Italian architect Stefano Boeri and Malla-based SON Architects will develop new projects for the conservation, presentation, interpretation, enhancement, and planning of the Archaeological Excavations of the Roman Amphitheatre, the Byzantine Forum, and Roman Baths, including the design of a series of urban pathways in the historic center of Durrës, the Albanian capital.
The project was appointed to the architects after winning a competition organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Albanian-American Development Foundation.
The new redevelopment plans will allow the city of Durrës ” to become the cultural gateway of the Mediterranean, a hub and magnet for Albania and the region with its amphitheater playing a leading role as the icon at the heart of the city.”
With its elliptical shape, the amphitheater plays a leading role as the icon at the heart of the city.
“The amphitheater has been neglected for a long time and there has not been a plan for the integration of the archaeological resources of the city or the creation of an itinerary largely due to limited funding and a slow timescale with international archaeological teams working on a part-time basis,” as stated in the press release.
Today, the amphitheater is the main archaeological attraction for the city and receives approximately 20,000 visitors per year (pre-Covid-19).
“The main objective of the project is to connect the waterfront and the port of Durrës with the city’s main tourist attractions by means of urban pathways, since many outlying cultural assets still remain disconnected and difficult for residents and visitors to access, thereby hindering touristic development,” as stated by the architectural teams.
The Byzantine Forum and the Roman Baths are also important cultural assets for Durrës, although unfortunately they are closed, hidden, and underappreciated.
The Roman Baths are listed as a cultural monuments.
They cover an area of approximately 700 square meters and include different spaces, of which only two, the caldarium and pool, have been identified, while the tepidarium and the frigidarium remain unexcavated.
The archaeological area of the Byzantine Forum or the so-called “Rotonda” served as a public space for the organization of fairs and meetings and covers an area of approximately 2,530 square meters.
It contains the remains of a round portico with a podium at the center which remains partially below the level of the surrounding streets, sidewalks, and buildings.
The two areas are currently separated from each other by a narrow unexcavated strip at the current street level and access is only granted by special arrangements.
Stefano Boeri Architetti and SON Architects will work closely with the Ministry of Tourism and Environment through the National Tourism Agency, the National Coastline Agency, and the National Agency for Territorial Planning on the project.
Project: Redevelopment of the Roman Amphitheater, Roman Baths and Byzantine Forum Area
Architects: Stefano Boeri Architetti and SON Architects
Client: Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment, National Tourism Agency, and National Agency for Territorial Planning
Photographers: Stefano Boeri Architetti and SON Architects