The pyramid planted in the heart of Tirana has seen many uses before falling into ruin: originally built for a museum to the glory of the dictator Enver Hoxha, it was then housed, among other things, a base of the Nato, a nightclub and tv studios. After years of abandonment, the building is in a pitiful state will experience a renaissance, becoming a centre of information technology in Albanian capital in a state of perpetual evolution.
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“I don’t believe that anyone is beautiful,” admitted Joni Baboci, an architect of the municipality involved in the renovation of the 12,000 m2 of the building. “But it is a kind of landmark in the city and the inhabitants hold because the city has lost a lot”. For the architects engaged on the project, it is a matter of finding a balance between the preservation of a memory belonging to the Albanian history and the ambition to give it a new destination. This original building had been built thirty years ago to the glory of Enver Hoxha, who ruled with an iron hand Albania for four decades until his death in 1985.
The pyramid was abandoned, with the exception of the inhabitants or the tourists who were climbing its walls. GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP
After the fall of the communist regime, a few years later, the museum closed its doors and the pyramid has seen a number of activities, reflecting the flowering of cultural life in a country that had been tightly cut off from any outside influence during the reign of Enver Hoxha. But in the last ten years, it has been totally abandoned, with the exception of the inhabitants of Tirana or tourists who were climbing its walls to enjoy a 360-degree view over the capital.
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When authorities announced a few years ago their intention to demolish the pyramid, there has been a wave of protests, proof that this monument unusual had been able to find its place in the hearts of the inhabitants. Its demolition was cancelled and the municipality was proposed last year to make it a centre dedicated to the learning of the digital Albania with a high rate of unemployment among young people and high emigration.
“We thought that there could not be a better symbol than make the building the Albanian society, to the children, for their education,” explains Martin Mata, of the Foundation of american-Albanian development, which funds the ten million euros of renovation work.
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according To the plans announced in April by the Dutch company MVRDV, the structure will be open to all sides on the ground-floor, the trees will surround and stairs will be added on its exterior facades to secure his ascension. “The pyramid will be open to all” and it will be almost “transparent”, promised the chief architect, Winy Maas on the occasion of the presentation of the project in Tirana. Inside, commercial spaces and a learning centre for youth run by an NGO, Tumo, which will offer courses of programming, design and training to other numerical techniques.
the mayor of the capital Erion Veliaj, this project is the”history of a resurrection,” both for the pyramid for Albania as a whole. This renovation is part of the major transformations that occurred in his city in recent years. The fall of communism was accompanied by an exodus from rural areas to Tirana, leading to the multiplication of constructions from the wild, and the explosion of the movement. Mayor of Tirana at the beginning of the years 2000, Edi Rama, the current Prime minister, has imposed on the city a facelift by making ornate patterns and bright colors of the facades of the grey buildings of the communist era.
Erion Veliaj wants for him to print his mark by combating the illegal constructions, or the creation of green spaces, even if all its projects are not popular. All of these changes contribute to make Tirana a new tourist destination, with its fashionable cafés and blending unique architectural: buildings of Italian style fascist, turns the soviet, ottoman mosques and, of course, the pyramid. For the prime minister Edi Rama, the transformation of a “symbol of dictatorship” into a “symbol of the power of each individual in a new era” is the right solution. “I am pleased that we have been able to resolve a problem that we have been faced with over the past thirty years,” he concludes.