Tirana, Albania Proposal for Durana, Albania by Piovenefabi, YellowOffice, Archispace

Tirana, Albania

Tirana Stories

Monday 4 – Sunday 10 September 2017

The first visiting school to be held in Albania begins at a time of great change for the country. In 2014 it became an official candidate for accession to the European Union and after years of political and economic uncertainty the country is rapidly modernising.

The history of Albania is one of changing geographies. From 1944 to 1991, it was ruled by a deeply isolated communist regime, a situation reflected in the country's territorial and infrastructural organization.

In communist Tirana, the Block area - now the most active neighborhood in the city - housed the party elite and was cut off from the rest of the city, not even appearing on most maps. With the fall of the regime and the abrupt transition to free-market economy, Albania – together with its capital city Tirana – faced a major shock. Urban areas, previously regulated by a strict masterplan, started to spill over into the rural landscape, while the liberalization of privately owned vehicles caused a huge change of paradigm in the use of the city.

Today, under Edi Rama’s Socialist government - elected in 2013 - there is a strong will to move forward.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

Tirana has a collection of buildings that remain closed to the public. One of these – The Palace of Brigades, completed in 1942 as a residence of the Albanian Royal family – will be the site of the visiting school. Only used for governmental and diplomatic events, this will be a rare opportunity to work in one of Tirana’s finest buildings.

The Palace of Brigade sits in a crucial position – a restricted section of Tirana Park developed around an artificial reservoir built by the communist regime. The park, which marks the boundary of the city, has become, with the recent governance reform, a very important connection between Tirana and its South Metropolitan Region. The opening of the Palace’s garden to the public could allow an important urban connection for pedestrians and bikes.

The workshop will operate at different scales: 
• at a territorial scale by means of cartography and topographic studies covering the area of intervention, students will prepare a speculative masterplan centered on the Palace of Brigades 
• at an architectural scale, with measured drawings and models, students will focus on a constellation of projects 
• on a 1:1 scale, developing a narrative for a new future for the Palace, they will realize points of intervention for the building and its garden

Guest lecturers will be invited each day to tell us a story from Tirana’s past and future. An open day at the end of the workshop will present our findings.

The Visiting School will be held in collaboration with Atelier Albania and Milan based practice active in Tirana, PIOVENEFABI.


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page. If you are not able to make an online application, email  visitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk for instructions to pay by bank transfer.

2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered to the programme. A CV or a portfolio is not required.

All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After payment of fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.

Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but accommodation options can be advised. Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and model making tools. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.

The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals.

Palace of Brigades, Tirana

Programme Head
Vanessa Norwood is Head of Exhibitions at the Architectural Association, one of the world’s leading centres for architectural culture and learning. Commissioner and curator a range of exhibitions that celebrate architecture in a wider context. Co-curator of Venice Takeaway at the British Pavilion for the 13th International Architecture Biennale. Contributor to publications, magazines and blogs on the subject of art and architecture and member of panel advising the Albania Government on cultural competitions.

Tirana Coordinators

PIOVENEFABI is an architectural office led by Ambra Fabi and Giovanni Piovene. Based in Milan, the office works in national and international contexts and is active in the field of architecture, urban research, territorial visions and design, developing through commissions, competitions, publications, workshops and teaching.  The office is currently working on several projects in Tirana, including a park in the Tirana-Dürres economical corridor and a pedestrian path linking Tirana to its southern conurbations. Both projects represent a serious attempt to produce architecture in a very fragmented and unpredictable context.

Atelier Albania is an Albanian government agency charged with energizing urban development through a series of architectural competitions.


Programme Head
Vanessa Norwood

Tirana Tutors
PIOVENEFABI: Ambra Fabi and Giovanni Piovene

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads




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Visiting School Prospectus


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