Molding the place, brand and business plan for southern Europe’s next big tourist destination, Hotel Jali benchmarks the future of sustainable development along the Albanian Riviera.
The site for Hotel Jali sits within an area steeped in Albanian and Greek cultures. The project is situated in one of the many pristine bays that are dotted along the coastline from Llogara National Park in the north to the city of Sarandë in the South. We were invited by the government to develop an architectural concept that would inform the place, brand and business plan for the new destination.
We began by studying the form and materials of local villages to see how they created comfortable, non–air-conditioned space. Specifically, the neighboring historical hill town of Vuno, with its massive masonry walls and ingenious shading devices.
Our concept uses these elements reinterpreted for a contemporary context—arches, loggias, courtyards, louvres, and planted verandas. Buildings are stepped and terraced with the land contours. Pools and native landscapes help to cool outdoor spaces, while pergolas and grape vines provide shelter, shadow, and movement. As you get closer to the architecture, contemporary elements, such as spas and infinity pools, reveal the complete nature and character of the hotel development.
With 150 hotel suites, beach bungalows, and apartments, and 93 private apartments and villas, the complex is designed as a small village of low-rise buildings, assembled to create a sense of community.
We proposed artisan shops to create a village “center,” where locals can run cafes, bakeries, and retail, bringing life and culture to the area for visitors, but also to provide local employment. Our holistic master plan has led to a strategic plan for further development of a future village center and public spaces.
The spirit of Hotel Jali will guide future development. The program creates a resort that not only brings tourists to the area, but also benefits locals in neighboring villages by providing spaces for small businesses, services, and sustainable jobs throughout the year.