Tirana, Albania

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Download the full BRIEF of the competition in English by clicking here.



Atelier Albania, mandated by the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Entrepreneurship and the Office of the Prime Minister, announces through the Albanian Development Fund, an international architectural competition to design the master plan and rehabilitation of the “University Student Residence No.1″, or” City of Student’s”, as more popularly known.


This area accommodates the majority of public university students and serves as a shelter to the greater part of the society that will build tomorrow’s Albania. This campus was the site of one of the most important pages of Albanian modern history – the student protests that precipitated the fall of the communist regime, which “stewed” in this environment; today the campus has degraded and been ‘invaded’ by informality. This campus should acquire the quality and dignity that suits the next generation of Albanian leaders.

This international contest is announced with the purpose of improving the existing buildings in “City of Students”, increasing the functions of the ‘city’ with a number of new buildings, improving the current student residences and socio-cultural life in this residential campus, improving public spaces within the campus, setting clear limits and eventually separate the area of informal settlements from the campus.

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 rehabilitation of “City of Student’s “and create strong and friendly urban bonds of the “City of Students” premises with its surrounding context. Concepts should be based on principles that understand the peculiarities of the area, requirements and characteristics of its inhabitants and also the similar experiences of other countries.


The competition for a Master Plan and rehabilitation of “City of Students” comes as a need to improve the physical and functional conditions of the unit “University Student Residences No. 1″, as well as to determine its borders and connections to informal settlements on the outskirts of the “City of Students”. This state residential campus is a national treasure and an asset that serves the majority of students studying in universities and higher education in Tirana. Its physical conditions today, do not allow a variety of forms of accommodation, as well as possible management models that could transform it in a self-financing asset. Today it presents a ‘burden’ to the state budget and so it also needs to be re-conceptualized from a financial logic perspective. But the re-conceptualization of new management models is closely linked to the spatial and architectural re-conception of the “City of Students”. At the end of this initiated process, we believe that the “City of Students” will be transformed into a very attractive student’s destination, which will serve to more students and will be a model that can be self-financed.

Contracting Authority

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


The product of the competition will be a Master plan for the “City of Students” and urban architectural design concepts for the improvement of its facilities in creating new functions within the campus.

Competitors are required to work to achieve, as follows:

  • Study campus spaces, existing buildings and surroundings,
  • Study of the current program and research for the new concept of functions and activities within the campus, with the aim of creating a multi-functional and attractive space,
  • Research different typologies of accommodation within the campus,
  • Research ‘green ‘and ‘ low cost’ technologies for the construction of the “City of Students” campus
  • Proposal for rehabilitation of the “City of Students” space, the addition of new functions, improving public and collective spaces,
  • Proposal to transform the campus “from a simple “dorm” to a space with a full range of functions for the development of a rich student life,
  • Proposal for the creation of clear and new borders for the “City of Students” campus, the limits of which can be a determinant of student’s space, but also allow them to interact with this space and its surroundings.
  • Calculation of the costs of the proposal,
  • Proposal of an action plan for the rehabilitation of the “City of Students” campus

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

Any solution should also establish a model applicable in other territories similar in function and type, which are not part of this competition, but have the same urgency to deliver similar qualitative spaces and services.

Area of Competition

The area of competition is determined by the property of “City of Students”, or “University Student Residence No.1″, which extends in an area of about 25 hectares, of which 6.7 hectares are occupied by informal constructions. The Master Plan “City of Students” should study and propose an approach to informal settlements. Master Plan can accept the existing condition of informality on the fringes of the “City of Students” and create a programmatic communication with this reality, or can radicalize its position by proposing to raze the occupied territories of the “City of Students” and reallocate residents to other proposed structures. Decisions for each case should be properly argued.

Furthermore within the “City of Students” campus, in the sport fields’ area, a while ago a faculty complex for the University of Tirana was planned. The Master Plan should study and take a position on this project. The Master Plan could accept the faculty complex as the status quo or consider the territory a tabula-rasa and propose an alternative open air or built function. The decision should again be properly argued.


The aim of this competition is to generate ideas that will lead to a development model of “Student City” space, completely different from the current one, a model for contemporary conditions of student life, by improving public spaces of the commons while aiming at private investments through Public-Private Partnerships. The proposal will help the “Student City” highlight clearly its identity; while at the same time it will improve the connectivity of the area and its interconnection of the suburbs and other premises.


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 frames. 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 and project-idea that will target the design of the Master Plan for the “Student City”, the construction of new student residences and the urban and architectural rehabilitation of spaces and existing facilities within the campus.

PHASE 2: at this stage “Draft detail design”, 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. 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 will ensure fast and direct impact in the intervention area. Meetings will be held in Tirana.  

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. Even though, 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, 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; or2. 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 an architect, landscape architect, installation artist or sculptor, similar enterprises management expert, structural engineer and implementation value estimator.  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 documentsEntrants 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 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 fulfillment of documents required for Phase 1
  • Professional composition of the team (architect, landscape architect, artist, structural engineer, management expert and estimator)
  • Similar experience of the studio and the main collaborators
  • Clarity and efficiency of proposed methodology
  • Relevancy of the proposed with the scope of the competition and issues of “Student City”

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 Implement ability

– 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 post-competition process.

The winning team will be engaged in the next phase, which consists in the elaboration of the Master Plan “Student City” based on the winning proposal. The winning concept will aim to improve existing buildings “Student City”, the construction of new buildings, improvement of current student residences and socio-cultural life in this residential campus, improving collective public spaces, determining exact campus boundaries and a clear and final division between the campus area and informal constructions in its periphery.

The development model that will be detailed by the winning team shall serve primarily as a platform for an open bidding process for a Public Private Partnership for the rehabilitation and management of the “Student City” campus.

The product of the competition, will serve to rehabilitate the “Student City” space  and in turn will serve as a pilot project, equipped with a “tool-kit” to guide other processes on the topic of how can be similar structures be rehabilitated and managed in Tirana or elsewhere.

Process Post – Contest

To better coordinate 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 Master Plan. The concept here is that the actors come together to share ideas, proposals and suggestions, below the curatorial stewardship of the members of the Jury and other specialized institutions. This meeting will be conducted in Tirana.

Awards Contest

The competition will be a winner, who will receive a cash prize of 15,000 Euros.

While the other four top ranked teams, (but the winner) will be awarded cash prize of 3.750 Euros each.

The winning team will begin contract negotiations with the Client for an agreement detailing the Master Plan. The contract detailing the Master Plan will be limited to 15,000 Euros.

Competition Platform

Competition Type:                                 Urban and Architectural 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 Submission

Phase 2 Requirements:                         Project-Idea

In-between Phase:                                Local visit in the concerned area and two-day workshop with local stakeholders.

Jury Evaluation:                                    1 Winning team which will work on the detailed design for the Master Plan

Prizes:                                                  5 Prizes

Winner:  15,000 Euro

4 top ranked teams: 3,750 Euro each

Competition Calendar


Open call for interest:                                        26 January

Phase 1 Deadline:                                            16 February, 09.00 (local time)

Short-listing:                                                     16-17 February

Idea-Design Competition Invitation:                   18 February

Preparation of Idea-Design:                               18 February – 10 April

Workshop in TIRANA:                                       6-7 March

Finalization of Brief and any further planning:     18 February – 9 March

Phase 2 Deadline:                                             10 April

Public Presentations:                                        11 April

Jury Evaluation:                                                            11 April

Announcement of Results:                                 11 April



Contract Negotiation

Contract Signing for Detailed Master Plan Design:         April

Detailed Master Plan Design Process:                           April – May

Meetings with AA/Jury and Stakeholders:                      between 11 April – 25 May

Detailed Master Plan Design Submission:                      25 May


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:


konkursStudent City