Presented by the Ministry of Culture of Albania and Tirana Architecture Week 2014, "Lost Architecture - [En]Visioning New City Squares" attracted international entries from students and practitioners under the age of forty alike. Designers were invited to submit proposals for the improvement of Pyramid Square in Albania's capital, Tirana, and tasked with reflecting the city's rich history and evolving identity.
Amongst the proposals received was one from a Canadian team comprised of architect Naiji Jiao and landscape architect Seven Xiru Chen, whose entry “The Pyramid Park" was awarded first place. Read more about the winning entry after the break.
Jiao and Chen recognise the "emotional and political resonance" of the pyramid, identifying the site as "[needing] an urgent redefinition, which can make it a civic attraction, rejuvenating the city center."
Deftly unfolding the site into an accessible public space, the team reframes the "formerly exclusive site, a mystical land shrouded with memories" as a "way to celebrate the new urban lifestyle yet not to forget about the past." Sensitive yet undeniably bold, the proposal is amply illustrated and meticulously planned.
“The Pyramid Park” sees the landscape reconfigured to invert the isolation of the existing Pyramid, using circulation to better integrate the structure into its surroundings. Jiao and Chen describe a rejuvenated Pyramid that "will perform to the public as a massive sculpture."
Undergirded by a strong desire towards servicing the public and strengthening a sense of community, “The Pyramid Park” is envisioned as a backdrop for a broad selection of activities. Speeches, exhibitions, events, music festivals, and film screenings are all accommodated by a generous 4000-square-meter footprint, which also features an amphitheater, playground, and sporting fields.
Adjudicated by a jury chaired by curator of the Kosovo Pavilion of the 2014 Venice Biennale Gëzim Paçarizi, and featuring Zef Çuni, the Vice-Minister of Culture of Albania, technical director of architecture of Studio Metro_POLIS (POLIS University) Loris Rossi, and other distinguished industry members, the competition is an invaluable platform for architectural experimentation and conceptual exploration.
"The Pyramid Park," second and third place winners, and honorable mentions in the categories of innovation and sustainability will be published in a special edition of the POLIS University publication Forum A+P, and displayed at the Tirana Architecture Week exhibition.
CompetitionLost Architecture - [En]Visioning New City Squares
Project NameThe Pyramid Park
PhotographsNaiji Jiao & Seven Xiru Chen