Rethinking the old - museum of contemporary art

by Erion Kryemadhi from Polytechnic University of Tirana, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Albania
Tutored by: Eled Fagu

Author comments:

The main focus of this project is to reuse the abandoned buildings of an ex-industrial city and at the same time to generate an appropriate space for a museum of contemporary art. The chosen site for the museum is Kmobinat, which is located 5km away from the center of Tirana, Albania. The whole area of Kombinat was built at the beginning of the 50s by the Russian government to provide a workplace for the locals. The main purpose of the investment was to create a textile factory and simultaneously a neighborhood for the workers.
How will the new building relate to the old one? The industrial zone where the museum is proposed already hosts some old buildings that used to be part of the power plant, which generated electricity for the textile factories. The concept for the new museum starts by analyzing the exciting old structures and by evaluating their composition, their aged materials and most importantly the past atmosphere that they transcend. The main goal here is to create an efficient and sustainable design by exploiting the potential elements of this socialist heritage. The designing process of the project is developed as a dialog with the past but at the same time by taking in consideration the present. As a result, a great number of attempts are made to define the appropriate design that fits properly with the old structures and with the program of the museum.

Tutor comments:

Today, it seems that the "war" to the socialist city has come to an end. Putting ideology aside, the modern heritage is being selected and slowly put into reuse. Inside this futuristic and optimistic context, it has been developed the thesis project for the art museum in an ex-industrial area of Kombinat in Tirana. The remaining building of the old power plant which once was an integral part of the industrial city is being put into conservation as an important record of the collective memory. The design of the new structure has resulted after carefully analyzing not only the existing power plant but also the wider modernist context in order to integrate the new polarity with the existing city structure. Architecture language, in this case, has reached to evoke through contemporary means, the spatial content of the mechanized industrial context of the early modernism.

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