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National Theatre of Albania

TIRANA, ALBANIA

National Theatre of Albania

TIRANA, ALBANIA

2017

CLIENT

Fusha LLC

TYPOLOGY

Culture

SIZE M2/FT2

8,000 / 86,111

STATUS

IN DESIGN

The bow tie-shaped National Theatre of Albania is a 3-in-1 cultural venue tailored to Tirana’s thriving theatre and performance art scene. Located in the cultural and administrative heart of downtown Tirana, adjacent to the iconic Skanderbeg Square, the National Opera and the National Art Gallery, the new building replaces an aging theatre building which no longer met the needs of the actors, guests or the general public.

 

The 9,300 m2 contemporary venue will host local and touring theatre companies in the nation’s capital, bring three new indoor performance spaces, a rooftop amphitheater as well as a covered public space underneath the building, reinforcing the city’s goal for more urban gathering places in Tirana.

The prism shaped volume is compressed and lifted in the center, creating connections and public plazas on both sides of the theatre at street level. Visitors and theatre enthusiasts can enter the building from either side or simply stay under the arch of the building to enjoy impromptu performances and other cultural events.

 

The two main facades of the National Theatre of Albania are opened up to expose the spaces inside the building to the public outside. One side reveals a foyer, lounge, bar and restaurant as well as two experimental stages to passersby, like rooms in a doll house.

 

The other side reveals the entire section of the backstage, side stages, under stage and fly tower, exposing the entire theatre machine to curious observers. Where a theatre typically wouldn’t be open to the public until the early evening, the new Albanian National Stage will become a spectacle of production as well as performance throughout the day.

"Our design for the new National Theatre of Albania will continue the city’s efforts for making Tirana’s public spaces more inviting and its public institutions more transparent. The theatre is conceived as two buildings connected by the main auditorium: one for the audience and one for the performers. Underneath, the theatre arches up from the ground creating an entrance canopy for the audience as well as for the performers, while opening a gateway to the new urban arcade beyond. Above, the roof mirrors the archway, forming an open-air amphitheater with a backdrop to the city’s skyline."

Bjarke Ingels — Founder & Creative Director, BIG

The program organization of the venues informs the bow tie-shaped volume on the outside: the main auditorium is located in the middle, sandwiched by the front-of-house activities facing south, and all of the back-of-house activities and services to the north. The facades on each side of the building reveal the interior program to passersby outside, creating a storybook for the public and allowing the theatre operation to act as a stage in its own right.

A rooftop venue and café are accessible to the public as well. The sloping of the roof creates an amphitheatre-like space that is framed by a dramatic backdrop of the city itself. With open venues, one sheltered and one with a rooftop view, – and traditionally hidden theatre spaces being revealed out towards the city – the new National Theatre of Albania will be both stage and actor in the city of Tirana.

COLLABORATORS

Theatre Projects
Son Engineering & Construction