Mar 19, 2014

Open Parliament of Albania at the Austrian Pavilion | Venice Architecture Biennale 2014

Albania gets another mention in Biennale news, this time for the unrealized Open Parliament project at the Piramida (also here, here, here) site in Tirana

The Austrian Pavilion will exhibit “Plenum. Places of Power” - the architecture of the parliament and its role in shaping urbanity, publics, national identity and state sovereignty. 

© Coop Himmelb(l)au

A winning entry by Austrian architects Coop Himmelb(l)au 'The New Parliamentary Complex of the Republic of Albania' made the local media and professional rounds as a highly (too much for some) abstracted sculpture (for a state institution that is), replacing another much controversial piece of architecture [although, calling Piramida a piece of architecture is like calling Albanian prime ministers a doctor (S. Berisha) or an artist (E. Rama)].

In my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects of this debate and design, has been the architects' effort and brave attempt to objectively materialize Albanian politics in a public institutional architectural ensemble. It's no secret that Albanians have never put so much faith, fight, blame and hope in one building as they have in Piramida. As though a part of their national identity originated from and deteriorated  with this 'piece of architecture'. 

Well the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale will be discussing some of these very issues:
“The idea of democratic legitimation of power is so widespread today that no nation can do without building such a place, at least in name, for a representative popular assembly,” described commissioner Dr. Christian Kühn. “What do these places look like? And how are they connected to a public whose trust in democratic formation of will seems to be dwindling around the globe?”
The exhibition at the Austrian Pavilion sets out to find answers to these questions from various vantage points. (via)
Definitely something to look forward to.


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