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Re-use ideas sought for Albania’s Communist-era pyramid

The Albanian Ministry of Culture has launched an open international ideas competition to rethink Pyramid Square in Tirana

Open to students and architects under 40 years old, the contest seeks a strategy to reinvent the building which opened in 1988 as a museum to the Balkan country’s former communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

The project aims to transform the controversial 17,000m² structure and its surrounding landscape into an ‘active’ part of the capital city.

After the fall of communism the pyramid became Albania’s national cultural centre and was later used as a conference and exhibition hall.

The structure – designed by architects Pirro Vaso, Klement Kolaneci, Pranvera Hoxha, and Vladimir Bregu – was then used as a base for NATO and humanitarian organisations during the 1999 Kosovo war.

Since 2000 the building has hosted a café and studios for a local television channel however a design competition four years ago proposed demolishing the landmark to create a new parliament.

The demolition plans were abandoned and the square remains a popular meeting place with visitors to the city often climbing up the outside of the pyramidal structure.

According to the brief: ‘The goal of this competition is to to provide a strategy for harmonizing all these layers of history into an actively functioning, attractive and distinctly contemporary space by re-envisioning the Pyramid Square as a part of an active system within the city.’

It continued: ‘The international competition for Pyramid Square is also part of the strategy of the Ministry of Culture to re-activate the ghost spaces of the communist past.’

Proposals must add new activities to the square, improve pedestrian access to the site and create new links with the city centre.

Teams may be from Albania or overseas and can feature up to five members. The entry fee is around £20 per team.

The winner – set to be announced on 3 October – will receive around £800. A second place prize worth £600 and third place prize worth £200 are also available.

The deadline for registration is 15 September.






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