Tirana sits in a bowl shaped by the mountains which surround the city. From Tirana, a valley declines slowly towards the coast of Durrës, opening into a larger plain. The entire Durana region, as the urban corridor connecting Tirana to Durres is nowadays called, is defined by strong infrastructural and natural lines running through it – the road, the railway and the Tirana river – and framed by geographical elements – mountains, hills and (artificial) lakes. As such, Durana presents itself as a canvas of disconnected ecologies – the urban hills, the foothill villages, the linear city in formation, the industrial strip, the inhabited agricultural plain and the river shores.
The project considers the whole bandwidth of the valley – from the hills to the river – giving a new meaning to the territorial lines crossing it. Rather than performing as pure infrastructure, the road, the railway and the rivers are opened up towards the new city. The expressway is turned into a permeable urban road, the outdated Tirana-Durrës railway is transformed into a metropolitan light railway while the border of the Tirana river becomes a linear park.
The project aims to structure a new urban network through a series of connecting paths and collective spaces of different entity and size, able to bring a new public life to Durana. Our proposal investigates three case studies, which starts from the three artificial lakes and connects the Durana different ecologies. These paths, which run transversal to the valley, propose a new direction of development through a series of punctual operations on the existing urban tissue. Detecting specific points and increasing their public quality, providing new connections and repairing old ones are the basic operations which allow the Durana linear development to open up into a proper urban entity, forcing on it a new mental and physical network.
Zooming-in to the architectural scale, the project proposes three pilot interventions – a market canopy as civic infrastructure, an open pavilion as a shared facility and the lake as a playground –in order to test the potential of a city which is already there but needs to be activated.
Client: Atelier Albania, ADF (Albania Development Fund) / Project team : Ambra Fabi, Giovanni Piovene, ArchiSpace Studio, Mobility in Chain, Stefano Graziani, Carlotta Capobianco, Yellowoffice