Albania’s capital, Tirana, is undergoing a major modernization process. After the Danish architecture studio BIG unveiling of the country’s new national theatre, the Dutch Studio MVRDV has unveiled plans for a new technology education centre in the Albanian capital of Tirana, which will be housed within a pyramidal monument to communism.
Set within the city centre, The Tirana Pyramid was first erected in 1988 but has since undergone a variety of uses. First opening as a museum dedicated to Albania’s long-serving Communist leader, Enver Hoxha, it has also acted as a temporary base for NATO throughout the Balkan Wars, a nightclub and an event space.
Despite plans to turn it into a national theatre, the 11,800-square-metre space has now sat empty for more than 10 years.
Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV will now transform the pyramid into a technology education centre for young people, in an attempt to “give the building back to the public”.
“It is a symbol for many Albanians. For the older generation, it is a memory to the cultural events during communist times, for the recent generation it became the place to celebrate the new era,” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas.
Slices of glass will be inserted between the stairways on the building’s facade to help fill its central atrium with natural light. Several doorways will also be added at the ground level to help the centre seem more “porous” and accessible.
The renovation will see the structure’s series of concrete beams made into sets of stairs that ascend to a terrace on the roof. This became a key element of the design after they noticed that the city’s kids climbed up to the roof and used it as hangout spot even while the building had been derelict.
“Essential to MVRDV‘s vision is the respect of the current informal use of the building mostly by young citizens of Tirana, and to strengthen this use by inviting all citizens to share this function,” explained the studio.
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