Nestled along the enchanting slopes overlooking the azure waters of the Ionian Sea, a visionary tourist complex is taking shape in Himarë, Albania. This architectural masterpiece seamlessly marries comfort with nature, offering an unrivaled retreat for those seeking an immersive coastal experience.
Program: Design project of a new tourist complex with hotel, residence, and villas
Location: Himarë, Albania
Assignment: ATENASTUDIO + ARK_TEK studio
Schedule: December 2010
Lot Area: 192,123 sqm
Built Area: 100,685 sqm
The primary objective of the project is to reconcile the seemingly conflicting goals of constructing a tourist complex with a considerable density while minimizing its impact on the natural landscape through a conscious sustainability approach. Embracing the natural contours of the sloping land, the design incorporates a terracing system that mimics artificial waves, harmonizing with the landscape’s new configuration. The majority of buildings, adopting villa typologies for one, two, and family units, are strategically positioned within these terraces. Notably, the plan reveals that treating villa roofs as gardens significantly mitigates the overall impact on the environment.
The complex is strategically oriented to face the sea, optimizing exposure with a South-West orientation. A deliberate use of wide windows along this facade allows almost all villas and the hotel to capture breathtaking sunset views. The villas, resembling a series of eyes on the sea, exhibit a high level of integration with the landscape when viewed from the water. This integration is further accentuated by the meticulous choice of materials, particularly the utilization of local stone on the North-West and South-East facing sides of the buildings. Natural and local materials, including wood and stone gabions for terrace retaining walls, contribute to the project’s commitment to sustainable construction.
The hotel, housing amenities such as a Spa, Congress Center, Business Center, and Casino, is strategically situated at the highest point of the site. It serves as a landmark, achieving a harmonious balance between horizontality and verticality, thereby establishing a positive dialogue with the surrounding landscape through deliberate contrasts. To reduce the visual impact of vehicular traffic, the design includes two underground parking levels beneath the hotel. Surface parking is confined to the upper entrance, with an ecofriendly shuttle service utilizing electric-powered vehicles proposed for internal transportation. The internal circulation system, peripheral in nature, features specific links to serve the terraces, while pedestrian flows converge within a central channel, forming the true heart of the entire complex.