The Pyramid’s Restoration: What You Should Know About the Past and Future of Tirana’s Iconic Landmark - Into Albania

The Pyramid’s Restoration: What You Should Know About the Past and Future of Tirana’s Iconic Landmark

As of February 0f 2021, one of the capital’s best-known and most controversial structures is set to have a new look and function.

The project for the restoration and revival of the Pyramid was approved some time ago and, at last, the work has begun. This intervention is important to many as the landmark object occupies a central position along Tirana’s main boulevard . Once upon a time, the modernist structure added a strange and unique beauty to this important corridor of the capital. Unfortunately, over time, the Pyramid was attacked, robbed of its marble surfaces, and, ultimately, left in a state of great neglect. Fortunately, it has survived to see the day of its restoration.

The history of the Pyramid is long and full of unexpected twists, both beautiful and sad, comic and tragic. One thing is certain: that from its original role as a monument dedicated to Enver Hoxha to the aftermath of becoming the most popular “slide” in the country, the Pyramid and its various guises tell the history of Tirana. Her new cloak, which began to take shape on February 4th, 2021, promises to tell the story of the present moment and the future of the capital.

MVRDV’s new project for the Pyramid. Photo by Arch Daily.

In step with new technology

The new project promises to deliver a Pyramid that could render Tirana a true point of reference for the entire Balkan region. In fact, this revitalization can repurpose the Pyramid into an object that enriches the city, both aesthetically and from a functional point of view. Its new identity contains the former one, but aims toward the future. Just as once upon a time the Pyramid was home to the most technologically advanced television channel in the country, Top Channel, so its future will continue to reflect the technological advances and spirit of the times. 

Piramida e Tiranës

The Pyramid in its current state. Photo by IntoAlbania.

The Project

The original Pyramid, created by a team of four Albanian architects – Pranvera Hoxha, Enver Hoxha’s daughter, Klement Kolaneci, his son-in-law, Pirro Vaso and Vladimir Bregu, two renowned architects of the time – will be revived thanks to a project by the Dutch firm MDRDV.

The revitalization project of the Pyramid aims to transform it into a multifunctional center that will provide space where people will be able to engage in the creative arts, culture and technology. Animation, video game development, cinematography, web design, art and music, graphic design and 3D modeling, photography and new media are some of the activities that we can expect from the new project.

The projected interior of the Pyramid. Photo by Arch Daily.

Project specs

The 11,835 m2 surface area of ​​the Pyramid will be preserved as in the original design. The exterior layer will change, but will include the recycled and re-used surviving tiles of the stairs and walls. An interesting feature of the new project is that the new Pyramid will have internal corridors which traverse its entire surface, opening up interior passages that take the public from one side to the other. The intervention will open the atrium and the surrounding space, while a series of cafés, studios, and rooms will be distributed throughout the entire interior and exterior of the Pyramid. Just as the original project gave the object “wings” (from an aerial view, the “Pyramid” is actually an abstraction of an eagle, the national symbol), so the new project will extend those wings toward the city, embracing it and drawing it toward the Pyramid’s heart. In other words, the Pyramid will become a key point of socialization and culture in the capital and, perhaps, even beyond it, in the country or region.

A bird’s eye view of the MVRDV project of the Pyramid. Photo by Arch Daily.

“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!” – Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV

For more details and photos on the new Pyramid project, click here.

For more on the history of the Pyramid, click here.