MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

May 24, 2018 by  
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Albania’s controversial Tirana Pyramid—a former monument to the country’s communist leader—will finally be repurposed after years of decay. MVRDV  has officially unveiled designs to transform the pyramidal structure into a large green technology education center. The pyramid will be opened up to the surroundings and filled with natural light and greenery, ultimately making the interior more welcoming to the public. Set in the center of the city, the Tirana Pyramid originally served as a museum honoring the legacy of Enver Hoxha, the long-time leader of communist Albania. Following the collapse of Communism in 1991, the concrete communist monument was repurposed for a variety of uses, from a nightclub to a NATO base, during the Kosovo War. In recent years, developers have called for the Tirana Pyramid’s demolition, which stirred controversy among its architects and the greater populace, many of whom had developed an attachment to the monument despite its increasingly decrepit and vandalized appearance. Rather than demolish the unique structure, MVRDV aims to preserve the silhouette while making the 127,000-square-foot building more accessible. “Though in the past, there were plans to transform this monumental building into a national theatre, this never materialised which left this fantastic building in ruin for more than a decade,” says Winy Maas , co-founder of MVRDV. “It is a symbol for many Albanians. For the older generation, it is a memory to the cultural events during communist times, for the recent generation it became the place to celebrate the new era. We will open it up to its surroundings as a structure in the park, that can be populated by people, trees, and containers for co-working. We will make the beams accessible and safe so that we can all climb to the top and celebrate the structure, with views of the city of Tirana. We create an inhabited monument.” Related: BIG unveils designs for bow tie-shaped National Theater of Albania In addition to natural light , the architects will introduce greenery to the building atrium. The team will also make the facade roof—a popular hangout spot for young people—officially available to all visitors, populating it with pavilions and other pop-up structures conducive to temporary events and sightseeing. The project is slated for completion in 2019. + MVRDV Renderings by MVRDV, Exterior image by Gent Onuzi and Wikimedia

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MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

Curvaceous pair of towers mimics Malaysia’s dramatic topography

May 24, 2018 by  
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International design firm SPARK Architects  recently completed a pair of condominium towers with rippling facades that pay homage to the dramatic surrounding landscape on Malaysia’s Penang Island. Located at Jalan Bukit Gambier near the state’s UNESCO-designated capital of George Town, the Arte S twin residential towers stand in sculptural contrast to its more staid neighbors. Designed to embrace the tropical environment, the units are optimized for natural light, views and cross-ventilation without the need for air conditioning. Commissioned by Malaysian property developer Nusmetro, the Arte S residential development includes 460 apartments. The taller of the two towers soars to a height of 590 feet, making the buildings the island’s tallest “twin tower” development. The apartments are designed to be flexible with large open spaces free of columns and beams. All the common areas are naturally ventilated and filled with natural light . The architects drew inspiration from the existing site, from the undulating verdant hills of Bukit Gambier to the waters of the Penang Strait. The curvilinear forms found in nature are echoed in the towers’ balconies, terraces and pools. To achieve the twisted appearance, a waveform brise-soleil is subtly rotated at each elliptical floor plate. “The mountain landscape has been interpreted as a series of layered flat surfaces that resemble steps, a graduated terracing of the building podium and its twisting towers is the signature of the Arte S project,” the architects explained. Related: Colorful bamboo pavilion champions sustainable design in Kuala Lumpur The taller tower sits closer to a mountain to the west and rises to a height of 50 stories, overlooking spectacular views of the ocean. The shorter 32-story tower sits atop a layered podium. Both towers step back at the upper levels to create three-story penthouses . The taller tower also includes a sky garden on the 35th floor with “resident club” pods that accommodate events. + SPARK Architects Via ArchDaily Images via SPARK Architects

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Curvaceous pair of towers mimics Malaysia’s dramatic topography

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