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Old May 11th, 2010, 04:48 PM   #1
Kulla
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TIRANA | Rehabilitation of the Scanderbeg Square

Here is the Presentation File of the Project idea of the winning proposal for the Future of Tirana's main square:

The question of the revitalization of the square deals with issues concerning both the monumental and the everyday. A square only dealing with representing monumental ideologies is something of a past which we do not long to revitalize. On the other hand, we are convinced that a square only dealing with the everyday life, will not give any long term perspective to the development of Tirana and its citizens.
The question is not to choose between the one and the other. The question is how the two of them can come together. This proposal creates a new starting point, redefining the relation between the rigidity of the built environment and the fragility of everyday life.


It is very important to realise that this project is - in the end - not about the square. It is about Tirana. Tirana is a city which has changed enormously the last years, at some places beyond recognition. The city is pushed to its limits, not only in size, but also in terms of what the city structure can handle. The city is congested, exploited, consumed.
How does it feel to live in a city like this? What does it mean, in Tirana, to be a citizen? And what role can the square play in finding an answer to this question?

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In Tirana today, citizens no longer compare themselves to one single reference point. In a certain way, we can imagine that it has become more difficult to find out who you are, what you stand for. Being a citizen of Tirana has become a daily question: how to find a future, how to find your way, how to decide what you value most in life? In short: How to relate to the others?
In our view, the square of Tirana should be a place that offers this possibility: a place that everyone will feel free to use, allowing people to relate to each other. It should not be a place of consumption, but a place where people can come together, if only to be surrounded by others, to share and compare their interests and doubts. If we want this to happen, we should think of what could make the square different from the city surrounding it, both in its form and its content.

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Given the chaotic and informal character of the city, a very simple and clear gesture will have a very strong impact. The city not defined by its edges sprawling outwards, but by its core. We see the square as a space formed by the city surrounding it. The city giving way, like if it holds its breath for a moment. The square as a space where the chaos stops, allowing for something else to happen, whatever it might be.



The openness of a very clear and simple form will bring to the fore immaterial qualities, like light and shadow, sounds, a gust of wind… It will trigger the citizens to refocus, realizing that they are in the middle of the city, but at the same time in a different place.
The center is stressed as a void in the chaos of the city, providing mental and physical space for its citizens. The square enables the people of Tirana to retract from their city in the heart of it, offering a space to look back to the city and, as a consequence, allowing them to live in it.

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However violent the communist regime must have been, it has been surprisingly tolerant as far as the square is concerned. Looking around, we do not only see the Opera, the Hotel and the National museum. There’s also the national bank and the ministries, all fascist buildings. There is the mosque and the clock tower. There is the sunken garden behind the Skenderberg statue, a garden which feels in all aspects different from the overtly visible parade ground which forms the rest of the square.
Until today, all buildings facing the square are of public interest. Having all these different histories on display is an impressive achievement. If Tirana has become a city of non-believers, the square today shows all the things which they believed in the past 100 years. This is a quality which is vital to the square: it is like a pantheon on an urban scale. The centre is many different things.

The challenge is how to value this achievement and to give it a new future. In our proposal, we support this simultaneous presence, and elaborate it even more. No monument or identity is singled out: all of them are aligned around the openness of the square, representing a common past that can be built upon.

The question to make a square on a human scale should not be misunderstood. Filling the square with buildings containing shops, bars and restaurants, in an attempt to make a square on a human scale, would be the wrong answer to the right question. All of Tirana is already about consumption: consuming the square as well would be a political failure. To keep public space public is a crucial matter.



The problem of the square today is not its size, but its lack of definition. In short, it is not a square, but an overscaled junction of roads without beginning or end. Every building claims its own axis and its own space, but none of it really comes together. What ‘Sheshi Skenderbej’ lacks is focus: the time has come to finally make it into a square..

Our proposal is to redraw the shape of the square to allow all buildings to be addressed, and as a consequence, activated.

Last edited by Kulla; August 22nd, 2010 at 01:30 AM.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 04:49 PM   #2
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However, more than a shape, our proposal is suggesting a square which is brought forward from its belt, its surrounding. This belt is made out of green and shadows and buildings, existing or to be built. The biodiversity of the green will be as rich as the collection of buildings: a pantheon of vegetation.
The belt functions like an antechamber to the main square: negotiating between the congestion of the city and the openness of the square, it offers a variety of ways to enter it. The square will be sealed and invisible until the moment when one steps in: a void in the chaos of the city, a concentrated space where the experience of time is intensified.



The belt is also a retreat in itself. It contains gardens, open air event spaces and the occasional bar or café. The edge of the square will become a loop of different spaces and atmospheres. This loop can become a natural part of the central boulevard of Tirana, which people are used to walk up and down on their day off.


- The Opera building is complemented with a large scale venue hall, covering the existing exterior courtyards, to house large congresses and events.



- The Mosque is framed by a slightly raised new pavement, giving it more space of its own and making it look like sitting on a large scale carpet.



- The ministry buildings are treated as one with the sunken garden, by adding newly planted trees filling the complete space, both garden and street. Thus, the complex is emphasised being one single entity
the puppet theatre finds itself on the square, and relates to a newly built playground in front of it, reusing the existing trees.

- The National Bank finally gets the attention it deserves, by avoiding any addition, but only changing the pavement in front.



- The Commercial Development next to the Bank is reproposed. The building is lifted from the ground to create an open air event space, creating a large scale entrance to the square while framing the colonnade of the Opera building. The commercial functions are complemented by an exhibition area for cultural events. This cultural facility would be a venue run by the city, and could become the sparring partner of the national art gallery. Although technically excluded from the competition boundaries, the reproposal of this project is an integral part of the new square development.



- The National Museum’s relation to the ground is altered by redesigning the main staircase. The one-dimensional frontality of it will be changed into a multidirectional topography.



- The Civic Tower is the relocation of the city’s public services into a new small-rise tower. In the future, the citizens of Tirana will remember this building as being related to all main events in their life, e.g. birth registration or marriage…The building not only accommodates these services, but also public balconies providing views onto the square and towards the city centre
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Old May 11th, 2010, 04:50 PM   #3
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The basic ambition of the square is to enable the people of Tirana to retract from their city in the heart of it, offering a space to look back to the city. The first gesture in the design of the square itself is directly related to this ambition. The square gently slopes up to the centre (slope of 3%, not excluding any kind of event) arriving at a height 2.3m above the height of the edges. This manipulation incites one to move: the square can not be seen from one single sight.

Arriving in the middle, one looks down to the Opera and the National Museum, subtly changing the impact of these buildings. From this point, the presence of the buildings in the first line is topped with the rows of towers and the silhouette of the Dajti Mountains, together making a dramatic backdrop contrasting the openness of the square.


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This first formal manipulation –the gentle pyramid- emphasises the big scale, a macro-movement. A second series of formal gestures create scales and movements of a very different kind, relating to the micro-scale of everyday use.
Translating all kinds of axis’ and relations, a set of lines and folds create small depressions and incidents. Not traceable from far, this topography only reveals itself when entering the square, making it into a subtle three dimensional experience.


These incidents – bumps and holes- start to live when the square is ‘switched on’. Equipped with a series of water features, the square can be filled or drained. This mechanism creates an ever changing constellation of patches, puddles and reflecting pools.

The square doesn’t become ‘human’ by reducing its scale: it becomes attractive because of what it has to offer, both on it and around it. At day, the edge of the square will offer comfort, shade and protection. The square itself will be somehow challenging, offering a provoking experience. The square will fill from its edges, but never without tension. Seen from the belt, the centre will always feel a bit too bright. Leaving the shadow zone and entering the square will immediately provoke a change of diaphragm in ones eyes. Crossing the square, some patches will always appear too wet, making people change the path they were about to take.

At night, the square will be its opposite: brightly lit at the edge, creating a twilight zone at the centre. Standing in the middle of this city will be a moment never to forget.


[IMG]http://i28.************/qzirkk.png[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i27.************/2v9oiee.png[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i27.************/ngzia8.png[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i25.************/52nmo2.png[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i28.************/wl85l1.png[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i31.************/drasxt.png[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i27.************/fxrrzb.png[/IMG]


Last edited by Kulla; August 22nd, 2010 at 01:29 AM.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #4
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The 10 Towers



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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:01 PM   #5
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:08 PM   #6
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Pics of today











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Old May 12th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #7
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Pics taken today

























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Old May 15th, 2010, 02:47 PM   #8
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The distinction is between units and numbers. In this case, meters squared is part of the unit and therefore, isn't a mathematical operation to complete.

Whether someone says meter squared or square meter is a matter of preference, unless I am mistaken.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 04:41 PM   #9
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 01:17 AM   #10
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Pics taken yesterday

[IMG]http://i47.************/167jbit.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i49.************/1608xs3.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i46.************/288s6kp.jpg[/IMG]
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:33 PM   #11
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Old May 25th, 2010, 12:45 AM   #12
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Old May 28th, 2010, 02:32 PM   #13
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27 May


















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Old May 29th, 2010, 04:30 AM   #14
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interesting makeover
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Old May 29th, 2010, 11:56 PM   #15
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hopefully it will look good when finished fingers crossed
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Old May 29th, 2010, 11:57 PM   #16
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Old July 16th, 2010, 03:51 PM   #17
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image hosted on flickr


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Old July 16th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #18
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Project for Tirana's Main Square redevelopment was devised by Brussels based architectural studio 51n4e, the same studio that designed TID Tower.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 04:05 PM   #19
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image hosted on flickr


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Old August 18th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #20
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Kulla, do you mind updating your first three posts? I can't see the renders anymore..
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