May 29, 2011

On Preservation | Mbi Ruajtjen e Objekteve

The New York Times critic, Nicoloi Ouroussoff, has written an interesting article about "Cronocaos" Exhibition as a manifesto, projecting viable observations and provoking ideas on preservation. The questions he asks are important in understanding what a city is (or has become) today.
"Has preservation become a dangerous epidemic? Is it destroying our cities?"
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"Cronocaos" was first shown at the 2010 Architecture Biennale in Venice. It is now on view at the New Museum in New York City. Organized by Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu, it portrays what can happen to an aged city when it is repackaged for tourists and wealthy homeowners. It has become a product of deals made by governments and builders, leading to a displacement of cultural and social scenes, in favor of commercial and boutique storefronts.
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All over the world, even the smallest renovations of aged historic buildings are advertised as ways of preserving them. Their facades are being cleaned up and interiors stripped of any history. They have lost their character and meaning, but are more appealing and visually fitting, because they are "old." It is ironic that the outcome of this kind of preservation is literally 'timeless." By blending what is real and what is fake, the city has lost the sense of what it is supposed to be: a collection of buildings, people, and life, accumulated over time. Neighborhoods are in risk of becoming non-places like airports or malls.
Everywhere, urban diversity and historical layers are being replaced by universal, consumer driven, money making aesthetics. According to Koolhaas, this so-called preservation is not favoring the great, the ancient, or that which might deserve it. It has become a selection vulnerable to political motivation and correctness. It is done for the wrong reasons while triggering more development and speculated land values. He argues that the result is a a new form of historical amnesia, one that, perversely, only further alienates us from the past.” Is he right?
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The idea of preservation as any other can be looked at and interpreted in many ways. It can be important in order to build up the historical, cultural, and environmental heritage. It also can help future generations understand their foundations. But, (as mentioned above) it can be misdirected, misused, and be politically driven, which would destroy its purpose altogether, because it will lose sight of what is worth preserving. It would be interesting to see (and predict) what will be preserved from this present time. We live in a material age driven by technology where fast can be the only way. New technological deiscoveries and designs that are supposed to give us the most out of life on this planet while enhancing its quality, seems to only have made us so dependent on it that we have lost all sense of context. The 6 month rule is now the golden rule. Just like our gadgets, everything depreciates in value after this 6 month cycle, (even our quality of life).
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I'd like to see how it'll play out of course, but i'd like to ask a few questions also. What differences from the past to the present are and will be worth preserving in the future?  Is this fast-forward mode, making our context blurry and the content of our lives ephemeral? And how do we preserve that?
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To read the entire article visit NYT
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Kritiku i New York Times, Nicoloi Ouroussoff, ka shkruar nje artikull interesant per ekspoziten “Cronocaos” si nje manifest me observime praktike dhe ide provokuese mbi ruajtjen e objekteve. Pyetja qe ai ben eshte e rendesishme per te kuptuar ­ se si duhet te jete qyteti, dhe cfare forme ka marre ai sot. “A rrezikon te behet, menyra aktuale e ruajtjes se objekteve, nje epidemi qe mund te shkaterroje qytetet tona?"
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"Cronocaos" eshte shfaqur per here te pare ne Bienalen e Arkitektures 2010 ne Venecia. Tani eshte hapur tek New Museum, ne New York City. Organizuar nga Rem Koolhaas dhe Shohei Shigematsu, ekspozita tregon se cfare mund t’i ndodhe nje qyteti te vjeter kur ripaketohet per turistet dhe biznesmenet. Eshte kthyer ne nje produkt marrveshjesh midis qeverise dhe firmave te ndertimit, duke shperngulur vendet kulturore dhe ato shoqerore, ne favor te vitrinave komerciale dhe estetike.
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Ne te gjithe boten, edhe rinovimet me te vogla te ndertesave te vjetra historike po konsiderohen si menyra konservimi ose ruajtjeje. Eshte ironike qe edhe pse fasadat e tyre po pastrohen dhe interiori po zhvishet nga cdo gje e shkuar, ato vazhdojne te quhen “historike.” Kjo lloj ruajtje ka fshire karakterin dhe kuptimin e tyre te dikurshem duke i shnderruar ne objekte “te pakohshme.” Duke perzier ate qe eshte e vertete dhe fallco, qyteti po humbet ate cka duhet te jete: nje koleksion ndertesash, njerezish dhe jetese, te akumuluar prej nje kohe te gjate. Lagjet jane ne rrezik te shnderrohen ne vende arbitrare, si aeroportet dhe qendrat tregtare.
Kudo, diversiteti urban dhe shtresat historike po zevendesohen me stile te shplara universale qe sjellin vetem fitim monetar. Sipas Koolhaas, nje ruajtje e tille nuk favorizon objektet madheshtore, antike , apo ato qe mund ta meritojne, por eshte nje vendim me synime dhe motive politike. Seleksionimi behet per arsye te gabuara, duke shkaktuar me shume zhvillime dhe spekulime te vlerave te tokes perreth. Ai argumenton se ky qendrim eshte “nje forme e re amnezie historike, qe na largeson akoma me shume nga e kaluara.A ka te drejte?
Ideja e ruajtjes se objekteve si cdo tjeter duhet pare dhe interpretuar ne menyra te ndryshme. Eshte vendimtare ne zgjerimin e trashegimise historike, kulturore, dhe asaj mjedisore. Gjithashtu, ndihmon brezat e rinj te kuptojne prejardhjen e tyre. Por, (sic eshte permendur me lart) vendimi per objektet ne ruajtje mund te keqdrejtohet, keqperdoret, dhe te shtyhet nga politika; gje qe mund te shuaj komplet idene dhe qellimin e konservimit. Nuk do kete me dallim midis objekteve qe ia vlejne te ruhen ose jo. Do jete interesante te shohim (ose te parashikojme) se cfare do te mbahet nga kjo kohe. Jetojme ne nje epoke materialiste, ku cdo gje eshte e shpejte. Zbulimet e reja teknologjike qe duhet te na ofrojne maksimumin e cilesise se jeteses ne kete planet, na kane bere te varemi nga kjo teknologji aq shume sa nuk e kemi me idene e kontekstit. Rregulli gjashtemujor tani eshte rregulli i arte. Ashtu si pajisjet tona elektronike, cdo gje bie nga vlera pas gjashte muajsh, (madje dhe cilesia e jeteses).
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Prandaj pyes: Cfare ndryshimesh nga e shkuara deri me sot ia vlejne (dhe do t’ia vlejne) per t’u ruajtuar ne te ardhmen? Kjo menyre kaq e shpejte jetese, a po ben cdo gje rreth nesh te turbullt dhe vete udhetimin kalimtar? Si mund  (ose duhet) ta ruajme kte experience?

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Per te lexuar te gjithe artikullin klikoni NYT.

May 24, 2011

Wineries | Kantinat e Veres

As a wine lover and architect, I am always looking for new ideas and projects of wineries. It is one of the few building types usually constructed in the middle of farmland, which means that its design (in order to be successful) ought to add to the existing sustainability and ecology, not take away from it. The subtle nuances of wind, sun, water, light, shade, topography, smell, changing colors, texture, and even gravity, do not only inspire the work (be that wine or building) but they are present in it, in our experience of it. I find great pleasure when the two inspire and inform each other not only in a technical way that (obviously) works, but in a playful interplay of senses and materials that makes us aware of the surrounding environment, in a raw but powerful way. It speaks of the monumentalization of wine through architecture. Such a great example to use and learn from the sustainability of the site or region where it stands: the history and culture of its land, the process of winemaking, daily and seasonal patterns, etc. It all makes for a great dialog and co-existence of the natural and the man-made. When it is done right, it can enhance both.
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This being said, there are only a few winery projects that achieve the above level of complexity, understanding, and invention in their design. They are not purely drived by aesthetics. They stand conscious to the surroundings.
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Si arkitekte dhe entuziaste verash, jam gjithmone ne kerkim  per ide dhe projekte te reja kantinash vere, sepse eshte nje nga te paktat kategori ndertesash qe ngrihen ne zona rurale. Kjo do te thote se kompozimi i tyre (per te qene i suksesshem), duhet te perforcoj qendrueshmerine dhe ekologjine ekzistuese te vendit, e jo ta prishi ate. Nuancat e lehta te eres, dielli, uji, drita, hija, terreni, aromat, ndryshimet e ngjyrave, perberja, madje dhe graviteti, jo vetem qe frymezojne punen (qofte ajo vera apo objekti i ndertimit), por jane te pranishme ne te. Une gjej nje kenaqesi te madhe kur te dyja keto fillojne te frymezojne dhe informojne njera-tjetren, jo vetem nga ana teknike qe (padyshim) duhet te funksionoje, por ne nje shkembim lozonjar te shqisave me materialet perreth, duke na bere me te ndjeshem ndaj mjedisit, ne nje menyre te thjeshte, por te fuqishme. Ky eshte tamam nje shembull qe te perdorim qendrueshmerine e tokes ku qendron kantina, si dhe per te mesuar nga ajo, historine dhe kulturen e vendit, procesin e berjes se veres, kushtet e perditshme dhe ato sezonale, e shume te tjera. Te gjitha keto krijojne nje dialog  te shkelqyer qe fuqizon bashkejetesen e natures me njeriun. Kur behet sic duhet, i permireson qe te dyja palet aq shume sa dhe eksperienca jone me to mbetet domethenese. Kjo tregon monumentalizmin e veres/vreshtave/mjedisit nepermjet arkitektures.
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Duke thene kete, ka vetem disa punishte vere qe arrijne kompleksitetin, arsyetimin, si dhe krijimtarine e mesiperme. Ato nuk jane ndertuar vetem per pamjen estetike, por i pershtaten dhe komunikojne me ambientin rrethues.
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1. My all time favorite is Dominus Winery by Herzog & DeMeuron
    E preferuara ime eshte Kantina Dominus nga Herzog & DeMeuron.
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For more info and photos go here.
Per me shume info dhe fotos shko ketu.
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2. Field Architecture proposal for the Bodega Bauer Winery, in Mendoza Argentina is another one.
Nje projekt tjeter i propozuar nga Field Architecture eshte Kantina Bodega Bauer, ne Mendoza te Argjentines.
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                                Renderings copyright Field Architecture
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For more info and stats on this project go here
Per me shume info mbi kete projekt shko ketu.
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As you can see, the specificities of location, weather, terrain, and other factors can inspire the design of the building, the vineyards, the process of winemaking, and the wine itself. We experience the architecture from the built product and by smelling, tasting, and drinking the wine it makes. So, while enjoying a few Albanian made wines, the question of their architecture comes to mind. I am very interested in learning more about the wine(+making) culture in Albania. If anyone knows or has any thoughts about current vinyards or future projects in our wine country, please share. [:)
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Sic e shikoni dhe vete, pervec karakteristikave te vendit, kohes,terrenit, ka dhe faktore te tjere qe frymezojne dizenjon e objektit, si vreshtat, prodhimi i veres, dhe vete vera. Ne e vleresojme dhe e kuptojme kte arkitekture, jo vetem nga ndertimi i saj por edhe duke nuhatur, provuar dhe pire veren qe prodhohet aty. Tani, duke shijuar nje nga verat e pakta shqiptare qe kam, ceshtja e arkitektures se tyre me vjen ne mendje. Jam shume e interesuar per te ditur me shume per to dhe kulturen e tyre ne Shqiperi. Nese dikush nga ju di ose ka ndonje mendim ne lidhje me vreshtat ose punishtet e veres ne vend  te me thote. [:)

May 21, 2011

Vacanze in Albania

It's that time again!!!
Summer's almost here!!
Enjoy :)

http://www.vacanzeinalbania.info/

Vacanze 2011 [10 mete-convenienza]

Da Cipro a NY: 10 mete-convenienza per il 2011
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Albania e Portogallo, Cipro e i Paesi Baltici. Fuori dall'Europa: l'Argentina, la Malaysia e gli Usa, grazie all'euro e nonostante il petrolio. Idee-vacanza per le destinazioni più economiche dell'anno
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Albania. Se nelle vostre menti il Paese evoca ancora i barconi carichi di profughi e la guerra nei Balcani, è necessario un restyling. Tra le spiagge della costa dell'Adriatico e dello Ionio, i monti e la capitale Tirana si è addirittura guadagnata il primo posto tra le mete top del 2011 della Lonely Planet. Tra i percorsi suggeriti c'è la strada che da Korça porta a Gjirokastra: dal confine greco si inerpica su gli altipiani per scendere poi lungo le foreste di conifere giù verso Dhërmi e le adriatiche coste.

The Creative Process | Proçesi Krijues

Artists are greatly misunderstood, left out, and even ridiculed by masses. It is not a job or a career, but a lifestyle choice. It is the most expressive experience that leaves many of us vulnerable, exhausted, inspired, curious, and wanting more. It is a unique feeling that addiction doesn't even begin to describe it. And, yes i have tried to explain it in so many words and gestures, but still most people are unconvinced. Since this is not enough, i thought it'd be a great idea to open up a new thread in this blog where self-acclaimed artists and designers [of all fields] can give it a shot and share what it is they do, meaning how do they see it through their eyes. I am not looking for a flat statement, nor for a definition of art per se. I would like to know what makes whatever you do YOUR OWN and how do you present it [work+self] in public? What little idiosyncrasies, out of box imagination, or even control do you put in it?

This is meant to be diverse, messy, loud, imaginative, and probably even out of control, just like the creative process. I've heard someone say that it starts with the attitude of how you organize the world you live in. And I believe it. Maybe, it is easier for the others to accept and appreciate our creativity, only if they get a glimpse of our lives. The idea here is to not have right or wrong answers, but simply conversations that provoke (and even threaten) the status quo; or just to figure out what to expect, get, and want from it :).

Gjithmone, artistet jane keqkuptuar, lene mbrapa, madje dhe tallur nga masat. Arti nuk eshte nje pune ose karriere, por nje menyre jetese. Eshte pervoja me ekspresive, qe le shume prej nesh te pambrojtur, te lodhur, te frymezuar, kurioze, dhe te etur per me shume. Kjo eshte nje ndjenje e vecante qe as fjala mani s’e pershkruan dot. Une jam munduar ta shpjegoj me fjale dhe gjeste te ndryshme, por njerezit akoma jane te pabindur. Meqe kjo nuk eshte e mjaftueshme, mendoj se do jete mire te hapim nje teme te re ne kete blog, ku artistet [nga cdo fushe] mund te tregojne me konkretisht se me cfare merren dhe si e kuptojne kete proces krijues pune. Nuk po them per nje pershkrim te thjeshte monoton, ose percaktim konkret se cfare eshte arti. Dua te di se cfare i jep origjinalitet, krijimtarise tuaj artistike, dhe si e paraqisni ate [punen+veten tuaj] ne publik. Cfare gjerash ideosinkretike, imagjinate, apo kontroll, vendosni ne te?

Kjo teme (si dhe dialogu qe ajo do te permbaje) do jete e larmishme, e crregullt, e zhurmte, krijuese, dhe e shfrenuar; njesoj si procesi artistik. Kam degjuar diku, qe metoda e punes, ose procesi qe ndjekim, eshte i njejte me menyren se si organizojme jeten e perditshme.  Une mendoj se kjo eshte e vertete. Ndoshta, eshte me e lehte per te tjeret ta pranojne artin, si dhe te vleresojne krijimtarine tone, ne qofte se u tregojme dicka nga jeta qe bejme. Ideja ketu eshte qe te mos kete pergjigje te sakta ose te gabuara,  por thjeshte biseda qe mund te provokojne (dhe deri diku te kercenojne) standardet aktuale te jeteses, si dhe cfare mund te presim, kerkojme, e te duam nga ajo.

Me personally, i see what i do as an Active Inspiration not only to organize the world i live in :), but as a Freedom to Imagine the worlds i could be a part of..Daring to stretch and maximize that imagination until the content of my life and the frame it's put in, start redefining and challenging their boudaries.

Une per vete e shoh punen time si nje frymezim aktiv, jo vetem si nje menyre per te organizuar jeten e perditshme, por si nje liri per te imagjinuar realitete te tjera qe mund te behen pjese e saj..Duke nxitur zgjatjen ne maksimum te kesaj imagjinate, deri sa permbajtja e jetes sime dhe korniza (ose konteksti) ne te cilen ajo eshte vene, fillojne te ripercaktojne dhe sfidojne kufijte e njera-tjetres.

This is how dancer and performer Martha Graham looks at her work:[As quoted in The Life and Work of Martha Graham (1991) by Agnes de Mille, p. 264.]

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Martha Graham, nje nga kercimtaret me me influence ne bote, e interpreton keshtu punen (+jeten) e saj :

“Ka nje vitalitet, nje force, nje energji, nje shpejtesi qe vetem artisti mund ta perktheje ne nje veper, dhe meqe ai eshte vetem nje, kjo shprehje eshte unike. Nese e bllokon, ajo nuk mund te ekzistoje kurre ne menyre tjeter dhe humbet. Bota s’ do ta shikoj dot.
Nuk eshte ne doren e artistit ta vendosi se sa e mire eshte, apo sa e vlefshme, as se si mund te krahasohet me te tjerat. Vetem duhet ta bej te tijen ne nje menyre te qarte dhe te drejtperdrejte, ta mbaj kete shteg hapur.  Nuk eshte nevoja ta besoj veten ose punen qe ben. Ai duhet te jete i hapur dhe i vetedijshem ndaj deshires se madhe qe e nxit..Kjo rruge duhet mbajtur hapur.. Artistet nuk kenaqen kollaj. Nuk kane shume satisfaksion. Ekziston vetem nje pakenaqesi e vecante hyjnore, nje ankth i bekuar qe i shtyn te vazhdojne perpara dhe i ben me te gjalle se te tjeret.”
<Martha Graham, photographed by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair, 1931.>
<Martha Graham, e fotografuar nga Edward Steichen per Vanity Fair, 1931.>

May 15, 2011

Painting Urbanism: What has Tirana learned? | Ngjyrosja Urbane: Cfare ka mesuar Tirana?

PAINTING URBANISM: LEARNING FROM RIO
Saturday May 7, 2011 - Saturday July 30, 2011
Haas & Hahn @ Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC



Storefront for Art and Architecture presents the work of Dutch artists Haas & Hahn in the exhibition "Painting Urbanism: Learning from Rio". The exhibition is composed of paintings, documentary footage, pictures, sketches and plans of past, present and future projects from Haas & Hahn. Present projects include proposals for two New York interventions and future projects span throughout the word.
I put this event in here because it made me think of how this initiative has changed Tirana. It was and has remained a controversial projects for a long time, and maybe now it would be a good time to go back and revisit it. Was it productive?  Did it change/influence?
As we all know, the city of Tirana has already 'learned from Rio' (in a sense) and intervened using color and imagination to activate its urban space and transform the energy of the metropolis.
-But, is it only operating on a surface of the constructed city?
-Is it performing as a catalyst to initiate and later explode/reconfigure spatial/social dynamics in the city?
-Does it work on a city level, or would it be better practiced on street/storfront level?
-Does it work better than preservation or renovation of the existing city fabric?
-Does it perform better as a catalyst (temporary) or as a more permanent solution?
These are questions that have been circulating around since the Painting Urbanism Project started in Tirana a few years back. They're still relevant now, because after all this time we can actually answer a few of them and we may be able to draw conclusion on what works and what doesn't, and how to maximize its results.
It would be interesting to compare the colorful painted urbanism intervention in Tirana, with the Rio slums, and New York City proposals.
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Vitrina per Art dhe Arkitekture paraqet punen e artistave Haas & Hahn ne ekspoziten “Ngjyrosja Urbane: Duke mesuar nga Rio.” Ekspozita eshte e perbere nga piktura, filma documentare, foto, skica dhe plane te projekteve nga kjo duo hollandeze. Ato perfshijne propozime per dy nderhyrje ne New York, si dhe projekte te ardhshme urbane.
E ve kete event ketu, sepse me beri te mendoj se si kjo iniciative ka ndryshuar Tiranen. Ka qene dhe mbetet akoma nje projekt kontroversial, dhe ndoshta tani do te ishte koha e pershtatshme per t’iu rikthyer. A ka qene produktiv? Ka ndryshuar gje / ka qene nje faktor ndikues per qytetin?

Sic e dime te gjithe, Tirana tashme ka ‘mesuar nga Rio’ (pak a shume) duke nderhyre me ngjyra dhe imagjinate per te aktivizuar hapesiren urbane duke transformuar energjine se metropolit.
-Por, a po vepron ky projekt vetem ne siperfaqe?
-A po perform si nje katalizator qe te nisi dhe me vone te shpertheje/rikonfiguroje dinamiken urbane dhe ate shoqerore?
-Eshte me mire te behet ne nivelin e qytetit apo po te perdoret ne siperfaqe me te vogla si vitrinat ose qepenat?
-A funksionon me mire se ruajtja ose rinovimi i struktures ekzistuese urbane?
-Do jete me produktiv te perdoret si nje katalizator ( i perkohshem) apo te jete nje zgjidhje me permanente?
Keto pyetje jane bere qe ne fillim te ketij projekti disa vjet me pare ne Tirane, dhe jane akoma relevante. Pas gjithe kesaj kohe, ne mund te jemi ne gjendje ti pergjigjemi disa prej tyre, dhe te nxjerrim perfundime se cfare punon dhe cfare jo, dhe se si mund ti shtojme rezultatet qe duam.
Do te jete interesante te krahasonim nderhyrjen me ngjyra ne Tirane, me lagjet e varfra ne Rio, dhe propozimet e bera ne New York.
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May 5, 2011

BIG is chosen to design major Cultural Center in Albania | Firma BIG ka fituar konkursin per Kompleksin e Xhamise

BIG, Martha Schwartz Landscape, Buro Happold, Speirs & Major, Lutzenberger & Lutzenberger, and Global Cultural Asset Management were today announced as the winning team of the international design competition for a new 27,000 m2 cultural complex in Albania, consisting of a Mosque, an Islamic Center, and a Museum of Religious Harmony.
Competition-winning design for the new Tirana Mosque, Islamic Center, and Museum of Religious Harmony

Competition-winning design for the new Tirana Mosque, Islamic Center, and Museum of Religious Harmony
Visualization with large gathering
Visualization with large gathering
Project Description from the Architects:
The capital Tirana is undergoing an urban transformation which includes the restoration and refurbishment of existing buildings, the construction of a series of new public and private urban structures, and the complete reconceptualization of Scanderbeg Square. This important square is the site of the new cultural complex that will consist of a Mosque, an Islamic Centre, and a Museum of Religious Harmony.

Visualization, main plaza
Visualization, main plaza
Albania is the crossroads of three major religions: Orthodox Christianity; Catholicism; and Islam. With the recent completion of two new churches, all three religions will now have new places of worship in the heart of Tirana. The complex will not only serve the Muslim community of the city and surrounding areas, but will educate the public about Islamic values and serve as a beacon for religious tolerance.
BIG’s winning entry was selected out of five finalists, including Spanish Architect Andreas Perea Ortega, Architecture Studio from France, Dutch SeARCH and London-based Zaha Hadid.

Visualization, prayer on the main plaza
Visualization, prayer on the main plaza
”The winning proposal was chosen for its ability to create an inviting public space flexible enough to accommodate daily users and large religious events, while harmonically connecting with the Scanderbeg square, the city of Tirana and its citizens across different religions. Additionally the project shines through its beautiful garden surrounding the new Mosque and Center of Islamic Culture which symbolically features the rich vegetation described in Islamic literature. Finally the team’s awareness of the economic aspects of this important development will contribute to a successful realization of this project”, Mayor of Tirana, Edi Rama.

Visualization, squares
Visualization, squares