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National Theatre designed

Anna Pakulniewicz 19 March 2018

Anna Pakulniewicz

Journalist

+48 22 356 25 07
anna@eurobuildcee.com

Ania covers the Baltic states’ real estate markets, architecture and urban planning in Warsaw as well as interior design. She is also the co-founder of Eurobuild TV. Among others, she has been employed by TVN CNBC, PAP Insider, WBJ (The Observer), Poland Monthly and IMM. She graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics, majoring in international relations. She has also completed postgraduate studies in macroeconomic analysis. In addition to this, she studied Lithuanian philology

National Theatre designed
Image by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
ALBANIA BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and Theatre Projects have designed a bow tie-shaped building for the National Theatre of Albania.

It is a to be 3-in-1 cultural venue tailored to Tirana’s theatre and performance art scene. The National Theatre of Albania is a 9,300 sqm contemporary venue designed to host local and touring theatre companies in the nation’s capital. Located in the cultural and administrative heart of downtown Tirana, next to Skanderbeg square, the National Opera and the National Art Gallery, the new building will replace the existing theatre and add three new indoor performance spaces, a rooftop amphitheater as well as a covered public space underneath the building.

“Tirana is going through an era of unprecedented transformation and innovation. The city is becoming greener with a major tree plantation drive of 2 mln trees. It is a leading child-friendly and pedestrian city with countless playgrounds and large car-free areas such as the Scanderbeg Square and the New Bazaar. Tourism has also grown two and a half times in recent years as a leading city-break destination. BIG’s new theatre will become a crown-jewel of this transformation in the heart of the capital. The “bow tie” will tie together artists, dreamers, new talents with the aspirations of a city driving forward in fifth gear yearning for constant change and place-making,” said Erion Veliaj, the mayor of Tirana.

“Our design for the new National Theatre of Albania will continue the city’s efforts to make Tirana’s public spaces more inviting and its public institutions more transparent. The theatre is conceived as two buildings connected by a 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,“ said Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG.

Once inside the building, visitors will have access to the ticket offices which is flanked by two grand stairs that lead up to the theatre foyer. From there, guests may continue up to the main auditorium or into the smaller black box performance spaces.

The organisation of the venues has resulted in the bow-tie shape 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 two main façades 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, a lounge, a bar and a restaurant as well as two experimental stages to passersby, like the 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 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,” adds Bjarke Ingels.

The rooftop and cafe are accessible to the public as well. The slopin roof creates an amphitheater-like space that is framed by the 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.

BIG’s cultural centre experience includes the recently completed 12,000 sqm Lego House, bringing Billund a step closer to becoming the Capital for Children, the 2,800 sqm Tirpitz ‘invisible museum’ that transforms a historic war bunker into a cultural complex in Blåvand, and coming soon this year is 12,300 sqm Meca, three cultural institutions united under one roof in Bordeaux, France.












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