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Butrint National Park Visitor Center International Design Competition

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Butrint National Park Visitor Center International Design Competition

Butrint-National-Park_Ancient-city-of-Butrint-from-the-air_©Albanian-American-Development-Found.jpg Butrint National Park Visitor Center International Design Competition

The Butrint National Park Visitor Center International Design Competition is a global search for a dedicated and gifted architectural team to design a new visitor center for Butrint National Park, an exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) on Albania’s Ionian coastline.
Located in the south of the country, approximately 20 kilometers from the modern city of Sarandë and overlooking the Straits of Corfu, Butrint is the most significant archaeological site in Albania, and its chief cultural attraction.The new center, of up to 1,000 sqm, must receive, welcome and orient visitors, interpret the site, convey the Outstanding Universal Values of the WHS, and be a gateway to the wider National Park and a regional hub for other nearby natural and cultural visitor attractions.

Other aspects of the competition include a new or extended ticket office (including staff work spaces and support facilities); improvements to the core heritage area entrance and secure boundary; way finding and interpretation; and improved mooring facilities.
The competition will also encourage participants to consider further opportunities within the wider park in the form of a landscape visioning master plan. A proactive and forward-thinking approach to sustainability throughout will be key, to tackle the many challenges of the climate emergency, with rising sea levels being a particular threat to Butrint’s low-lying peninsula.
The project’s initial funding of USD $2.45m has been secured and the project has a fast-track timetable: the finished building is due to open in September 2025.
The two-stage competition requires integrated multidisciplinary design teams comprising as a minimum: architect (and lead designer), landscape architect, master planner, exhibition and interpretation designer, archaeologist, engineering disciplines including sustainability, cost consultant and a way finding consultant.
The official language of the competition is English.
No design is required at the first stage — rather designers will need to study the Search Statement (available to download from the competition website) and submit their team composition, approach to the project, relevant experience and pre-qualification questionnaire through a digital form on the website.
At the second stage four teams will be shortlisted, and these will receive an honorarium of USD $10,000 for their design work when the competition concludes with the selection of the winner.


Additional jury members will be added during the competition.

-Elva Margariti
Minister of Culture, Albania

Mrs. Elva Margariti is the Minister of Culture for Albania, appointed in January 2019. Along with her staff, she has carried out important projects at a time when the cultural sector was severely affected by the earthquake of November 26th, 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Previously, she was entrusted with the task of Territory Advisor and National Coordinator for the Integrated Rural Development Program (100 Villages Program) by the Prime Minister of Albania.

From 2015-2018, Mrs. Margariti was the coordinator for the MSc Architecture and Bachelor in Civil Engineering and Environment programs at the Catholic University “Lady of Good Counsel”, which works closely with the University of Florence.

Mrs. Margariti is a qualified architect and has experience as a freelance professional in various fields of architecture and urban development planning, and as a collaborator with design studios in both Italy and Albania. She studied architecture at the University of Florence, Italy, and completed further studies at Tampere University, Finland, and Tongji University in Shanghai, China.

– Martin Mata

Martin Mata has thirty years of combined management experience in the public and private sector, strategic planning, advanced investment, economic and market analysis, extensive political analysis, and human resources development. He began working for the Albanian–American Enterprise Fund (AAEF) in 2000 and became a Co-CEO in 2010.

His former work experience includes working as General Manager of Mercedes-Benz for Albania, part-time political adviser to the Albanian Prime Minister, political adviser at the American Embassy in Tirana, and PR Manager at the National Agency for Privatization. He holds a B.A. in English History & Language, and an MBA from a joint program between the University of Nebraska and the Faculty of Economics, University of Tirana.

He has been a Co-CEO at the Albanian-American Development Foundation (the AAEF’s legacy organization) since 2013. Mr. Mata received in 2015 from the President of the Republic the “Award of Distinguished Civil Merits”.

-Aleksandër Sarapuli

Aleksandër Sarapuli has thirty years of combined management and consulting experience in private equity, project finance, project management, economic and financial feasibility analyses, technology and commodity procurement, and marketing. He joined the Albanian-American Enterprise Fund in 1996 and has been Co-CEO since 2010.

His former work experience includes co-founding and managing partner of the Business Advisory Unit (BAU), business adviser for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Albania, and marketing and procurement manager at a private company. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the Faculty of Economics in Tirana. Mr. Sarapuli has participated in many intensive training programs on private equity, finance, management and more.

He has been a Co-CEO at the Albanian-American Development Foundation (the AAEF’s legacy organization) since 2013. Mr. Sarapuli received in 2015 from the President of the Republic the “Award of Distinguished Civil Merits”.

-Róisín Heneghan
Co-Founder and Director, Heneghan Peng Architects

Róisín Heneghan is the Co-Founder and Director of Heneghan Peng Architects, an architectural, landscape, and urban planning practice based in Dublin and Berlin. Her projects include the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre (shortlisted for the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize), the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit (winner of the 2019 Aga Khan Award in Architecture), the National Gallery of Ireland Historic Wings Refurbishment, and the soon-to-open Grand Egyptian Museum.

Róisín’s work at Heneghan Peng Architects has been widely exhibited and celebrated. The practice has won international design competitions for the Grand Egyptian Museum (an open competition that attracted over 1,500 entries) and Storm King Art Centre, among others. Heneghan Peng’s work has been nominated and shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture and the RIBA Stirling Prize; individually, Róisín was shortlisted for the AJ Woman Architect of the Year 2014.

Róisín has extensive experience as a jury member for international architecture competitions, and was on the jury for the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from University College Dublin and a Masters in Architecture from Harvard University and has taught at both institutions – alongside teaching at Yale University, Cornell University, and MIT.

-Mónica Luengo
Founder, ATP Architecture, Territory and Landscape

Mónica Luengo is a landscape architect and art historian with expertise in the theory and practice of cultural landscapes, and the research, restoration, conservation and management of historic landscapes and gardens. She currently serves as the Vice President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Spain.

Alongside her Madrid-based landscape architecture practice ATP, Mónica is an Honorary Member and Former President of the International Scientific Committee of Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL), a partnership between ICOMOS and the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA).

As an academic, she has been the course director for the MA Cultural and National Heritage programme at Andalucía International University. Mónica brings 15 years’ experience organising seminars and exhibitions, and lecturing internationally on cultural landscapes.

Mónica works regularly with UNESCO World Heritage as an expert and consultant. Her publications include works on the restoration and management of historic gardens.

-Suzanne Ogge
Director of Heritage and international Projects, studioMilou

Suzanne is the Director of Heritage and International Projects at studioMilou, an architectural firm based in Singapore, Vietnam and Paris. Her studies include a Post Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Deakin University, an Honors degree in Social Anthropology and Art History from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters of Ethnology from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris.

Prior to joining studioMilou, Suzanne worked for over a decade with UNESCO’s Culture Sector in Paris, specializing on the conception, development and management of projects worldwide, with a focus on museums, built and intangible cultural heritage. She continues to carry out work for UNESCO in the field of intangible heritage, including training and advising on a range of heritage issues.

Her organizational memberships include the Australian Chamber of Commerce’s Built Environment Industry Group in Singapore, the Advisory Committee for UNESCO’s International Training Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (CRIHAP), and the Editorial Committee for the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP).

-Emily Freeman-Attwood
Chair, Butrint Foundation

Emily Freeman-Attwood is the Chair of the Butrint Foundation, a UK-registered charity founded in January 1993 by her father Lord Jacob Rothschild and Lord John Sainsbury of Preston Candover. The Foundation’s mission is to ‘restore, preserve and develop the Butrint site […] for the benefit of the public.’

Emily has been a trustee of the Foundation since 1998. She established a deep connection and affinity with Butrint as a child, having initially glimpsed the spectacular landscape from across the water in Corfu. She first visited the site in 1992 while working in the field of archaeology, and returned each year for many years.

Previously involved directly in managing the historic site and distributing grants for research and conservation, the Butrint Foundation now works closely with the Albanian Ministry of Culture and the recently formed Butrint Management Foundation to support the adoption of the Integrated Management Plan.

-Malcolm Reading
Administrative Chair
Chairman, Malcolm Reading Consultants

The competition is being managed by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). Malcolm, an architect by training, founded the company after six years as Director of Design and Architecture at the British Council. He has worked with many of the world’s leading cultural institutions including the V&A; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; the Royal College of Art; Mumbai City Museum; the British Library; and the Natural History Museum. Recent MRC competitions include those for MK:U; the Illuminated River; the UK Holocaust Memorial; Edinburgh’s Ross Pavilion; the M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre in Kaunas, Lithuania; and the National Gallery, UK.

Malcolm was on the Board of Historic Royal Palaces from 2005-2014 and was a Trustee of English Heritage from 2015-2019. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He joined the Sovereign Grant Audit Committee in June 201

Short Description

Two-stage competition for a new visitor center in Butrint National Park – a World Heritage Site recognized as Albania’s chief cultural attraction for its inspirational ancient monuments and spectacular natural setting.


Malcolm Reading Consultants

Link to Competition

Link to Registration form


At the second stage four teams will be shortlisted, and these will receive an honorarium of USD $10,000 for their design work when the competition concludes with the selection of the winner.

Type of Competition

Open to the public/Minimum requirements (Open to anyone that complies with the requirements), More than one stage (Winners selected after at least two selection phases)

Who can Participate

Please see the website for more details.

Dates and Time Frame

Registration Opens
Registration Closes October 24, 2022
Deadline to Submit Project October 24, 2022
Winners announcement Date



Location of Competition

Sarandë, Albania

Additional Information

Banner, Poster, Brochure or Triptic of Competition


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