(Un)margin the Shkodër’s gate / An opportunity to regenerate an important landmark
Author: Saimir Shtylla
Affiliation: Polis University
The Shkodra’s gate is located in the southernmost point of the city, where there is the confluence of Buna, Kiri and Drini Rivers. This gate is not a simple access to the most import city of the North, but the Albania’s main gate, towards northern and central Europe. The countless postcards produced through the years, mark its importance by figuring the two main symbols of this landmark: the Rozafa’s castle, positioned in a very strategic point at the top and the Buna’s river that springs from Shkodra’s Lake. During the 19th century, its strategical position and the navigability of the Buna’s river, encouraged the creation of city’s harbor, tied Shkodra economically with many European harbor cities of the Adriatic basin such as Venice, that lately encouraged the concentration of many small artisanal enterprises and birth of the local market, too. During Socialism, the centralized economic model implemented in the country banned private activities because of being in contrast with the ideology of the regime and it couldn’t be different in Shkodra where the harbor, the local market and the surrounding buildings were blown away, erasing an important piece of history. Nowadays, this area isn’t in a good condition because of the constant flood risk and the abandoned building that were expected to host economic activities are a clear demonstration of the lack of attention and investments from the public administration and the central government. The so called “bypass”, supposed to act as dike to prevent floods, is no less than a huge amount of gravel placed in the limit of the city. Despite suffering this quasi-miserable condition, a regeneration is vital to rebirth the lost identity and to assure protection from floods. The project proposal doesn’t consist in the (re) building of a new harbor, as an attempt to restore the lost memory, but as part of a series of interventions to protect the city from the lake’s and Buna’s river behavior during their peaks also aiming to preserve and improve further the relation between them and the city.
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