The project is located in Lalzit Bay on the Ionian Cost of Albania which has a unique landscape of pine trees and endemic plants. The project aims to keep and conserve this vibrant and virgin nature as much as possible while proposing an outstanding and alluring new tourist development. The main intellectual frame of the design is to be in conversation with the existing natural texture and to create a unique environment with an emphasis on a fragmented naturality. The project site has a unique flora of large trees with varying clusters and the location and density of these trees is the most important criteria for the conceptual framework and master plan decisions. The conserved pine trees set a natural and tranquil atmosphere as they act like green umbrellas engaged in a dialogue with buildings. The hotel component of the project is planned on the south west part of the site, given the fact that this part has very few trees and is farthest away from the existing residential developments and the beach. The hotel block is designed around a big courtyard with spacious water villas to the west and the standard hotel rooms to the east. All the amenities for the hotel are located around this courtyard on the ground floor. Water as one of the most important elements of the land's genetic structure, is used as the main landscape element throughout this courtyard and the whole project site. The amenities for the hotel define the eastern border of the courtyard and are covered with a canopy that connects all the functions together with a semi-open circulation system. The standard rooms are located on top of this canopy which doubles as a new ground floor for the hotel rooms. The rooms are designed as fragmented clusters that scale down as they go up, which allows for all the rooms to have big private outdoor areas. These rooms are connected with each other and the service functions on the basement with a circulation spine. Another component of the hotel complex, the serviced apart rooms are located on the detached south western plot. These units are larger than the hotel rooms and can be used as hotel rooms or short-term housing which will be serviced from the main hotel amenities. The main design criteria for the road network of the residential units is again the existing trees and roads on the site. Two main east-west axes are designed as the main entrance points for the residences. These axes are then connected with a road network that allow connections in the north-south direction. Both these residence entrances and the main hotel entrance is serviced by the main road that would run along the existing water canal to the east of the project site. The residential part of the project consists of two different typologies; the townhouses with heights varying from 1-4 floors that are made up of different housing units and the detached villas with big private gardens. Both these typologies are designed with similar principles to the hotel where fragmentation and blending in with the nature are key components. The townhouse units form unique interior courtyards within the main framework defined by the road network. These blocks ranging from 20m-50m in length are fragmented and rotated according to the location of the existing trees and roads. They also scale down as they go up, which allows for all the units to have big private outdoor terraces. The fragmented design language which was also a part of the general approach was enriched with the use of a natural and textured material palette. The main driver behind the material choices is the aim to blend the buildings with the nature and make them disappear as much as possible. Natural stone, timber, earthy shades of textured plaster and exposed concrete are the main materials of this palette with their various colors and texture.
EAA Emre Arolat Architecture was founded in May 2004 by Emre Arolat and Gonca Pasolar in Istanbul and continues its design studies at the offices in London and Istanbul with a team of more than 50 people, working on projects at various scales. In the architectural design process at EAA main decisions consider the interpretation of the context in its widest sense rather than specific visual correspondences. The architectural significance of EAA was supported by many awards, most notable ones being the Aga Khan Award in 2010 and RIBA Award for International Excellence in 2018. Emre Arolat also has a presence in the academic world with lectures, jury contributions and studio tutorage in many schools as Yale School of Architecture, Delft Berlage, NYC Pratt Institute.