Apr 2, 2011

The Open Parliament of Albania-Coop Himmelb(l)au | Projekti Fitues per Parlamentin Shqiptar

Austrian architects Coop Himmelb(l)au shared with us their winning scheme for ‘The New Parliamentary Complex of the Republic of Albania’. The building, located on a site area with approximately 28,000 m², is going to be the first project in Albania for the Viennese headquartered studio. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Architectural and urban design strategies
As the future political center of the Albanian Republic, the Open Parliament of Albania creates an outstanding architectural landmark in one of the main parts of Tirana’s urban fabric. Situated along the compositional axis of the city, it is located in vicinity to the major governmental institutions.

The design for the Open Parliament of Albania relies on three main ideas:
- To provide a strong urban statement in this exposed part of Tirana’s urban fabric;
- To assemble the different functions in one building ensemble that is compact enough to create a public forum and a park on the southern part of the site;
- To create a unique building for the most important public institution of the Albanian Republic with a contemporary architectural approach shaped to optimize active and passive energy use.

The design incorporates fundamental democratic values such as openness, transparency and public co-determination. The simultaneity of competing political concepts within a democratic society is translated into the design concept: Different building elements are not opposed, but coexist in one building ensemble with a contemporary aesthetic that allows visualizing new functions and meanings.

Energy Concept
The new parliamentary building for the Republic of Albania is designed to capture the natural resources and energy flows of its surroundings and employ them to provide optimal environmental conditions for its occupants. The spatial configuration of the building form and the optimization of the building envelope together with the use of renewable energy sources ensure an energy efficient design and reduce dependence on fossil fuel energy sources.

Structural Concept
The Parliament of Albania is envisaged as a reinforced concrete building that consists of two distinct structural units: Firstly, a base area which above ground comprises two floor levels plus a parking sector with three levels, and one basement level; secondly a separate office block with five floors elevated on four cores above the base. The main part of the base stretches from ground level to + 9.0 m above ground. Its floor area amounts to roughly 12,500 m² per floor. The second structural volume of 60 x 70 m winds around a courtyard. Each of its five storeys has a height of 3.7 m. Between the base and the upper building unit is a horizontal gap of 7 m, which is bridged by the four building cores. In addition to the concrete structures described above, the project contains two sculptural cones. Both are structurally independent and carry their loads to the foundation at ground level.
One is situated near an outer corner of the base structure and reaches a height of 35 m, the other one lies inside the courtyard of the elevated part with a height of approximately 50 m.

The Parliamentary Hall
Spatially, the new Parliament’s Chamber reflects a basic democratic principle, the power of the electorate, by situating the public above the elected assembly members while placing the chamber hall at the physical and metaphorical center of the building ensemble.

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