Work begins to transform Pyramid of Tirana

25 February 2021



MVRDV reimagine former communist monument as cultural hub

Construction has begun on the transformation of the Pyramid of Tirana, a brutalist monument in the heart of Albania’s capital city. Once the showpiece of former dictator Enver Hoxha, the pyramid later served as a temporary base for NATO during the war in Kosovo, an events space, and a night club. For many Albanians, the structure has become a symbol for victory over the Communist regime. The renovation, designed by MVRDV, will establish a new hub for the city’s cultural life by transforming the concrete structure and its surroundings into a village of cafes, studios, workshops and classrooms. 

MVRDV’s design will open up the building, which is currently sealed and inaccessible, while stripping away additions from previous renovations to reveal a voluminous interior space filled with trees and greenery. Steps will be added to the sloping concrete beams, making it safe for visitors to walk right to the top of the pyramid. One of the beams will be preserved as a slope that visitors can slide down – at their own risk. The steps can also be used for sightseeing and temporary events.

“Working on a brutalist monument like the Pyramid is a dream”, says Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “It is striking and interesting to see how the country struggled with the future of the building, which on one hand is a controversial chapter in the country’s history, and on the other hand has already been partly reclaimed by the residents of Tirana. I immediately saw its potential, and that it should be possible to make it even more of a ‘people's monument’ instead of demolishing it. The challenging part is to create a new relationship between the building and its surroundings. I am confident our design establishes this. I am looking forward to seeing young people and for the first time older people climbing the steps to the rooftop!”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This tender was first published by TenderStream on 30.07.2014 here

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