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A Vision for Velika Plaza (Montenegro)

Velika Plaza Masterplan

Urbatur (Gercinartur) + PRP+ WSP Group + Cashmore Golf Design + ERA / AECOM

1. Introduction

1.1. Original full Document Structure

Vision, design principles, delivery, economic, social and physical strategies are set out in further detail in the following chapters:

Chapter 2 focuses on the design principles that underpin the masterplan, followed by the design strategies ranging from site analysis to economic strategy, architectural design and the masterplan.

Chapter 3 covers the topic of delivery, providing a schedule of accommodation and services, phasing proposals and strategies, and consideration of delivery, operations  and management methodologies. Italso examines the economic, social and environmental drivers that may lead to changes in the delivery strategy in the future.

Chapters 4 addresses the economic strategy including the future of all economic sectors from tourism to infrastructure, services, commerce and agriculture. The chapter takes the opportunity to explore in some depth some of the specialist tourism offers and strategies proposed to enable successful all-year round visitor levels.

Chapter 5 summarises the civic, education, health, welfare and social equity measures required to support the existing and new residents in a rapidly developing economic area. Strategies are proposed to ensure that local populations benefit from both the creation of new economic opportunities whilst having access to new affordable housing in integrated settlements that offer high standards of living.

Chapter 6 then discusses the physical considerations behind the masterplan. Landscape, ecology, services, infrastructure and construction are each addressed in relation to the delivery of a successful masterplan ensuring Velika Plaza prospers whilst protecting and improving its most valuable cultural and ecological assets.

Chapter 7 finally demonstrates the positive response that our scheme has had from consultants and hotel operators consulted, with a letter of support from the Jumeirah hospitality group expressing potential interest in many areas of the areas development including eco-hotels, waterfront communities, spas, golf and the hospitality management academy.

2. Design Principles

2.1. Design Vision

Velika Plaza was to become a unique destination building a strong reputation around its rich cultural and ecological environment celebrating the uniqueness of Montenegro’s natural history. This methodology will provide the opportunity for an exceptionally rich and varied tourism experience. The economic strategy will ensure a strong year-round economy with eco-tourism, conference and golf facilities extending the traditional tourist summer season. Local services, infrastructure, commerce, education and agriculture will complement the tourism/leisure industry, providing new employment and prosperity for local populations.

Velika Plaza’s existing wilderness landscape is enhanced and extended and will form the physical backbone to the master plan through the creation of the Bojana Nature Reserve and Velika Plaza Landscape Park, which will form a protected ecological spine around which six distinct settlements housing 30,000 tourists and 8,500 local employees will be located. Dedicated nautical, camping, sports, beach, civic and ecologically-oriented attractions will draw on the site’s existing assets, ensuring Velika Plaza has something to offer all its visitors. World-class facilities such as a Marina, specialist sports and leisure facilities, Golf Courses, Hotels, Spa, Conference center, Casino, and Hospitality Academy will place Velika Plaza on the international stage.

The area was to become a model benchmark development for Montenegro, the Baltic region and beyond, providing the infrastructure, economic and educational resources to develop and promote sustainable economic growth and ecologically sensitive tourism. It will ensure the protection of Montenegro’s culture, heritage and ecology, and future prosperity for its inhabitants.

Figura 1. Masterplan.
Figure 1. Masterplan.

2.2. Design Process

The Design Process took the site as its inspiration. Velika Plaza’s abundant and unique ecology, wide mineral-rich beach, hot but comfortable summers, stormy winter months and unusually flat topography formed the starting point for the development of both the economic and design strategy.

The design strategy proposes a process of opportunity and constraint analysis, destination protection, economic enhancement, and settlement design. Site analysis underpins the development of economic activities and attractions around the unique characteristics of Velika Plaza which offer opportunities not found elsewhere in Montenegro, whilst protecting the site’s valuable cultural and ecological heritage within the Reserve, Parks and heritage zones.

These unique characteristics of the site are then complemented through the design of a series of distinctive settlements, each catering to a specialist user group, with an urban and architectural form that communicates the origins and ethos of the settlements and allows permeation and integration with the protected landscape beyond. In this way the masterplan creates a series of spaces and places of character, capable of competing with existing destinations and economies by offering a distinct and memorable alternative.

The site was seen to hold a number of unique conditions which presented opportunities for economic and spatial development;- Green-field site- High proportion of land within Government Ownership- Flat topography

- Shallow bathometry

- Man-made Milena Channel

- Long mineral-sand beach

- Dunes and sandy soils

- Migrating bird populations 

- Pastures and agricultural Land

Each of these characteristics were seen as valuable assets that should be utilized in the development of Velika Plaza. They presented the following opportunities:


Given the rich ecological features and the high scenic value of Velika Plaza and the surrounding area, an opportunity exists to encourage eco-tourism through a variety of activities and the development of environmentally friendly facilities, nature reserves, visitor’s centers and resorts. This will be particularly important during those winter months when ‘traditional’ tourism levels tend to drop away. The attraction of ornithological tourists to view winter migrations to Skadar Lake would significantly contribute to the development of Velika Plaza as a year-round destination.

Nautical Tourism

Velika Plaza’s Milena Estuary, an artificial and heavily salted channel, offers the opportunity for a terra-form development to create a modern marina environment capable of serving the day trippers from the new Kotor Marina without disruption to historic habitats. An inland marina also presents the opportunity for a marina-side development of high-economic value which could include boutiques and opportunities for other high-spend leisure facilities such as a casino.

Velika Plaza’s shallow topography and sea bed also lend themselves to family and beginner oriented water-based activities. The shallow incline of the sea bed makes swimming, sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing and other activities extremely feasible, meaning the site would be of high marketing value to the outdoor pursuits and sports tourism sector.

Specialist Sports and Leisure Development

Whilst Montenegro is well endowed with terrain for climbing and strenuous hiking it is unsuitable for many sports activities requiring flat terrain. The site’s flat topography therefore provides a unique opportunity, within Montenegro, to develop sports and activities suited to flat terrains such as a specialist sports training center, equestrian center, championship-level golf course, and family-friendly walking and cycling.

The Masterplan

Figura 2. Zona izquierda del masterplan.
Figure 2: Masterplan left side
Figura 3. Parte central del masterplan.
Figure 3: Masterplan middlepart
Figura 4. Parte derecha del masterplan.
Figure 4: Masterplan right side

Championship Links Golf Course

Though golf is a rapidly developing sport in Montenegro most courses are situated on hilly undulating ground which is not suitable for championship level play. Velika Plaza offers the opportunity for a up to two golf courses with potential for ‘links style’ courses utilizing the Scottish model of courses designed in coastal and dune landscapes which utilize local species, and preservation techniques to protect and enhance protected habitats. Such a championship level course could serve to promote the site as an international golf destination whilst again expanding visitor numbers in spring and autumn months.

Spa and Health Specialisms

The existing natural thermal and mineral properties of the area, coupled with Velika Plaza’s rich eco-system, climate and shallow sandy beaches provides the opportunity for spa and health-based services and tourism. A specialist eco-spa developed around local mineral and plant treatments would help promote Velika Plaza as a unique world- quality destination.

Development of Sustainable Infrastructure

Due to the much of the site’s current undeveloped state, significant government land ownership and flat topography the masterplan offers the opportunity to develop an advanced, sustainable and highly efficient infrastructure without the challenges of existing settlements or mountainous terrain (see chapter 6 for details). Such an infrastructure will be critical to the provision of world-class development on the site and across Montenegro and could also serve the adjacent municipality of Ulcinj enabling its development. Delivery methods for infrastructure are also covered in chapter 3.

Sustainable Agriculture

Velika Plaza’s flat topography and rich alluvial soils make local agriculture an important potential source of economic development, and the masterplan will provide an important opportunity to develop the agricultural sector within the local area through investment in farming skills and equipment. Co-operation with tourism operations in line with eco- tourism aspirations, such as providing organic and local produce and tours of local farms would further promote the region and its cultural heritage whilst strengthening the agricultural industry.

Year-round Destination and Economic Integration

It is essential to the future of Velika Plaza to be developed as an integrated economy with a year-round offer in order that local populations can benefit from a stable income and employment and enjoy the improved services and amenities this stability would bring. Velika Plaza’s placement as a destination able to provide a wide range of economic and tourism opportunities, unique to the area, which attract year round visitors will ensure that prosperity and stability for local populations and will support growth in the region.

The Site

The design process took the site as its inspiration. Velika Plaza is a site rich in cultural and ecological heritage, but is radically different from most of Montenegro and it is these difference that gives the site its potential. The predominately flat site, some 1450 hectares in size is bounded by the existing settlements of Gornje and DonjeStoj, and consists of agricultural, woodland, pasture, dune and beach zones. Natural woodlands, dunes and wetlands host many endemic species, and the local salt pans and southern tip of the site provide a critical staging post in bird migration patterns to Skadar Lake. The site’s 13km long beach is rich in local minerals and the sea and man-made channels are shallow with local Kalimera fishing structures situated in river courses. Site access and services are currently limited and environmental protection is a current issue. 

Figura 5. El lugar.

Figure 5: The Site

Ecology and Destination Preservation

• Bojana Nature Reserve 

• Velika Plaza Landscape Park 

• Ecological Corridors 

• Woodland Corridors

• Dune Preservation Zone 

• Agricultural Protection Zones 

• Kalimera Protection Zones

In order that Velika Plaza can be both protected and developed as a unique destination in the world market the masterplan proposes a destination protection methodology beginning with the protection of existing assets by creating ecological reserves, parks and corridors and heritage protection zones. The proposed Bojana Nature Reserve, 850 hectares in area, will protect over 50% of the site and prohibit any building outside of the permitted masterplan development. In addition to the Bojana Reserve a Landscape Park covering 160 hectares is proposed to provide a continuous protected ecological link across the remainder of the site ensuring that Velika Plaza’s natural environment is available to all its inhabitants.

Complementing these, a series of protected ecological corridors will then preserve and enhance existing ecologies, reconnect dune, woodland and pasture habitats and encourage movement of wildlife through the site. Finally agricultural and Kalimera fishing protection zones protect the existing traditions of local inhabitants ensuring historic traditions can be preserved future generations.

Figura 6. Ecología y preservación del destino.

Figure 6: Ecology and Destination Preservation

Economic Opportunities

The economic vision for Velika Plaza is to create a year-round tourist economy based on the enhancement of the areas rich cultural and ecological environment whilst providing a wealth of opportunities and amenities for the local community, enriching social development, and serving as a catalyst for the local economy.

Tourism Opportunities

- Bojana Nature Reserve and Visitors Centre 

- Velika Plaza Landscape Park

- Agricultural Zone and Visitors center

- Nautical tourism and Marina

- World-class Sports and Leisure Facilities 

- Casino

The masterplan proposes an integrated economic development strategy promoting the development of an a-typical offer focusing on the unique attributes of the site in order to provide an alternative rather than a competing offer in the national market.

The site’s unique characteristics such as its mineral-rich beach, flat topography, man- made channels, bird migration patterns, dune and agricultural zones form the basis for extensive tourist facilities, prompting proposals for a marina, nature reserve, spa, sports zones, golf courses, conference, water-sports, equestrian and visitors centers which would be untenable in many parts of Montenegro.

In addition to these tourist opportunities, agricultural zones, a commercial innovation hub, a hospitality academy and business district, and sustainable infrastructure services, all help form an integrated economic strategy ensuring community welfare and development and year-round economic activity.

The proposed economic strategy is explored in more depth in chapter 4 of the full document.

Local Economic Impact

- Business Innovation Zone and Conference Centre

- Velika Plaza Town Business District Hospitality Academy

- Social Infrastructure and Job Creation 

- Creation of Community Facilities 

- Upgrading of Physical Infrastructure

The development will serve as a catalyst for economic prosperity by providing acutting-edge Business Innovation Zone and conference facilities featuring state-of-the-art communications networks, an internationally recognized Hospitality Academy, and numerous other benefits to the community, including significant upgrades to the physical infrastructure and the creation of new employment opportunities.

Sustainable Business Practices

During both construction and operation, Velika Plaza and its associated developments will follow the principles of green procurement, with an emphasis on the use of local materials, produce and staff.

Figura 7. Prácticas empresariales sostenibles.

Figure 7: Sustainable Business Practices

The Settlement strategy

The Settlement strategy takes the principles of concentration and dispersal as its central concepts. With potential for 30,000 on-site tourists, additional day-visitors,  and projected requirements for affordable housing for 8,500 workers the strategy proposes that accommodation must be both concentrated in order to ensure minimal environment impact and efficient movement, and dispersed in order that the development not be felt to be overbearing in any one area. It is therefore proposed that development be clustered in 6 settlements covering only 160 hectares, or 11% of the site area (of which only 30 hectares is built footprint).

The summer high of over 40,000 people on the site, would require significant leisure, retail, entertainment and civic services which will need to be provided mostly in an urban environment. The strategy therefore proposes the creation of two towns, Porto Milena (pop.12,000) and Velika Plaza Town (pop. 12,500) at the northern tip and center of the site respectively. Both towns sit adjacent to the regional road ensuring ease of access and will combine a range of economic activities with tourist accommodation and affordable housing in order to create year-round towns. The first, Porto Milena, acts as a focus for luxury nautical and leisure tourism and as a gateway to the site, whilst Velika Plaza Town becomes a year-round civic hub serving existing and projected local populations and forms a barrier to development between the northern populated end of the site and the southern Bojana Reserve. 4 seasonal tourist villages then compliment the towns serving populations of between 1,500-6,000 visitors. The villages act as stepping stones for movement across the site and sit adjacent to the protected dune zone between Milena and Velika Plaza Towns. Each village provides specialist accommodation for user groups ranging from the 6* luxury Bojana reserve village, to the mid-range beach, sports and camping villages ensuring that Velika Plaza creates a varied offer with sufficient diversity to attract tourists year-round.

Figura 8. Estrategia de asentamientos.
Figure 8: Settlement Strategy

Porto Milena

Porto Milena is one of two towns in Velika Plaza. With 8,000 tourist beds and affordable housing for 2,000 local workers the new town provides the critical mass required to accommodate a rich variety of retail, civic and leisure facilities. The town provides a water-front urban setting with, marina, yacht club, extensive water-front promenades, Montenegrin-style old town, Boutique retail, extensive leisure opportunities and a mix of accommodation in Town-house hotels and apartments. Complementing the ‘old-town’ zone, Porto Milena ‘new town’ provides a mixture of sea-view apartments and affordable housing. A casino, conference center and amphitheater would also be located here. The provision of conferencing, affordable housing and potential owner- occupied apartments serve to extend occupation into spring and autumn months and to ensure that the town’s retail and leisure services are viable enterprises. In this way the settlement remains vibrant through most of the year.

Velika Plaza Town

Velika Plaza Town is intended as an extension of DonjiStoj village, providing civic services for existing locals and affordable housing for 8,500 incoming workers alongside 4,000 tourist beds. Located at the center of the site the town is intended to supplement the needs of adjacent villages and the beach, reserve and sports villages are all within a 15 minute walk. The town will provide high quality affordable housing in an urban environment with all the associated benefits of a modern town such  as high quality education and health facilities, retail, entertainment, community and arts spaces and good quality public realm. In addition a civic center, hospitality training academy and business district will promote investment in the local community.

Velika Plaza Beach Village

Sited adjacent to Velika Plaza Town, Velika Plaza Beach Village in intended to be a seasonal settlement with a summer population of 6,000, and will host the majority of the area’s beach-oriented visitors in a low-rise village setting. Designed to follow the topographical ridge line the village has  a central spine containing retail, food and drink facilities, which connects it with Velika Plaza Town to the north, with the beach to the south, and with ‘fingers’ of development which enclose green shaded communal recreation zones. The Beach Village is surrounded by protected areas, and has a rich variety of facilities to hand including the sports zones, Landscapes Park and Bojana Reserve. The Beach Village also hosts the areas water-sports center which compliments the facilities offered in Porto Milena.

Velika Plaza Sports Village

Velika Plaza Sports Village sits adjacent to the two sports zones in Velika Plaza Landscape Park and will act as a key attractor providing sports summer camps and winter training for professional sports people in the Adriatic region and beyond. The Sports Village will host support facilities such as gyms, health spas and sports clinics supported by the local tourism academy to provide an integrated sports service for visitors and locals.

Velika Plaza Camping Village

Velika Plaza Camping Village will provide a mixture of hotels, apartments, cabin-based camping, and camping sites along with auxiliary facilities. The Camping Village will cater for those on a budget or who want to benefit from the natural setting of Velika Landscape Park as well as providing parking and retail for those visiting the beach.

Bojana Reserve Eco-Village

The Bojana Reserve Eco-Village is a 6* zero- carbon eco-resort occupying just 0.3% of the Reserve area. The resort will support the preservation of Bojana Reserve through revenue creation and promotion. The village contains a 6* hotel, luxury villas, and eco-spa and has access to the trail and visitor center facilities of the Bojana Reserve. Visitors can experience ecological and luxury leisure activities such as diving, hiking, bird watching and championship level golf. Bojana Reserve Eco-Village will be Velika Plaza’s flagship development providing an exemplar of sensitive sustainable tourism and creating an enviable reputation for Montenegro.

Movement and Connectivity

Velika Plazas aim to become a leading edge environmental community and tourist resort will be facilitated by an organized, cohesive and integrated transport system that enables easy access for all to each one of its distinctive attractions, whilst at the same time linking Velika Plaza with neighbouring settlements.

The transport strategy will also support the local community by facilitating access to employment opportunities, essential services and community facilities and will minimize emissions from transport through encouraging the use of alternative transport means whilst dis-incentivizing private vehicle usage. 

The establishment of an extensive road and cycling infrastructure network will facilitate sustainable and accessible travel options, supplemented by a series of themed pedestrian, cycle and equestrian trails linking settlements within the site and supported by a series of landscape corridors which encourage sustainable passive movement strategies.

A regional high capacity road provides high speed access to Porto Milena and Velika Plaza Town, and a new public transport network would complete the strategy.

Figura 9. Movilidad y conectividad.
Figure 9: Movement and Connectivity

2.3. Urban Form and Architectural Expression

Just as the economic strategy has developed the special qualities of Velika Plaza to create a unique destination, the masterplan’s development of urban and architectural form has sought to create a series of distinct places that respond sensitively to the site’s history and culture. Drawing on the settlement strategy the proposed settlements were divided into 3 broad typologies, Port Town (Porto Milena), Civic Town (Velika Plaza Town), and the Landscape Village, each of which would require the development of an architectural and settlement form appropriate to its type. As little historic development currently exists on the site, the design development looked at the site’s ecology and topography alongside the history of architectural and urban form in Montenegro as a whole for inspiration. Three themes emerged from this critical analysis.

Firstly, considering a form for the ‘Port Town’ Porto Milena, the vernacular urbanism of the sea-trading towns of Kotor and Budva seemed appropriate as a starting point, when creating a settlement referential to Montenegro’s sea-faring past and rich history at the nautical and physical gateway to the site. Secondly in the design of the ‘Civic Town’, design analysis examined the methods through which many European cultures have developed a modern urbanism, through a re-interpretation of the vernacular. Finally, the rich ecology of the site became the inspiration for the development of design strategies for ‘Landscape Villages’. An ecologically sensitive design approach led to consideration of building materials, form, and integration into the landscape, as central themes of the design of eco-settlements.

Porto Milena: Following Heritage and Tradition

The design framework for Porto Milena began with the creation of a new marina edge and the structuring of movement and green corridors around and through the site. The arrival of the existing bridge across the Milena onto the site formed an axial division of the site into ‘Old’ and‘New’, or pleasure (old) and amenity (new). Waterfront circuits or promenades then wind around the waterfronts connecting the two focal points of yacht club and conference center, complementing the promenades and creating connections between Porto Milena and the other settlements on the site. Green corridors permeate into the town forming an east-west axis along which a landscaped heart in turn leads to the main square. Finally local fishing structures, Kalimera, are protected in a riverside zone with sympathetic adjacent architecture and massing.

Figura 10. Masterplan de Porto Milena.
Figure 10: Porto Milena masterplan

The ‘Old Town’ focused around the marina and river consists of an ‘outer’ layer of marina promenade, and an ‘inner’ more structured heart. Along the waterfront an irregular series of spaces are created by a highly articulated composition of clusters and individual buildings. The waterfront promenade creates a circular loop across proposed footbridges across the marina and creates a vibrant water-front with food and drink retail and entertainment offer. This ‘outer’ layer of the old town is then complimented by the ‘inner’ heart, a more structured series of woven streets and squares designed to accommodate bustling summer occupancy and movement whilst still retaining the occurrence of irregular plan form and impromptu ‘piazzetti’.

The architectural language and massing in the ‘Old Town’ draws directly from the Montenegrin coastal vernacular with building heights of 2-4 and occasionally 5 storeys. Buildings are built of stone, with shuttered windows, and subtle interpretations of the Kotor house giving rise to Juliet balconies and terraces. An occasional ‘watch tower’, an interpretation of the bell tower, provides terraces and views across the town and out to sea and provides additional relief to massing. Finally along the main streets, retail facades allow a permeation of modern technology into the townscape with generous glass facades promoting an active retail culture. The only exception to this approach is the Yacht Club. Considered to be a focal point for movement and activity along the waterfront, the Yacht Club is a modern glistening object that appears to sail out into the bay, offering visitors broad open views, and the passer-by a vibrant center of activity.

The ‘New Town’ then draws inspiration from the ‘Civic Town’. Accommodating affordable housing for local employees, sea-view rental apartments, a casino and conference center, the ‘New Town’ is composed of more structured streets and blocks allowing for protected amenity, and ease of movement, whilst admitting a river of green into the heart of the town in the form of the final fingers of Velika Plaza Landscape Park woven around the affordable housing. The casino and conference center then acts as a polar hub for the settlement in conjunction with the Yacht Club. Another beacon building, the casino and conference center sits at the end of the beach promenade and opens up on to the beach side providing an open air amphitheater, outdoor cinema and performance space through the summer months. Architecture in the ‘New Town’ is on the whole more modern, with simple white render and buildings articulated through plan form, massing, terracing and balconies. Massing varies from 4-6 storeys.

Figuras 11 y 12. 1 - Muelle y paseo marítimo de Porto Milena (izquierda). 2- plaza principal de Porto Milena (derecha)     
Figures 11 and 12: -1- Porto Milena Quayside with waterfront promenade (left). -2- Porto Milena Central Square (right) 
Figuras 13 y 14. 3 – Avenida de Porto Milena, con vistas al la ciudad nueva y al bulevar verde central (izquierda). 4 - Bulevar verde de Porto Milena, con jardines botánicos y recorrido hacia corredor verde (derecha)     
Figures 13 and 14:  3- Porto Milena Avenue with views of the new town and central green boulevard beyond (left). -4- Porto Milena green boulevard with botanical gardens and route to green corridor (right)
Figura 15. Plaza central de Porto Milena, con comercios, cafés y restaurantes.
Figure 15: Porto Milena Central Square with boutique retail, cafes, restaurants and central performand space.
Figura 16. Frente marítimo de Porto Milena, con vistas al club de yates, al centro náutico y al paseo marítimo.
Figure 16: Porto Milena Waterfront with views of the yacht club and nautical centre, and waterfront promenade.

Velika Plaza Town: Developing a Montenegrin Modern

The design concept for Velika Plaza Town developed from the need to create an alternative urban and architectural form for the modern Montenegrin city that could deliver affordable housing, civic amenity and an efficient infrastructure through phased development whilst respecting the human scale and learning from traditional architectural form. Design development considered the roles of the environmental design in delivering a livable city, as well as modes of interface between the new town and existing settlement. Major environmental factors considered included the need to ensure thermal comfort and shade during the heat of the day, as well as the avoidance of long open boulevards open to south-east to eliminate discomfort from the strong south- easterly mistral winds.

The town was structured using a central connecting axis leading from DornjiStoj through Velika Plaza Town and Velika Plaza Beach Village to the sea. This central pedestrian axis forms the spine of the settlement along which retail, leisure, commerce and civic functions are located below residential uses. Small scale rectilinear blocks of 3-5 stories create a central tree-lined boulevard on the settlements spinal route, along which a series of small squares are found. A second layer of development sees the modulation of the block composition creating intimate shifting street patterns and small squares providing more intimate and shaded and sheltered environments. 

The town is then structured in a series of concentric arcs articulated by vehicular avenues and designed to facilitate phased development. The first and second arcs create an urban corridor along the regional road, with urban blocks of 5-6 stories lining the route, backed by smaller 3-4 storey blocks blending the development into the existing village. The regional road then terminates at a commercial square at the top of the spinal boulevard from where smaller local roads lead onwards to the Bojana Reserve and Sasko Lake.

Figura 17. Masterplan de Velika Plaza.
Figure 17: Velika Plaza Masterplan

To the south of the road the series of arcing avenues articulate large residential blocks of 5-6 storeys affordable housing designed to allow generous protected courtyard gardens within an efficient block structure. Vehicular avenues are interspersed with small squares and gardens, and shared surface roads privileging the pedestrian over the vehicle and between the second and third arcs a corridor of civic blocks provide education and health facilities for the block’s residents. The arcs are occasionally interrupted by the permeation of green corridors into the town as existing and extended woodland corridors pass into the settlement. Green corridors become tree-lined pedestrian boulevards and in turn diverge to become urban parks ensuring that the town retains and doesnot disrupt the site’s ecological habitats whilst creating community and leisure space residents.

At the town’s outer edges blocks begin to break down in mass and scale to 3 storeys and residents of the outer rings are afforded views of the Landscape Park, Bojana Reserve and sea beyond. Trails, cycle ways and local roads lead away from the settlement towards the Reserve, Sports Zones and coast allowing residents easy access the rich facilities of the site.

Architecturally buildings take their cues from a re-interpretation of the southern Mediterranean and the modern architecture found in the region, seeking to promote the inventive manipulation of form and material in the creation of a new ‘Montenegro Modern’. Blocks shift becoming here sculptural, there compositional and white rendered facades are articulated by shuttering, movement of the planer façade creating reveals and extrusions. The Mediterranean white is offset by key buildings in landmark materials of cultural or contextual referentiality. Materials used are of high thermal mass and the creation of shaded and shuttered openings combined with generous terraces and balconies and shaded internal courtyard to create buildings that guard against overheating and are well ventilated. Montenegrin typologies such as the summer kitchen and terraces are also integrated into both communal and private residences providing additional amenity space.

Figuras 18 y 19. -1- Llegada de  la carretera regional  desde Porto Mileno a Velika Plaza (Izquierda). -2-Encuentro de la carretera regional con el bulevar peatonal central (derecha).     

Figure 18: Arrival of regional road from Porto Milena into Velika Town(left) -1-

Figure 19: Regional road meets pedestrian central boulevard with ‘parkside’ apartments beyond (right) -2-

Figuras 20 y 21. -3- Bulevar central peatonal de Velika Plaza, con una mezcla de usos cívicos, comerciales y residenciales (izquierda). -4- Salida de Velika Plaza hacia Velika Plaza Beach Village a través del bulevar peatonal.  Figuras 20 y 21. -3- Bulevar central peatonal de Velika Plaza, con una mezcla de usos cívicos, comerciales y residenciales (izquierda). -4- Salida de Velika Plaza hacia Velika Plaza Beach Village a través del bulevar peatonal.

Figure 20: Velika Plaza Town pedestrianised central boulevard with mix of civic, retail and residential uses(left)-3-

Figure 21: Leaving Velika Plaza Town on pedestrian boulevard to Velika Plaza Beach Village (right)-4-

Figura 22. Jardines del hotel de Velika Plaza Beach Village, con vistas hacia las dunas y el mar.
Figure 22: Velika Plaza beach village hotel gardens overlooking dunes and sea beyond.
Figura 23. Bulevar peatonal central de Velika Plaza, con galerías, tiendas, bares y restaurantes.
Figure 23: Velika Plaza town central pedestrian boulevard with galleries, shops, bars and restaurants.

Bojana Eco-Village and Velika Plaza Beach Villages: The Landscape Village 

Located along the more ecologically sensitive coastal edge of the site, the 4 landscape villages take their physical setting as their primary design reference. Settlements are less concentrated and acknowledge topography and natural habitats, dispersing around so as to avoid disruption of valuable dune and forest ecologies. Central movement spines create fingers of settlement that weave into the landscape with only slim layers of development on either side that ensure all residents have direct views to the sea, Reserve or landscape park. Villages are low, between 1-3 storeys in height and where possible raise themselves above the landscape allowing flora and fauna free passage through the site. Local trees and plants infiltrate the villages providing shade and cooling to public and communal areas. Building materials are local and renewable, with light-weight construction combined with thermal mass to aid cooling. Hotels, apartments and villas open to the environment with generous shaded terraces and balconies creating mitigated leisure and amenity space and open views. Where roads and pathways are required these are restricted and made from porous materials to allow free flow of rain water, with roads giving way to tracks and pathways where the need for movement is minimal. The villages are run a possible using techniques such as solar hot water heating and rainwater harvesting, the latter made visible through architecture and the landscape in rainwater ponds.

The Velika Plaza Beach Village follows the principles of sensitive landscape integration. The settlement follows the meandering ridge of topographic relief to the rear of the protected dune zone, elevating movement spines approximately 3-4 meters above the flat terrain. 3 storey apartments and hotels percolate into the landscape, enjoying open views to park and sea and enclosing pockets of protected landscape. Below the ridge lower 2 storey villas sit lightly in the landscape, engaging with the more enclosed landscape pockets which become a generous informal park-scape of local flora and communal sports and recreation spaces.

Bojana Reserve Eco-Village follows the principles of sensitive landscape integration in an even less concentrated manner. With buildings covering only 0.3% of the Reserve area the hotel, apartments and villas are distributed lightly across the landscape with larger elements such as the hotel broken down into small villa annexes within the landscape. Buildings sit outside the sensitive dune zone and integrate with the natural vegetation within the forest area (significantly luxury in feel, made from local sustainable materials, and where possible raised above the ground allowing habitats pass through the buildings and creating ‘outdoor living spaces’ for visitors.

The architecture of the village communicates the high-quality, sensitivity and luxury that make the Bojana Village Velika Plaza’s flagship resort.

Figura 24. Bojana Eco-Village y Velika Plaza Beach Village.

Figure 24: Bojana Eco-Village and Velika Plaza Beach Villages Masterplan
Figura 25. Playa de Bojana Eco-Village, y sus villas de lujo.
Figure 25: Bojana Eco-Village beach with luxury villas. 
Figura 26. Hotel de Bojana Eco-Village con vistas a la Reserva Bojana.
Figure 26: Bojana Eco-Village hotel with views to Bojana Reserve. 

3. Delivery

The strategy to deliver the aims and objectives of the project both in the short and long term has been an important part of the master planning processso far. Analysis of the drivers for future change within the leisure industry has enabled us to identify those strategic measures which will make certain the success of Velika Plaza well into the future and ensure that the local and regional economy continue to benefit.

A comprehensive accommodation and facilities schedule demonstrates how the masterplan provides for the many different elements that make up Velika Plaza and its associated developments, whilst the phasing of construction has been considered in depth to illustrate how the development can become economically self-sustaining at the earliest possible point, at the same time as minimizing environmental and social impacts.

This Chapter concludes by taking into account those practical operational and management considerations which are vital to the long term running of the resort and achievement of the economic, social and environmental benefits that are laid out within the masterplan.

4. Economic Strategy

The vision for Velika Plaza is to create a year-round tourist economy based on the enhancement of the areas rich cultural and ecological environment whilst providing a wealth of opportunities and amenities for the local community, enriching social development, and serving as a catalyst for the local economy.

The Economic Strategy for Velika Plaza is underpinned by the tourism potential that the area has to offer, and by capitalizing upon this potential, the economic benefits could be significant.

The Tourism Strategy has been developed to enhance and support the economic growth of the area, and great care has been given to developing attractions that will appeal to the widest audience, catering for young and old alike, Velika Plaza has something to offer everyone.

5. Social Strategy

The development of Velika Plaza will in essence result in the creation of new town built in the first instance to support the needs of a tourist resort, but in time evolve into a community with local distinction connected heavily to its cultural roots, and capitalizing upon the opportunities that will arise from the modern day requirements of the international tourist market.

The new development will provide the existing settlements with a wide range of new facilities, from primary infrastructure and reliable utilities provision, to digital connectivity that will bring the global market into their homes.

To ensure that the settlements can provide their residents and communities with the amenities and services they need to support their families and social infrastructure, a range of facilities will be provided. Understanding the need for housing, schools, health care, leisure facilities and employment is essential to the quality of life standards that families should expect within their community. The structures are easily identifiable and will be provided in sufficient numbers to cater for local needs, but the less tangible and transient needs of the populace must also be considered and provision made for their inclusion to secure the inherent needs of this evolving community.

6. Physical Sustainability Strategy

Velika Plaza’s aim to become a leading edge environmental community and tourist resort will be facilitated by an organized, cohesive and integrated transport system.

Alternative energy generation and energy efficiency are key priorities for the Velika Plaza development, and a combination of viable technologies will be incorporated so that all new developments will be ‘Low Carbon’,seeking to evolve over time to an entirely ‘Energy Independent’ resort.

Velika Plaza will be ‘future-proofed’ so that the buildings, infrastructure and surrounding environment will maintain their performance during predicted longer, wetter summers and warmer, drier winters. To address the issue of water scarcity, the water strategy for Velika Plaza will be primarily focused on minimizing water use whilst maintaining high standards of service provision for both guests and employees of the resort.

Figura 27. Vista nocturna de Porto Milena desde la marina.
Figure 27: Night view of Porto Milena from Marina.
Nota Legal
Directora: María A. Leboreiro Amaro, Dra. Arquitecto. Profesora Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Consejo de redacción: Miquel Adriá, director de la revista Arquine
Carmen Andrés Mateo, Arquitecta. Profesora Asociada de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
José Mª Ezquiaga Dominguez. Dr. Arquitecto. Profesor Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
José Fariña Tojo. Dr. Arquitecto. Catedrático de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Fernando Fernández Alonso. Arquitecto. Profesor Asociado de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Josep Mª Llop Torne. Arquitecto. Profesor en la Facultad de Geografía de la Universidad de Lleida
Javier Ruiz Sánchez. Dr. Arquitecto. Profesor Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Secretaría: Llanos Masiá
Edita: planur-e
Avda. Valdemarin, 68
28023 Madrid
Traducción: planur-e
ISSN: 2340-8235
Copyright: (2013): planur-e
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