Competitions – Case study No. 6 – Waterfront – Xaveer De Geyter Architects and MetroPOLIS – Albania

Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016: Vlora Waterfront, AL, 2014
Case study No. 6
The focus was on urban design and infrastructural solutions, as the waterfront is part of the national highway through the Albanian Riviera

The A10 survey into Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016, commissioned by Architectuur Lokaalhas made it clear that the word ‘competition’ does not mean the same thing in every country in Europe. Sometimes a competition refers to a design contest without any intention of realization, sometimes it refers to a full tender procedure, or anything in between. To gain a better insight in the nature of competitions in Europe, A10 correspondents collected 50 case studies from 17 countries. Combined they show the differences in topics, fees, procedures, scale, transparency, and clients.

Why?
The Vlora Waterfront Competition was the first major competition announced publicly to the community of architects in Albania and abroad since 2012.

What?
The competition brief accepted direct submissions without a requirement to register. The brief provided a series of indicators and key projects that participants should consider in the development of their proposals, but there were no strict requirements, which gave more freedom for experimental interventions or pragmatic approaches. The focus was on urban design and infrastructural solutions, as the waterfront is part of the national highway through the Albanian Riviera linking Vlora and central Albania with other cities south-west of the country. All submitted projects were reviewed by the competition jury. They selected a longlist of fifteen projects for further and more extensive review, resulting a shortlist of five international projects and one local project. The five international participants publicly presented their proposals to the jury.

Winner
The two winning proposals, from Xaveer De Geyter Architects (BE) and MetroPOLIS architecture and planning (AL), were asked to collaborate in order to implement a joint proposal principally based on their ideas submitted for the competition.

When?
Until today the project is not yet realized, although the original deadline was set one year after the announcement of the competition winner. This delay is due to problems in the implementation of the project and, in particular, infrastructural details.

Competition culture in Albania was surveyed by A10-correspondent Saimir Kristo in Tirana. This survey is the start of a four-year research project by Architectuur Lokaal and A10 new European architecture Cooperative. Copy editor: Dutton Hauhart. Construction images courtesy of Xaveer De Geyter Architects