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Tirana: Filling the Gaps
La Biennale di Venezia, Albania Pavilion, 2010

“That which we subsume under the term “informality” is indeed a set of transition problems from political culture that has no basis of legitimization for private property into a political culture which is based on private property, i.e. the entire package of regulation that comes as default within the political culture of private property has yet to be constructed” On Informality, or, On the Redistributive Aspect of Byzantine/Ottoman Legacy and the Problems of Transition into Regime of Regulation, Orhan Esen

For the naive reading of our foreign eyes, the city of Tirana presents itself as a physical testimony of its political development. One of its distinctive characteristics are the gaps deployed throughout the urban territory. The gaps are a direct consequence of the intricate relationship the political culture of the city has had with “private property” and “land distribution” policies during the different governing regimes. In our opinion these gaps offer a great opportunity for the future development of the city.

Considered as a whole rather than a random distribution of empty land, the gaps suggest the possibility of overlaying a poly-nodal structure on the existing urban tissue. The nodes would replace the gaps. The nodes could become microcosms in the city that live from and for the city. We imagine the nodes as areas of the city where contemporary questions and needs such as sustainable design could be answered. Sustainable design in its broadest meaning: in the relationship of the intervention with the environment and context, in the relationship of public and private realm, and in the relationship of different programs capable of generating the necessary spaces for citizens to live, work, think, grow, love, entertain, wander…

Our proposal is based on the mixture of apparently antagonistic elements such as AGRICULTURE + HOUSING, CIVIC SPACE and COMMERCE.

Agricultural land is to be placed over housing and commercial structures, becoming a green roof, a protective mantle for the “city”. It offers the possibility of renting agricultural land and cultivating goods to be commercialized in the proposed market, or to be used privately by the residents as rooftop shared gardens. The market would generate jobs, formalize the casual commercial activity currently existing on the site, as well as activate the use of the existing train station.

The proposed housing occupies an area of 74.000m2.
It provides an area of 112.640m2 for living units,
a total of 2048 bedrooms.
The total area of proposed agricultural land is 50.278m2.