Construction Begins on the Pyramid in Tirana, Albania by MVRDV

MVRDV breathes new life into complex communist monument

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards MVRDV for providing the following description:

地拉那金字塔(Pyramid of Tirana)改造项目现已动工:在MVRDV的重新设计下,这一位于阿尔巴尼亚首都的重要地标建筑将于不久后展现出全新的面貌。

Construction has started on the Pyramid of Tirana, the brutalist monument in the heart of Albania’s capital city. MVRDV’s design will see this crucial heritage building, once the showpiece of Communist dictator Enver Hoxha, dramatically renovated.

▼地拉那金字塔现状,Pyramid of Tirana – existing site © MVRDV


▼设计示意,design concept © MVRDV

▼改造过程动图示意,process gif. © MVRDV

The concrete structure will be reused, the atrium and its surroundings greened and opened, and a small village of cafes, studios, workshops, and classrooms – where Albanian youth will learn various technology subjects for free – will permeate the site, both inside and outside the pyramid itself. The Pyramid is thus expected to become a new hub for Tirana’s cultural life and a carrier for the new generation.

▼改造后效果图,Pyramid Tirana – rendering © MVRDV


▼阶梯&路径示意:diagrams – stairs and routes © MVRDV

▼整体轴测图,overview © MVRDV

Steps are added to the sloping concrete beams, making it safe for visitors to literally walk over this former museum to the country’s dictator, right to the top of the pyramid – preserving the appropriating that began with the citizens of Tirana. One of the beams will be preserved as a slope that visitors can slide down – at their own risk. These steps can also be used for sightseeing and temporary events, returning the Pyramid and the surrounding plaza to their function as an important central point for cultural life in Tirana.

▼游客可以直接登上金字塔的顶端,visitors are able to walk right to the top of the pyramid © MVRDV

▼内部空间,internal space © MVRDV

▼中庭,atrium © MVRDV


The transformation of the Pyramid shows how a building can be made suitable for a new era, while at the same time preserving its complex history, and demonstrates that historic brutalist buildings are ideal for reuse. The project also meets a number of the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations. Rather than wastefully demolish the structure, its robust concrete shell is adapted along circular economy principles. This principle is further developed in the design of the exterior steps, which use the stone tiles that originally adorned the façade as aggregate in the new concrete.

▼动工仪式现场,the official start of construction © MVRDV


As the majority of the structure is open to the surroundings for most of the year, only the added boxes housing the educational program need to be climate-controlled, reducing energy consumption. Social sustainability is advanced in the building’s new use, with the educational programme advancing education and preparing the next generation for success.

▼顶视图,top view © MVRDV

▼完整改造步骤,all steps © MVRDV

Project Name: The Pyramid of Tirana
Location: Tirana, Albania
Year: 2018+
Client: Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF)
Size and Programme: 11,835m2 – educational facility

Architect: MVRDV
Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
Partner: Stefan de Koning
Design Team: Ronald Hoogeveen, Angel Sanchez Navarro, Boris Tikvarski, Stavros Gargaretas, Leo Stuckardt, Guido Boeters
Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Luca Piattelli, Jaroslaw Jeda, Luana La Martina, Gianlorenzo Petrini Strategy and Development: Willeke Vester, Daan van Gool
Images: © MVRDV
Copyright: MVRDV 2021 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Frans de Witte, Fokke Moerel, Wenchian Shi, Jan Knikker)
Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), Municipality of Tirana
Education partner: TUMO Tirana

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