Unveiling the Riviera

Southern Riviera, Albania

The southern Riviera has an incredible array of different landscapes and under-exploited attractions. A lack of accessibility on the local scale prevents visitors to enjoy the region and its local qualities. Accessibility however, is a sensitive topic. We want to make the various attractions accessible, but we don’t want to spoil the ‘adventure’ allure of this landscape, and we are conscious that new connections, if not supported by clear rules and guidelines, can increase unregulated development. Our proposal uses the existing panoramic road as a backbone for a new system that can expand the recreation potential of the area. Multifunctional platforms along the road are the starting points for trails that connect the road with the many and diverse attractions. Open air activities, local productions and urban life are linked in one comprehensive body that take maximum advantage of the existing qualities and become carrier of new sustainable development.

In our vision is key to understand that approaching the coastal area alone is a mistake. The region has to be approached in its whole structure, a complex sequence of different landscapes intertwined together and dependent of each other. By increasing the accessibility and promoting a year-round program we aim to activate the cities and the villages, the agriculture fields and the wetland, the beaches and the mountains. A new identity where the wild atmosphere and the local traditions are preserved and form the foundation for a respectful and profitable us of the landscape.

The SH97 and SH98 roads already have several platforms along their routes. Asphalt surfaces used as parking spaces during the summer period are empty during the rest of the year. These areas are the starting point of a system of trails that connect the road with different urban and natural attractions, and they embed the possibility for a more extensive use throughout the whole year. In fact they can be used as multimodal platforms flexible to host a series of scenarios and events in relation with the seasons and based on the sustainable exploitation of the local qualities.

The southern Riviera has already all the potentials to go beyond its 2-month touristic season and become a year-round attraction. Let’s take for example December, January and February, a period when the beaches are empty and the tourism in the area is virtually non-existent. Citrus and olives harvest can be exploited as a cultural/educative attraction; bird-watching reaches it’s maximum interest because of migrations passing through the area; horseback riders can enjoy the countryside as well as the snowy mountains within a short distance; periodical local markets showcasing typical products as olive oil, honey, mountain tea, mussels can attract visitors off-seasons.

The trails that connect the platforms at the main road with the different attraction point become an experience on their own. View points, art pieces, different landscapes and a variety of programatic possibilities mark the path facilitating the orientation and transforming it into an exciting journey.