CEBRA wins contest for visitor centres in Albanian national park

1 March 2024



New facilities planned alongside Europe's first protected wild river

Tenderstream member CEBRA has won the competition to design a visitor centre and two information stations in Albania, situated alongside Europe’s first protected wild river. The winning design facilitates nature preservation efforts while creating spaces dedicated to scientific research, encouraging positive change in the way visitors interact with ecosystems. 

The Vjosa Wild River National Park was established to protect a long free-flowing river, with CEBRA’s winning design for the three buildings mirroring the marriage between earth and water. Referencing the Vranisht dolmen – an ancient megalithic structure - the key concept consists of concrete slabs, which resemble tectonic plates that shape the river’s path, and natural rocks, mimicking the submerged stones broken down into pebbles and sand deposited along the riverbanks. 

Situated next to the river, the Tepelenë Visitor Centre offers an immersive integration with nature. The interior contains educational spaces, research facilities, exhibition spaces, a community centre, shops, cafés, meeting rooms, offices, and workspaces as well as accommodation for researchers. Its landscaped areas include a botanical garden, an outdoor stage, a playground, a viewing platform, exhibition spaces, a picnic area, and an extension to the promedade that will acts as a sensory boardwalk.

The Përmet Information Station invites visitors into a world where Përmet’s social, political, historical, and geological significance to the Vjosa region and the stunning, raw landscapes converge. Revitalising the existing historical City Stone (Guri i Qytetit), its tunnel and vacant chamber will provide an atmospheric auditorium hosting art installations, concerts, and film presentations that celebrate the vibrant history and nature of Përmet as part of the national park. 

The Vlore Information Station is situated away from the immediate vicinity of the river, with the architect-chosen location allowing the station to showcase the far-reaching effects of the river on various ecosystems. As an exceptional example, a habitat for greater flamingos and Dalmatian pelicans is part of the station's panoramic view over the flat lowlands of the delta.

Lucy Nordberg
Tenderstream Head of Research

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