Casanova+Hernandez architects | U028_Requalification Western Coast Shkodra Lake


U028_Requalification Western Coast Shkodra Lake

Shkodra, Albania


Preservation of the natural character of the lake shore

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The first goal of the strategic plan is to restore the damaged natural areas of the shore lake, preserving it from further deterioration. Simultaneously, the plan reorganizes the current activities along the lake shore and complements them with new recreative, cultural and tourist activities, respectful with the natural environment. The lake shore is divided into two zones: one with a natural character and one with an urban character. The area with an urban character is located in two spots placed at the beginning and at the end of the plan: one located in front of Shiroka waterfront and the other close to the Buna Bridge.

The zone with a natural character occupies the rest of the lake shore and combines the preservation of natural areas, the restoration of the damaged areas and the renovation of areas occupied by restaurants and parking areas with landscape

interventions for recreational activities.

Preservation and restoration of natural areas

A large part of the lake shore has vegetation and fauna which need to be protected. The protection zone of this plan avoids placing any new activity in these areas and foresees to stop the future development of restaurants and parking areas near them. The restoration of natural areas is focused on the deteriorated areas along the road that present different kinds of infills, in order to recover the original natural section of the lake. Some of them were made to create informal parking places or platforms for future constructions and are not in use. Others were created through the accumulation of extra soil to build the road, mixed with debris and different kinds of materials. These infills should be removed and these areas should be treated afterwards in order to recover the original section of the lake and the growth of native vegetation, flora and fauna.

Demolition of existing illegal or unauthorised constructions at the lake shore:

The analysis shows 13 different kinds of constructions located on the north side of the lake shore. Some of them are in use and some of them not, but almost all of them have been illegally built. The strategy proposes the total demolition of the constructions and abandoned buildings on the north side of the road, which is designated as a zone with a natural character. The new landscape interventions in the areas clean of constructions will be focused on creating recreational activities accessible for all citizens for free.

Mobility of vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians

The plan promotes the movement of locals and visitors by walking, using bicycles or public transport and discourages the use of private cars. All the new routes created in the area are exclusively for pedestrian use, or for a mixed use of pedestrians and bicycles. The new pedestrian routes close to the lake shore run parallel to the existing road and the current bicycle path in order to make the circulation for both of them more comfortable. A new pedestrian and bicycle path is planned in the mountain at a level high enough to offer splendid views over the lake, being at the same time easy to reach on foot from the level of the lake.

This trekking route starts at the quarry located between the two bridges of the Buna river, providing a starting point for pedestrians and bicycles who arrive from the pedestrian bridge, but also for users of vehicles who can park in the parking of the restaurants at the shore of the river. Visitors will use the existing path created at the quarry that connects the level of the river with a viewpoint in the mountain from where visitors will enjoy the views over the Rozafa castle and the Buna River. From this viewpoint the trekking and bicycle path connects with the existing traffic road in the mountain equipped with a parking area. The trekking path in the mountain has small height variations avoiding big slopes in order to make it easy for all kinds of visitors to walk. It follows the sinuous shape of the hills and provides many panoramic view points. The trekking path connects with the streets of Shiroka village, passing close to the residence of King Zog, the new Shiroka square and the Shkodra Lake Museum and Visitor Centre. The lake shore path and the mountain trekking route create a continuous circular route at two different levels which are connected by several crossing paths, taking advantage of the existing paths located at the main valleys.

Traffic and parking areas

At the same time that the plan promotes the movement of locals and visitors by walking, using bicycles or public transport, it also discourages the use of private cars to avoid the increase of traffic in the area. For that reason the amount of parking places has been reduced and not increased, opening in this way the possibility of applying new policies for parking areas, such as paid parking combined with a more frequent service of public transport that can be developed if the amount of visitors increases. The project proposes the almost complete demolition of existing parking areas located on the north side of the road which relates to the complete demolition of restaurants on the lake shore. New parking pockets will be created on the south side of the road and at a short walking distance from all recreational areas.

Landscape interventions in large infill areas

The landscape interventions have been concentrated on the two urban areas and on the large infill areas with restaurants and parking, excluding the areas designated for nature preservation and restoration of the infills. The landscape interventions will provide new and more varied public activities to the lake shore, including beaches, sports, recreative and cultural activities. It will also reduce the presence of the car in the waterfront, increasing the green, recreative and public character of the lake.


The intervention area covers on the one hand an extension of 3,7 km of the shore of Shkodra Lake between Buna Bridge and Shiroka village, and on the other hand the 5 km of the new pedestrian and bicycle path in the mountains that runs parallel to the shore, approximately at the height of 55 metres above the shore level. Both together, the renovation of the waterfront and the new mountain route create a circular pedestrian and bicycle route of 10 km. that offers locals and visitors alike a wide variety of recreative, cultural and tourist facilities. These facilities have been divided into 21 architectural and landscape interventions, which are connected to 22 museographic interventions.

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Municipality of Shkodra / Albanian Development Fund (ADF)
Public Space, Open-air museum (cultural network), Visitor Center and Museum, Infrastructure (cars-bicycles), Facilities for recreation, Landscape Interventions (21)
First phase completed
115 Ha