A new important neighbourhood in Tirana is being developed by the city with an ambitious longitudinal park. It acts as a sort of Mediterranean central park; a meeting point of the city that also becomes the gateway to the city.
Tirana has an exquisitely Mediterranean climate and culture, which already in the architects’ thinking becomes a compelling value to be defended and emphasized. This project must seize the opportunity to be the bearer of the highest values of a civilization, its traditions, history and nature. We carry these initial data into our thoughts and begin to dream of a new habitat within the plot, to make a unique living experience that captures the highest potential of the place, and we begin with the light that lightens the built volume and merges it with the element closest to the man, which is the park.
Before starting the design of a city sector that offers the opportunity to rise in height in this wonderful Mediterranean country, we analyse the context, in terms of ecology in a broad sense and that of human and therefore also social ecology. We start from the principle that at the centre of building we want to put man and his ability to feel at ease in the built space, that the building is located in an expanding city and with ambitious urban aims.
The need to follow a functional matrix and chase an ideal space for a happy life leads to an amalgam of elements that are only apparently contradicting but in reality, complementary. Even nature like our body has perfect functional laws, and so it is good that a building reflects nature from its skeleton to the organs, to the joints and the tissue that cover it.
The study of solar incidence reveals how a volume that unrolls in a spiral takes advantage of the best southern exposure and an ideal solar orientation quality while respecting the urban footprint given by the development plan. The volume is thus excavated and opened on the south-east corner of the lot, giving an ideal orientation and offers an organic approach with respect to the presence in the city of Tirana.
The spiral movement of the masses creates an organic impression that lightens the visual impact. But how can this harmonious shape, reminiscent of a precious marine fossil on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, also become a lively and welcoming place for people, we find it in the refinement of the design of the facades that reveal themselves as a sort of natural embroidery, which take advantage of Tirana’s Mediterranean light. The three-dimensional filigree treatment of the structural partitions that become expressive follow the laws of nature like the foliage of the trees in the park. We are helped by the early work of Piet Mondrian who depicts the tree as an element of life of nature and art, and then stylizes it into a most well-known graphic, still current.
We bring this compositional experience from art to architecture by taking care of every stroke of the building structure as if they were gestures traced with the artist’s brush. The different depths and roundings help to further lighten the presence in the city of a watermark that acts as a gentle filter between private life and public space.
The exposed structural membranes reveal the backbone of this new urban organism, they adapt and change over the hours of the day, reacting just like the leaves of trees caressed by the wind. The lower part of the building used for trade displays and comprises a series of classic Mediterranean columns placed at different distances to increase the organic sense
The classic composition of the column and lintel is revisited in a poetic key and marks the limit of perception of the volumes at about 10 meters above the ground. The generous entablature that delimits the classic plinth element thus marks the nature of the intervention’s sensitivity with respect to the human scale. The whole is placed in a unitary and harmonious way to perception also because it follows the classical grace of orders that determine its proportions. The expressive force of the columns on the floors linked to the ground branches upwards following a static calculation, just as nature offers it, which feeds itself without migrating, and so the building does not move but moves continuously to accommodate new colours, seasons, hours of the day and cheer people in its heterogeneity of presence.
The depths of the volumes are designed to obtain the best floor surface ratio compared to natural lighting and to provide a bi-directional relationship for most of the spaces. The relationship with the park is a constant that does not abandon the user but continually accompanies him in his living in the new neighbourhood.
The vehicular traffic is limited to a single opening to the garage, almost hidden, to guarantee an oasis free from the vehicular traffic. Cars are swallowed in the basement without leaving any sign of presence on the surface. From the boulevard and also the park and from the short south and north sides, pedestrians circulate freely in fluid spaces, marked by elements of amazement because the project is designed from the point of view of man and every corner of the building designed to validate man’s ability to enjoy significant emotional spaces. The overall image of a building that brings us back to the values offered by nature communicates a permeable and penetrable place to everyone, but with a sense of respect and intimacy.