Competition Name: TIRANA PARK OF FAITH CONTEMPLATION GARDENS ALONG BOULEVARD “MARTYRS OF THE NATION” INSPIRED BY THE HOLY BOOKS AND RELIGIOUS COHABITATION
Atelier Albania, at the request of the Municipality of Tirana, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Culture and mandated by the Office of the Prime Minister, announces an international landscape design competition, inspired by the most noble value of religious harmony that Albanians share with each other and the world, focused on the open spaces along Boulevard “Martyrs of the Nation” and main public spaces of the capital city, Tirana.
The Boulevard encompasses potential sites that may accommodate series of landscape interventions inspired by the holy books, but not only. The main purpose of this competition is to receive design proposals that will transform the linear open spaces of the boulevard, as well as other pockets of green spaces into landscape representations of the noblest cultural values that Albanians share through faith that is not only related to religious harmony, but harmony in general, as well. This is a unique opportunity to improve the city central public spaces through landscape design actions that seek spiritual comfort and contemplation.
“It seemed appropriate today to convey to you the idea of building in Tirana, soon The Park of Faith. A public, green space, planted with all the flowers, plants, and trees which are mentioned in the Qur’an and the Bible (and other holy scriptures). In this park, dedicated to coexistence, to the children, parents, grandmothers, and grandfathers of the of the capital or other cities of Albania, and also foreign visitors, will be able to discover not only all the green creations from the holy books, but images, objects, sounds that echo this history and this invaluable Albanian asset. Humbly, every Albanian, starting from the government and including all public institutions and government authorities, should be grateful to the religious communities in this country…”
Through this open call Atelier Albania aims to invite teams of architects and landscape architects that will generate original design proposals appreciating the existing socio- cultural context of the country.
The “Park of Faith”, inspired both by the values mentioned in the Holy Scriptures and by the religious harmony that exists in Albania; certainly a value inherited across generations, aims at finding a new concept of “commons” and “dwelling”. Through various layers of experiencing, the park will house spaces not only for different ages, nationalities, religions, and professions, but also it will give shelter to various atmospheres. Based on the value of coexistence, a new urban biodiversity will be created and a new concept of habitation will emerge from the public spaces of both the boulevard and the city.
This competition is built on the theme of faith and religious harmony, being values that
Albanians would like to show and share with the entire world.
“…Albania has the experience of religious brotherhood and… the religious harmony in the country is a model to be followed worldwide…”
“…This is to be a partisan for peace and brotherly communion, and whose principal rules, religious or not, is to try to reconcile our consciences…”
“…Albania’s religious brotherhood is determined to continue to hold high the banner of freedom rights, the flag of equality between all opinions and beliefs…”
A different public space quality is going to be achieved through this competition and when implemented it will be used not only by the citizens of Tirana, who as Mediterranean live a lot outdoors, but also by visitors that might travel to learn about Albania and Albanian culture and particularly experience the religious harmony that defines us among other values.
National Territorial Planning Agency is the Contracting authority for this process, upon request of Ministry of Urban Development, Municipality of Tirana and Ministry of Culture.
Area of Competition
The area of the competition at focus is displayed in the competition site map and comprises a series of open/public spaces, positioned alongside the edges of Boulevard “Martyrs of the Nation”. The scope of this competition furthermore includes other potential public spaces, gardens and parks throughout the city. The very center of the ‘Tirana Park of Faith’ will be the open space that surrounds the ‘Pyramid’, as well as the ‘Pyramid’ serving as a starting point and destination. The other sites are located along the segment that connects Skanderbeg square to Mother Teresa square. Besides, a central component of this competition is the streetscape and urban design of the boulevard itself.
“…The Tirana Faith Park competition has in its center the “pyramid” and all green spaces where we aim to create a tangible image of our country’s religious harmony, including those whom do not believe. This Park will bring all the flowers, plants, and trees that are mentioned in the holy books of religion…”
The competition will be built on these main questions:
• How to develop landscape design solutions that ensure the urban and landscape continuum along the boulevard?
• How to develop a landscape design-proposal inspired by qualities of the gardens mentioned in the holy books and equipped with vegetation and atmospheres given on holy manuscripts, as well from the religious cohabitation feature that characterizes Albanian people?
• How to explore ways that will guarantee a series of public spaces that would offer places of various collective experiences, of dialogue and contemplation?
• How to improve the quality and effectively design the streetscape of the boulevard that can balance and prioritize diverse modes of movement (current and future ones – including pedestrian, cycling, transit, cars) that supports the overall landscape design concept?
• How to include the structure of the ‘Pyramid’ and make it part of the Faith Park; how to make it a starting point and a destination; how to shift the ‘Pyramid’ from a ghost to the center of public life, discourse, culture and cohabitation (all of these values that makes us part of the European family)? Could the structure of the ‘Pyramid’ be transformed into a center of Europe in Albania, and how?
The product of the competition will be the Landscape Design for “Tirana Park of Faith”, located on the given sites along the boulevard “Martyrs of the Nation”, as well as other potential pockets of public space throughout the city. This competition is looking for a genuine landscape strategy that will improve the physical and aesthetic qualities of public spaces as well as provide a contemplation linear park of many pockets. This strategy should provide an inviting space of wonder that communicates the message of peace and dialogue. The participating teams are expected to come up with original design ideas and solutions inspired by the landscape descriptions of the holy manuscripts, as well as by the particular religious harmony that describes Albanians. The competition seeks to create a strong link between the daily life use of public spaces in a Mediterranean city and the ‘sacred’ or contemplation landscape. The project proposals should be centered on the importance of providing collective spaces of narrative that underline (religious) harmony and serve as platform for dialogue and interconnectedness.
Short-listed competitors are required the following:
• Study about Albania and Albanians and their particular religious culture;
• Study the area of the competition and its surroundings in terms of its spatial program and socio-cultural context;
• Study the vegetation map and green network of open-spaces along the “Martyrs of the
• Analyze and fine-tune the sites suitable for the new thematic park;
• Study particularly how the program of the park is connected with its context, ensuring a harmonious integration with the existing buildings;
• Research references of vegetation and landscape atmospheres in holy manuscripts;
• Propose a landscape design plan for Tirana Park of Faith;
• Estimate proposal costs;
• Present an action plan;
• Propose a streetscape design plan for Boulevard Martyrs of the Nation;
• Re-configure the roadway as part of the landscape vision to ensure most substantial civic transformation. It is essential to have integrated transportation and public realm design;.
• Propose a strategy to activate the ground plan in all seasons and a create a family of furnishings/urban furniture;
• Propose to reactivate the structure of the ‘Pyramid’ as a starting point and destination of the Faith Park; as the center of Europe in Tirana;
• Recognize the existing planting of the mature Pine trees along the Boulevard and take a position/strategy on their role within the future project vision;
• Study how the Park of Faith can achieve a sense of coherence as a singular space but with a diversity of experiences along the Boulevard corridor (ex. parts vs. whole);
• How to strengthen the relationship to the Lana River or with the water (physically and symbolically, and – is there a chance to improve the Boulevard as it crosses the Lana River?);
• Promote sustainability and innovation.
Atelier Albania is a unit of the National Agency for Territorial Planning, mandated to identify alternative solutions and enrich architecture and planning by thinking beyond the typical planning framework. In this context, we stimulate and support the participation and collaboration of different stakeholder groups and international professionals who will work in tandem with local professionals. We believe that this team-based collaboration will improve the way projects and research is informed with all the appropriate local knowledge as well as an international level of design standards. Moreover, we want to treat competitions as co-creative processes, where designers and local actors are involved in an interactive selection process.
The format of the competition is experimental in order to overcome those which AA believes are issues that plague typical urban and architectural competitions.
At this stage of short – listing, the candidates will present themselves by illustrating their capabilities, methodology and vision for the given subject and theme. Each submission will be reviewed carefully by members of the jury and the best teams will be selected based on qualification and evaluation criteria. These criteria are given below.
The jury will short – list the teams that comply with the qualification and evaluation criteria. These teams will be called to continue their work on a second phase. They will work to deliver a concept according to this brief’s general objectives and questions. Second phase or stage will be also based on elaborate information and brief that the short-listed competitors will receive from the organizers.
At the stage of “Design Proposal”, each proposal will be carefully reviewed by members of the jury and, based on the criteria of evaluation of Phase 2; a winning design will be selected.
Teams of Local and Foreign Professionals
Every international team is encouraged by the organizers to partner with a local team and each local team is encouraged to partner with an international counterpart. The client believes that to get contextual and visionary projects there is an inherent need for a vision of someone who does not know the site as well as the contextual knowledge of someone who is very familiar with the terrain.
Such cooperation can increase the impact of the proposal and improve implementation. In applying for the first phase it is not a pre-selection criterion to have a local or international partner; having a partnership at this stage however is positive and can help to create a more coherent and contextualized vision which of course might boost the teams’ chances of selection.
The competition is open to all professional architects or landscape architects, who are able to meet the following requirements:
1. Be registered or recognized by an official accreditation body in the country of origin of the applicant; or
2. Where recognition or registration law does not apply, the applicant is a member of a professional institution, the country of origin.
All applicants must provide proof of the validity of professional registration, recognition or membership in the Team Composition Declaration.
Each team should be composed of at least:
– Landscape architect(s)
All team members must be identified in the Declaration of Team Composition.
Details about suitability are given at addendum nr.6 of the Standard Tender Document. STD can be downloaded at www.app.gov.al.
Entrants must submit a number of documents, in order to be in compliance with the requirements of the competition for the first and second phase of the contest.
Documents Phase 1:
• Declaration of Team Composition,
• Primary Staff CVs (landscape architect, artist/ visual artist, theology consultant)
• Vision Statement
• All other documents relevant to application according to the Agency for Public Procurements
Details about suitability are given at addendum nr.6 of the STD.
Documents Phase 2:
• Design Proposal according to Terms of Reference and requirements of the Contracting Authority
The jury will select the applicants of the first phase based on these initial qualification criteria:
• Clarity and fulfillment of the required documents for Phase 1
• Professional composition of the team
• Similar experience that should be of the type which is subject of this call, and of similar size to the Faith Park (implemented or under construction landscape design projects)
• Clarity and efficiency of the proposed methodology
• Relevance of what is proposed to the scope of the competition and issues of the site
Details about suitability are given at addendum nr.6 of the STD.
The jury will evaluate the applications of Phase 2 based on the following criteria:
• High implementation factor of the design idea
• Links and impact of the proposal to the context
• The cost-impact ratio (low cost, high impact)
The competition will end with the selection of proposal evaluated as the best. The winning team will be able to engage in the post-competition process.
The winning team will be engaged in the next phase, which consists in the preparation of execution design based on the winning proposal, according to the procedures specified in the STD.
To coordinate better the work between the winning team and the client of the project, organizers anticipate the first meeting between the team, the client and local stakeholders during the process of elaborating the project idea. The underlining reason is to bring together the design team and all the stakeholders and to share among them ideas, proposals and suggestions at the curatorial stewardship of the members of the Jury and other specialized institutions. This meeting will be conducted in Tirana.
The competition winner will receive a cash prize of 30,000 Euro.
The winning team will begin contract negotiations with the Client for an agreement to prepare the execution design based on the winning proposal, according to the procedures specified in STD.