Drawing Natural Authenticity

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Architect, Collage, Texture

Drawing Natural Authenticity

ZARK Architects

The project is the response to a competition for young architects organised in correlation by the governments of Albania and Kosovo s to bring innovation in the spatial development of the border region Albania – Kosovo and to promote economic, social and cultural values.

ZARK approached the proposal through the exploring of activities and sports to increase interest within visitors whilst strengthening infrastructure in order to make the site more easily accessible. As such the essence of the project is indeed the very essence of the area, natural elements, simple and minimal in appearance which manage to rouse great feelings. Using the existing paths, not only as connecting axis, but as characteristic itineraries that offer stops in important points, emphasizing the experience of walking on the mountain.

The proposed intervention can be associated tp key words as: authenticity, combination, memory, frame, myth, valley trail, line, strength, ease, minimal design, materials of the area.



Who influences you graphically?

For this project we had to deal with a complex area. It has an enormous surface with a diverse territory both in the geomorphology and cultural/manmade habitat. Since our idea for the project is to intervene with a “delicate network”; connecting important places, offering the visitor/habitant several activities originating from traditional festivals, as well as belvederes and pavilions where you can stop and take all the emotions from the natural site; we wanted to emphasize the properties of the terrain and to represent all the elements, in a way that they would not compete with each other, we decided to have a simple graphical representation. Following this path, we drew inspiration from Dogma, because in their apparently simple images the natural elements and the new design are the force of the image.


You construct through collage, to what extent do you think that the term collage applies to the realm of constructing architecture?

The pieces that go into making a collage can be very different from each other in material, colors or shapes, but when they are assembled together a new whole is achieved. This new whole is much more than the pieces, generating for the viewer new ideas and feelings that the pieces could not achieve. Architecture in a way is a form of collage, if we see it as an assembly of materials “glued together” to give a wholesome feeling. However, in architecture creating the space is fundamental and that is achieved by combining not only materials but also taking into consideration the activities that will take place, the constructive demands, the practical and aesthetic demands too.


What dictate the square format of your images?

We wanted to use rectangular shapes to represent our idea since it resembles more to a frame, and by using several frames trying to give the feeling of a journey by pictures. We felt the regular square was better that other rectangular because we wanted to emphasize the mountainous aspect of the terrain as the strong and visual identity of the area.

On what basis do you select specific images? Are there any specific factors you keep in mind when constructing your personal archive? 

The images were selected based on the several stops of the network of roads and paths that we propose. These stops vary from cultural festivals of the area to farmers market to pavilions.

The projects we work each have a different starting point and influences, but each one of them influences the next project. In this way we discover the best graphic represantation which we most feel confident and better suited to the specific site and idea. Also, the personal memories and experiences of each one of us show through the sketches and diagrams. In this way the ‘archive’ is constantly developing as we use what we already know and push ourselves to discover new paths for the next project.

How does the texture of the image dictate and alter the viewers perception of it?

The texture of the image is not smooth, it feels a bit rough and grainy, giving the idea that it is more like a painting than a digitally altered image and thus creates a more intimate feeling with the viewer. In this way the viewer is closer and the idea of a journey into the site is “created” through the frames.



ZARK is a team of young architects graduated from Polis University in Albania. The team is made from: Klaudio Ruci, team leader, is from Vlora, Albania, but has lived in Athens, Greece for most his life. Zamira Abazi and Rilind Papraniku are both from Tetovo, Macedonia and Ada Lushi is from Lezha, Albania. They met during their studies in Tirana, a developing city especially in the field of architecture. Even though they come from different backgrounds, this proves to be an asset to better understand architectural issues and design.


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