for a new system that can expand the recreation potential of the area. The strategy aims to reconnect the local population with their land, make it tangible in a sustainable way, and give the region the place in the international attention it deserves.

    under construction
    2017
    Sarandë, Albania
    Albania
  • Embassy Residences

    How to organize attractive family living and low energy housing in a high-density city center?

    Our award-winning design for the Embassy Residences in Albania provides high-quality, family-friendly, and low-energy housing units in the city center of Tirana, one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe.

    The project responds to the mayor's ambition to limit the growth of the city and to counter sub-urban developments with a more diverse range of housing typologies. On top of a commercial plinth and two parking levels rises a series of stacked villas, connected by a semi-public stair. This serves as alternative circulation and additional, shared informal outside space to the apartments. 



    The floorplans protect the privacy of the apartments but allow residents to sit on their porch or use the staircase to access their apartment when in the mood for a chat or a Friday afternoon drink. Research has led to a compact build-up of irrigated substrate layers that can support rich vegetation on the stair, balconies, and roof terraces.

    The facade consists of two layers arranged according to insolation. A basic glass layer is protected by a secondary shading layer of anodized aluminum where it is not protected by surrounding buildings or cantilevering volumes. This results in high transparency on the one and low energy costs on the other hand in addition to preventing the building from the hot Mediterranean sun whilst still guaranteeing an elegant look.

    under construction
    2018
    Rruga Asim Zeneli, Tirana, Albania
    8303 Tirana
    Albania
  • Rinia Complex

    The Rinia Complex is located in a former youth park in the center of Fier, on a plot that is open to 3 sides, facing different contexts. Our design for the mixed-use complex addresses these contexts, which represent the different and differing needs of the area. The building seeks to express the ambitions of the City of Fier, that is: to create a new image, one that is fitting for a city that is dynamic and continually growing, and to add important functions to the city like a public 25m pool and a cinema.

    Rinia Complex is a truly multifunctional building, with a program that also includes a 5-star hotel, 2 floors of parking space, residential units, a bank, a shopping center, a restaurant, and a casino. All public functions of the complex are accessible directly from the street via external staircases and are embedded into their urban surroundings. The building has been designed to be used in different ways at different moments throughout the day, offering both public/open access and private/restricted access areas. The intricate program has been fitted into a single volume, a uniquely shaped building that is internally 'fragmented' in order to give an answer to the different needs and the diversity of the context, but which also retains its flexibility as an urban 'shelf' that can take on a variety of functions.

    under construction
    2018
    Rr. Dervish Hekali, Fier, Albania
    Fier
    Albania
  • Jale Waterfront

    The rural south of Albania is gifted with a spectacular coastline, unspoiled natural areas, and rich cultural heritage. Travel is an important driver of the economic development of Albania. However, developments of the past 20 years have been haphazard and do not match the touristic potential of the region. Being part of the Albanian Government initiative of 'Urban Rebirth', the main objective of this project was the regeneration of the waterfronts of the villages Jalë and Dhërmi. Starting from the outstanding natural beauty of both locations, our aim was to structure and strengthen the coastline and connect it with its surroundings, both physically as well as ideally.

    In Jale this included freeing the main promenade from car traffic, providing basic infrastructures such as benches, bins, showers and fountains, but keeping the promenade at a low profile, seeking a continuation with the beach. As the beach is very deep and the bay mainly attracts the younger generations, we have been inspired by some of the existing beach-bars that were embedded in rich flowering gardens. Between the beach and the promenade, we have provided a strip of gardens housing 6-7 beach-bars, each with a stable structure to survive the harsh storms in winter. The bars come in three different sizes and allow for all furniture to be stored inside during the cold season.

    Photography: Lucas Hardonk

    under construction
    2016
    Himarë
    Himarë
    Albania
  • Drymades Promenade

    Strolling in vivid nature!

    Located in between the high mountains and the Ionian Sea in the South of Albania, the new 2 km long Drymades promenade wants to emphasize this duality by creating an impression of being immersed in nature and the greenery while having the beach feeling at the same time. By using organic shapes instead of straight lines, we create a green boulevard with different scenarios, points of view and vibes.

    The division in different zones helps on creating diversity and reflects the varieties and characteristics the area presents. The promenade aims to be an experience in itself with more quiet and natural zones on the side and a vivid part, the hotspot area, in the middle. Here you can find an underground bar which also serves as an elevated plaza or also a pier on the water with different functions on it. The project is unified by common elements, materials and concepts along the promenade such as stone walls, sand-coloured concrete paving and cut out stone or furniture in corten steel.

    One of the key elements of the project is the planting in random dispersion. It serves as shading but also helps at shaping the promenade and giving different scenarios and points of view.

    The kiosks, which are always located in the planters, provide the necessary services needed on the promenade. While the fixed bottom part is made of stone walls, the upper part is made from wood and is thought of as a flexible element that can adapt to the different functions and needs. The biggest kiosk serves as a bar and eating place, the smaller ones as newspaper or ice cream shops, and the smallest ones as public toilets and changing rooms. The roof made of corten steel makes the structure a sustainable one. It is slightly elevated from the main structures to allow the air to pass through and cool the structure underneath. It also collects the rainwater and with the proper inclination, brings it to the planter on the back.

    under construction
    2020
    Drymades
    Albania
  • Office Building. New Lands Commission

    The design for the landmark building of 5.500sqm, housing the New Lands Commission, will be a symbol of the new spirit of transparency and efficiency, bringing together the currently dispersed Land Sector Agencies. The building has an important symbolic impact due to the recent nationwide establishment of the land registry and is to represent a new All-Ghanaian identity. The design responds to local climatic and social parameters throughout all scales.

    All design elements, from the urban setting out to the building's shape and its materialization aim towards natural and sustainable performance, fulfilling several functions at the same time. The circulation system forms the core of the building, spiralling upwards between two rings of offices on different levels. By breaking the clear separation between floors this system provides a continuous movement, bringing the NLC together on one continuous floor, with a variety of perspectives in and throughout the building. The parametric design of the outer appearance of the building guarantees functional performance whilst allowing for aesthetic variation. The diamond-shaped bamboo panels all follow the lowest sun-angle providing shade and filtered natural light at the same time.

    in progress
    2010-2015
    Ghana Survey School, Achimota Rd
    1757 Accra
    Ghana
  • Traveller and the Olive Grove

    With its amazing food, its multitude of untouched nature and its rich ancient history Albania deserves a much broader public that comes to visit, than the 'off the beaten track tourist'. International tourism is a sector in constant development: More and more travellers are looking for authentic experiences which enrich them as individuals and also do something good for the country they are visiting.

    Sustainable tourism can provide these experiences through unique learning experiences directly tied to a country's people and culture. Having this in mind the Dutch Embassy supported the cooperation of Cityförster with MVO Nederland and partners, to work on an inspiring concept for sustainable tourism in Albania, combining it with agriculture. The goal was to strengthen one destination by a multi-stakeholder approach to create a better place to live and visit. After comprehensive analyses Qeparo, an old village along the coastline of Albania has been chosen as a concrete area and in March 2016 a one-week workshop consisting of field visits, interviews with local entrepreneurs and design and business planning sessions with entrepreneurs on agriculture, hospitality, tourism services, urban planning and product design was organized. It resulted in potential projects, business cases and future scenarios for Qeparo. The project is currently being prepared for follow-up, up-scaling and replication.

    You can find the online version of the report here.

    in progress
    2016
    Qeparo
    Albania
  • Vocational College of Machinery and Irrigation - VCMI (Vietnam)

    The design of the VCMI campus is based on sustainable principles in order to handle climate and urban challenges the area is exposed to. The masterplan aims for a clear functional zoning which allows future growth. The area reserved for sports can provide a diverse offer, as an educational complement for the students, but also space, passive to be rented, so the school can reinforce economical sustainability. The proposed area dedicated to teaching and training will allow VCMI to multiply its current offer. The Campus is organized around a cooling pond which is the centre of the water treatment concept: Collected rain water can be extracted for the use of grey water in the buildings. Complementing the new expansion is also forecast a Centre of Excellence for Green TVET, an institution that is inscribed in the scope of the Vietnamese-German Financial Cooperation. The junction of these two institutions will trigger synergy effects, unlocking the campus true potential, towards the aim of establishing themselves as one of the forefront regional institutions, but also contribute needed tools, to a resilient climate change in Vietnam.

    in progress
    2015
    Hiep Hoa, Bien Hoa, Dong Nai, Vietnam
    Dong Nai
    Vietnam
  • TreeTop Trail Lagodekhi

    Lagodekhi Protected Areas (LPA) in the extreme north-eastern part of Georgia at the southern slopes of the Caucasus and with altitudes from 590 to 3500 m, is one of the world's best-preserved areas with diversity of natural landscapes. The project of developing a TreeTop Trail as a new touristic product is to attract more visitors and, considering the transboundary potential of the LPA, make it one of the most attractive destinations, to be included in future transboundary ecotourism products.

    The concept emphasizes the forest as the protagonist and proposes a minimalistic design, a circular shaped trail that gradually ascends towads the tree canopies. Additional program is added in order to enhance the experience of forest. This includes a watch tower, a dome, a large net, a cave, and multiple platforms.

    in progress
    building permission 2019
    15 კოსტავა ქ., Lagodekhi, Georgië
    Lagodekhi
    Georgia
  • Orange Headquarters Mali

    Bamako is in a phase of rapid urban development, with the population growing expansively; telecommunications are an integral part of this growth and are a marker for upward social mobility. The height, visibility, and clean volume of the new Orange Mali Headquarters express this situation, thus creating a landmark for the new, mobile urban class.

    At the same time, the building sets the bar for offices and urban planning in Bamako, by creating a zero-energy building that incorporates greenery and improves the working environment of the Orange employees. The new Orange HQ is surrounded by a public garden, a layout that makes the office building more accessible and simultaneously creates a social space for gatherings and events. The green spaces continue into the interior of the new office building as a sequence of open terraces. By using 'stacked' office floors, and by interspacing these with high-quality open spaces, employees feel more connected and floorplans can be optimized.

    The iconic, geometrical 'zig-zag' exterior is the result of a smart and site-specific design, avoiding direct sunlight on the facade.

    in progress
    2019
    Bamako
    Mali
  • Dhermi Plaza Hotel

    The Dhermi Plaza Hotel has been designed as a 5-star hotel along Dhermi's promenade. The project optimizes the square meters available within the plot whilst merging with the context, and offers publically accessible facilities.

    Its elongated volume is situated ideally between the beach to the south and the mountains to the north and is characterized by a dynamic facade. The shading system, composed of double-facing sliding shutters, plays with the shadows created by the thin walls. This creates a sense of movement, and reveals the life inside the building, making the hotel guests the 'accomplices' of the architecture.

    The hotel hosts different functions which can be separated if necessary, such as the restaurant, spa, and beauty salon on the -1 floor level;5 shops, a pool bar, a swimming pool, a bar, and the hotel lobby on the ground floor level; and an array of variously sized rooms on the first, second and third floor. The top floor has been designed as an active neighborhood/village, with various leisure facilities for both adults and children. It stands out from the rhythm of the facade and offers the guests panoramic views The hotel grounds have been designed so as to offer a range of different sports activities, from swimming in the 25 m pool to playing basketball on the shaded field.

    in progress
    2018
    Dhermi Beach, 1001, Dhërmi, Albania
    Dhermi
    Albania
  • New Istropolis

    CITYFÖRSTER and KCAP design a new cultural district for Bratislava, Slovakia. Trnavské mýto will house a state-of-the-art concert and congress venue and the area will be transformed into a modern open neighbourhood including a series of green and public areas.

    Immocap, the owner of Istropolis, has presented its vision of New Istropolis, developed in cooperation with the international architectural studios KCAP and CITYFÖRSTER. The project aims to bring Bratislava a world-class multifunctional cultural and social centre with top-level architecture, creating a long deserved cultural landmark for the Slovakian capital.

    The new multifunctional hall enables Istropolis to meet Bratislava's real needs and leverage the potential of Trnavské mýto, and will foster cultural and congress tourism. New Istropolis offers the capacity to host various events simultaneously, such as acoustic, rock, jazz, pop concerts, numerous events and cultural events, and conferences and congresses of all sizes. The hall will be able to hold three different events simultaneously and have a maximum capacity of 3000 seats and 5000 combined seats for sitting and standing. The unique in-the-round seating configuration brings the audience close to the stage, creating a sense of intimacy and connection with the performers.

    Trnavské mýto is a key location in Bratislava in terms of pedestrian movement, traffic, and potential contribution to urban development. The project aims to bring new life to this important part of the city that has been neglected too long. Besides the world-class cultural venue, there will be a park with promenade, fountains, and cycle paths. Public areas will be accessible to visitors throughout the day, while the square will support and develop community activities such as seasonal markets.

    in progress
    Trnavské mýto 1
    831 04 Bratislava
    Slovakia
  • Drymades Village

    Located in Drymades beach, the holiday resort Drymades Village is composed of a series of stepped courtyards framed by architecture blending the project into a cohesive village feeling. Following the topography with a 15-meter height difference, the architecture articulates the ground levels to the stepped courtyards bringing an introverted feeling, while on the three upper floors, the units incorporate extended terraces and balconies, expanding the public life to all the levels.

    Typologically the villas are approached by the study of the predominant architecture of the location and the aim to find a different output to a resort project where individualization breaks a monotonous design. The iconic image of the Mediterranean villages will be communicated in the architecture with pre-determined elements, such as roofs and facades that compose a catalogue to personalize the villas. Mainly three differently sized units form the masterplan varying from studio units to large family units. They can also be joined horizontally and vertically, widening the possibilities for future owners.

    In total, six plazas are interlaced to each other, forming a large interior courtyard that articulates the private with the public space through openings in the architecture. Located at different heights and alternating one to the other, they open up the views of the seafront and offer a range of activities to the visitors. The main approach for the landscape is to keep as much as possible existing vegetation. The landscape changes its composition from a dense forest in the lowest part of the plot to an urban plaza in the highest part. Native species (cypress and olive trees), and plants with low maintenance (Bougainvillea, Cacti), constitute the selected vegetation.

    in progress
    Drymades
    Albania
  • West African Science Center - WASCAL

    The guiding principles in the design for the landmark building accommodating the West African Science Center, are developed from the site and its conditions as well as from vernacular forms of spatial organization and construction of Burkina Faso. The building itself is reflecting the idea of scientific research as it serves as a hub, connecting the centre and its partners with each other, with visitors as well as with the city of Ouaga¬dougu.

    The heart of the building is the three-storey science area, containing all offices and their serving spaces. The ground floor connects all functions both spatially as well as programmatically through long visual axes. Inspired by traditional houses and settlements, the round shape of the building is effectively avoiding the low-standing sun as it slowly travels around the building. The climate concept focuses on natural ventilation in combination with night cooling and air movement by ceiling fans and solar chimneys and is in this way a best practice example for climate-adapted construction and sustainability.

    Idea
    2014
    Boulevard Mouammar Kadafi, Patte d'oie, 06 B.P 9507, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
    Ouagadougou
    Burkina Faso
  • New Axis Monheim

    The city of Monheim am Rhein looked for concepts for the transformation of the shopping center Monheimer Tor and its surroundings, which connect the city center of Monheim with the neighboring district "Berliner Viertel" to the south.

    The main principle of the design is a new urban axis that connects the two unequal halves of Monheim and adds new urban spaces in the form of two squares with different characters. The area is densified with mixed city blocks, in which flexibly usable plinths are combined with residential and office space. The mall is partially corrected and rebuilt on the south side, creating new entrances and passageways and giving the south side of the building an attractive new face.

    The design underlines Monheim's urban ambitions. The threat of further land consumption and the growing need for mobility connected to it is opposed by a concept that aims at inner-city densification, intensification, and flexible mixed uses.

    Idea
    2018
    Rathausplatz 20
    40789 Monheim
    Deutschland
  • Nivica - A model for rural development in southern Albania

    In the beginning of May 2018 students and professionals from Albania and the Netherlands went on a trip to Nivica, exploring the village and the region, and drafting first ideas. The team included architects, urban planners, archaeologists, landscape architects and architectural historians. The workshop results built the foundation for the further development of a masterplan for Nivica.

    The goal of this masterplan is to develop a model for a sustainable and prosperous rural economy, with touristic potential within Albania but also on an international scale. As a Living Lab, Nivica allows to experiment with alternative forms of (slow) tourism, small scale investment, renewable energy and local food and waste chains. The masterplan combines the preservation of buildings and structures related to the rich history of the region with a sustainable, diverse expansion of the touristic potential.
    Nivica is meant to be the prototype for Albania's "100 villages" plan, which sets out to fundamentally rethink rural development in the country

     

    Idea
    2017
    6VPV+GP Distretto di Tepelenë, Albania
    Nivica
    Albania
  • New Tirana City Hall

    Designing the New City Hall for Tirana offers a unique opportunity to shape the home of the current and future community, and to represent the values of the people of Tirana. The building should introduce a typology that reflects and outlines the features of Tirana as a diverse, inclusive, human and connected European capital. A manifesto for a City Hall 2.0, open to all. The goal is to provide a space for a genuine encounter between civil society, administrators and politicians, to encourage debates.

    The building comprises an efficient ring with offices that surrounds a collective atrium, which is composed of extroverted and interconnected volumes that provide space for a dynamic set of functions for both the city administration and the public. The City Hall is fronted by a civic square, a new public space which is conceived as an open-air community centre that houses many different functions for every type of use and age. Minimized energy consumption, the use of natural and efficient technologies and local renewable energy generation makes the New City Hall the first zero carbon emission building in Albania. The main structural parts of the ring office are made of locally available, sustainable wood, with the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral building even in construction.

    Idea
    2020
    Tirana
    Albania
  • Aquarium Bay Hotel

    Grounded on rich Albanian heritage.

    Aquarium Bay Hotel is designed based on the concept of sustainable tourism. The hotel comprises four separate pavilions, offering different experiences to their guests. Each pavilion has a distinct architectural language and shelters an inner courtyard with a specific and unique character. The four buildings contrast with their surroundings, as a way to accentuate and respect the outstanding local landscape. This landscape of rolling seaside hilltops covered in Mediterranean scrub, as well as the remote location, are considered two of the strongest, unique ‚assets' of the hotel.

    The approach to the hotel - by car, boat and helicopter but also by foot and bicycle – is carefully orchestrated, as it forms the start of the customers' journey. Internal circulation is organized by a series of footpaths, - a seaside path, a forest path and a main ‚barefoot' path - making for a sensory experience. The central lobby pavilion provides direct access to the spa, restaurants, conference rooms and casino. Additionally, atmospheric facilities like the plunge pool, the bonfire area, the botanical garden and the rock pool add to the guest experience. The most remote volume houses a small restaurant and bar that allows this building to be operated independent from the others, thus maximizing the privacy of its guests.

     

    Idea
    2019
    Himarë
    Albania
  • Revitalizing Peja's River-Kosovo's Green Corridor

    The entire program consists of roughly 4 components: The City Green Spine, The River Park, Natural Wetlands, and The Multi-purpose Lake.

    City Green Spine aims to provide blue-green solutions for the city of Peja surrounding the Lumbardhi river. The main feature is a green, gradually-stepped riverbank, allowing access to the river and a green space adjacent to the center of Peja.

    The River Park is the section between the city and the newly built wastewater treatment plant. More specifically, it connects with the new urban development area of Peja. The River Park has a twofold aim: (1) manage the river, and (2) provide a green, natural environment for residents and tourists.

    The Natural Wetlands is the section of the river from the wastewater treatment plant to the lake. It is an area that will be more natural than the River Park, which allows the river to move more freely.

    The Development of the Multi-purpose Lake is one of the prestige measures of the program. The current site is degraded due to illegal gravel extraction and pollution. The Multi-purpose Lake will revitalize both socio-economic and ecological values of the site, whilst attracting national and international visitors.

    Connectivity of the urban and rural landscape is essential for accessibility and use of the to-be-developed program components. Measures include hike paths and bike paths from the city centre to the Multi-Purpose Lake, via the River Park and the Natural Wetlands. Lastly, a shuttle service will be developed to ensure easy transit between the city centre and the lake.

    Idea
    2022-2023
    Peja
    Kosovo
  • Masterplan Nové Dolíky, Slany

    How can we create a modern suburban environment suitable for pedestrians in a 15-minute neighborhood - a new district with its own urban character that can withstand the ever-increasing pace of changes in human society?

    This is achieved by creating a car-free district that emphasizes pedestrian and cycling transportation, designing compact development that forms both a clearly defined public space and an attractive living environment for future residents.
    The concept of approaching public spaces stems from the fundamental idea of relocating cars to the outer edges of the development. The majority of parking spaces are condensed into three mobility hubs on the corners of the site. The implementation of blue-green infrastructure and the provision of quality public space for the residents of Slaný form a better connection between an agricultural park in the west to the city center in the east. With all amenities within reach and accessible recreational areas, the neighborhood will ensure a healthy and sustainable living environment.

    Part of this design is the establishment of a central green axis, functioning as a retention valley and providing space for trees and biodiversity. It directs the outer landscape and waterflows into the new neighborhood and results in the
    creation of a vibrant blue and green boulevard featuring diverse private and public spaces.

    The urban structure that forms this proposal has been carefully crafted to create compact development with a diversity of typologies and financing models. It is also based on simplicity and elegance for sustainable and prospective construction methods, along with a reliable approach grounded in a connection to nature.

    Idea
    2023
    Slany, Czech Republic