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Deadline: March 4, 2015

Requirements: Team Composition Statement, Key Staff CVs, Methodology, and Vision Statement


Test Site: Osumi Island in Berat, Albania



Atelier Albania, asked by the City of Berat and mandated by the Office of the Prime Minister, announces through the Albanian Development Fund, a ‘research by design’ international competition to propose the landscape development design for Osum Island in Berat and to explore ways of resilience using the island as a test site.


The competition area is both a target and a test site at the same time. It is a small island in a relatively small historic city in Albania, the city center of which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is a lot to tell about the city, its particular history and its architecture, but since it is not the scope of the brief to fall into those details, these explanations will be part of a separate document. The island itself, which is the site of this international competition, is a leftover asset neglected by the city but which nevertheless changes shape time after time because of the changes in river water flows. The strong presence of this asset in the city landscape means that the island can be transformed in a real focal point for the city and particularly for the neighbourhoods at its vicinity. This island deserves design thoughts that will shape its potential.

On the other hand, throughout history the island and the river water have continuously been in a struggle for defining their territories. Recently Albania experienced flooding and a lot of issues that come along with that. Even though flooding is not a new phenomenon it again caught residents of the flooded areas unprepared, and as a result there was a considerable inventory of consequences.

This international contest is announced with the purpose of connecting the Osum Island to the city of Berat network. This international call is looking for ways where urban can cohabitate with nature and be resilient towards any natural phenomenon.

Through this open call, Atelier Albania, aims to attract teams of architects and designers. The goal is to obtain the most original and visionary concepts of an architectural and urban character intervention for the test site Osum Island in Berat and come up with innovative solutions to develop the landscape, or be ‘urban by nature’ and be resilient at the same time. Concepts should be based on principles that are informed by and in return respond to the peculiarities of the context, requirements of the assignment but are also informed by the experiences of other countries.


This competition is based on a test site and is looking for ways of making places resilient. It is using design as a tool to search for best possible solutions of resilience in riverside conditions. It is also looking for ways of developing natural landscapes and defining ‘urban by nature’.

Being a test site, it means that the findings of the process can be shared with many other similar context or sites that are at a flooding risk zone and lack features of being resilient. In this perspective, this exercise serves more than the city of Berat. The proposals might become an inspirational source for other sites in Albania or beyond its borders.

Contracting Authority

ADF is the contracting authority in this process, on behalf of the Albanian Government.


The product of the competition will be design solutions for the landscape development of the Osum Island in Berat. Short-listed competitiors will explore the best design solutions through research exercises. They will explore ways to becoming resilient towards natural behaviour and to rebound from future flooding situations.

Short-listed competitors are required to work to achieve, as follows:

  • Study the city of Berat and its surroundings, its spatial program and cultural context,
  • Study River Osum and its behaviour during several high water situations during the last century,
  • Research for other similar conditions in places around Albania and region, Europe or other places around the world,
  • Research for ways of resilience in other similar conditions,
  • Proposal for the landscape development of the Osum Island,
  • Proposal of ways how the Berat city and Osum Island can become resilient to flooding situations,
  • Proposal of a ‘toolkit of resilience’ for similar riverside or seaside conditions around Albania.
  • Rough estimation of the costs of the proposals,
  • Proposal of an action plan.

Any solution should also establish a model applicable in other territories of similar conditions and open to similar climate change risks.

Any solution should seek high creativity while being adjusted to the local context and set high design standards.

Area of Competition

The area of competition is determined by the footprint of the Osum Island in Berat, which is changeable according to the water flows. The island is positioned in between the banks of the river and is faced by the two oldest and most beautiful neighbourhoods of Berat, which is a UNECSO heritage settlement. This island has a strong presence in the river landscape, but has always been neglected. During the early 40’s of last century, the Italian architect and planner Gherardo Bosio, proposed in its plan for the city of Berat to connect both banks of the river through the island that emerges in the area where the river is much wider compared to other sections. This plan was not executed, at least for this part of the city. The connection of two riverbanks was realized south of the island, where the river narrows down, leaving the Osum island neglected, even though its presence has a very strong impact on its urban and natural landscape.

Scope of Competition / Competition Question

Competition will build on three questions:

  1. To explore ways of developing the landscape of Osumi Island in Berat
  2. To explore ways that will make sure the riverside region is resilient enough to rebound from future flooding or other natural challenges
  3. To develop design solutions that will better protect residents from future climate events, in different possible flooding areas.


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 improved 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.

Expected Results 

PHASE 1: at this stage of short – listing, the candidates present themselves to illustrate their capabilities, methodology and visions to the subject of the competition. Each submission will be reviewed carefully by members of the jury and the teams will be selected based on qualification criteria and evaluation referred to Phase 1. The jury will short – list the teams that comply with the qualification criteria. These teams will be called to work for a second phase, for a concept in fulfilment of the competition objective and questions. Second phase or stage will be based on elaborate information and brief that the short-listed competitors will receive from the organisers.

PHASE 2: at the stage of “Project-Idea”, each group of applicants will be carefully reviewed by members of the jury and, based on the criteria of evaluation of Phase 2, a winning team will be selected. However the jury’s duty does not end with the selection of the winning team. Local members of the jury and international members with professional experience in Albania will cooperate in creating a constant spirit of instructional leadership for the winning team. After the competition the team will have the opportunity to meet with the jury members to discuss their attitude, choices and the impact of the project. The team should agree to stay open-minded towards the adoption of the project with potential contextual situations, which might not have been known before. The jury will play the role of an advisor for the winning team, but also the role of a partner for the client in order to help it achieve a harmonized project, which will have the support of different local stakeholders and will ensure direct impact in the intervention area. Meetings will be held either in Tirana or in Berat.  

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. The client believes that 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 of Phase 1 should be composed of at least, an architect, landscape architect, installation artist/ visual artist, hydro-technical engineer and a specialist of culture monuments.  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

Application documents

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,- Staff CV Primary,- Methodology,- 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:- Project-Idea 

Evaluation Criteria

The jury will evaluate the applicants that will be selected for the first phase based on these initial qualification criteria:

  • Clarity and fulfilment of required documents for Phase 1
  • Professional composition of the team (architect, landscape architect, installation artist/ visual artist, hydrogeology engineer, architecture heritage specialist)
  • Similar experience of the studio and its main collaborators
  • 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.

Evaluation Criteria

The jury will evaluate the applications of Phase 2 based on the following criteria:

– Creativity

– High implementation factor

– Links and impact of the proposal to the context

– The cost-impact ratio (low cost, high impact)

Final Product

The competition will end with the selection of a well-equipped team, who 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 the Feasibility Study of the winning proposal.

The development model that will be detailed by the winning team shall serve primarily as a platform for discussing resilience of similar riverside areas, but not only. The product of the competition, will serve to develop the test site Osum Island in Berat and in turn will serve as a pilot project, equipped with a “tool-kit” to guide other processes on how can similar riverside or seaside areas developed or be ‘rebuilt by design’.

Post – Competition Process

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 or Berat.

Competition Awards

The competition winner will receive a cash prize of 15,000 Euro.

There will be a second prize of 10,000 Euro, and a third prize of 5,000 Euro.

The winning team will begin contract negotiations with the Client for an agreement to prepare the feasibility study of the winning proposal. The contract for the feasibility study will be limited to 15,000 Euros.

Competition Platform

Competition Type:                                 Urban design Competition with a Shortlist

Phase 1:                                                    Open Call for Interest

Phase 1 Requirement:                           Team Composition Statement, Main Staff CVs, Methodology, and Vision Statement

Advantage Criteria:                               Local-Foreign Architecture studio partnerships

Jury Evaluation:                                     Short Listed Teams

Phase 2:                                                    Project-Idea/ sketch idea

Phase 2 Requirements:                         Submission of project idea illustrations

In-between Phase:                                 Site visit and workshop with local stakeholders.

Jury Evaluation:                                    Best Design and fulfilment of criteria

Prizes:                                                      3 Prizes

Prize I: 15,000 Euro

Prize II: 10,000 Euro

Prize III: 5,000 Euro


Competition Calendar


Open call for interest:                                          10 February

Phase 1 Deadline:                                            4 March, 16.00 (local time)

Short-listing:                                                          5-7 March

Idea-Design Competition Invitation:               7 March

Preparation of Idea-Design:                               7 March – 3 May

Workshop in TIRANA:                                        11 April

Finalization of Brief and any further planning:      7 March

Phase 2 Deadline:                                           3 May, 16.00 (local time)

Public Presentations:                                          4 May

Jury Evaluation:                                                    4 May

Announcement of Results:                                 11 April



Contract Negotiation

Contract Signing for Feasibility Study:               May

Feasibility Study Preparation Process:               May – July

Meetings with AA/Jury and Stakeholders:           5-6 June

Feasibility Study Submission:                            15 July


Short listing phase will be conducted via electronic system to website:
Tender documents may be obtained electronically in the same website:
Foreign competitors, in order to use electronic procurement system should register on-line as an economic operator website:
Further instructions for international competitors may be obtained from the user manual “EPS user manual – Economic Operators”, which can be downloaded from the webpage


Each of the Terms of Reference can be found on the official website of the organizer of the competition:

Or, in the pages dedicated to these competitions:

You can also contact us at:

Information regarding procurement procedure should be asked through electronic procurement system.


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