• 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.

  • 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.


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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
    Hiep Hoa, Bien Hoa, Dong Nai, Vietnam
    Dong Nai
  • 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
  • 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.

    10101 Chalimbana
  • 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.

    1000 Tirana
  • 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.

    Shkembi i Kavajes, Rashbull, 2021, 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.

    Erich-Klausener-Straße 1
    40789 Monheim am Rhein
  • 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.

    Boulevard Mouammar Kadafi, Patte d'oie, 06 B.P 9507, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso
  • 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
    Dhermi Beach, 1001, Dhërmi, Albania
  • 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
  • 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
    Rruga Asim Zeneli, Tirana, Albania
    8303 Tirana
  • 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.

  • 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
    Ghana Survey School, Achimota Rd
    1757 Accra
  • 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
    Rr. Dervish Hekali, Fier, Albania
  • 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
  • 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.

    Rruga Jordan Misja 20
    8303 Tirana