Pogradec Erseka Korca Devoll
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Korça City Centre Masterplan awarded to Bolles + Wilson

BOLLES+WILSON have been pronounced winner of the competition for the new Korça City Centre Masterplan. The international two-stage competition was decided in favour of the Münster based office for its concept of 'Scenograpic Urbanism', a choreographing of new buildings and public spaces which pays close attention to the existing grains and potentials of this small but spatially complex city.

Surrounded by dramatic mountains and a wide arcadian valley, Korça is a region of 360,000 inhabitants. BOLLES+WILSON identified five zones for the revitalisation of the 197,000 sq m city centre.

Cathedral Square, the first zone, is planned three steps above the street and framed by café pergolas, an optical filter between traffic and event space. A large stage left of the cathedral and a smaller stage to the right facilitate a wide variety of events. Curved paving stripes echo the Cathedral geometry and serve to discipline market stands.

A new 'Vertical Mall' will become a figure in the skyline presiding over the Theatre Square. A new commercial strip will extend from here to the Bazaar via new shopping/housing blocks and a new Bus Station Roof – a Farmers-market platform. This, the second of the five zones, creates a new commercial hub in downtown Korça.

The third zone is rescripted as a 'Cultural promenade', a semi-pedestrian connection between Cathedral and downtown Mall. Here a number of significant buildings such as the 'Education Museum' are extended out into the tree-lined, shady and café-filled Promenade as a carpet-like patterned paving, a choreographed sequence of 'Patterned Squares – Urban Living Rooms'.

The fourth zone revitalises a villa zone. In order not to overwhelm the delicate historic scale of Korça a 'Patchwork Strategy' is invented - new buildings are paired with restored existing villas to form 'Development Islands' with a shared economic benefit.

The final zone of the Masterplan is the 'Enlarged Park' ('green heart'). Here a new triangular-block frames the park edge and by the sale of public land for private development finances the upgrading of the park itself. An 'Active Edge' mediates between park and surrounding city – Prismic Pavilions on wooden decks attracting cafes and individual user groups such as Youth Club, Kindergarten, Kadare Literature Club etc.

source: www.worldarchitecturenews.com