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SQUARE - Bashkia e Tiranes

SQUARE - Bashkia e Tiranes

to large and small

to large and small groups and formal and informal events, as well as theneeds of visitors and residents of all ages. It should be foremost a place ofpride and delight for all Tirana Citizens and visitors to the city.4.4 Improving Square’s Significant Elements Integration“Podium Stairs”; this built element of the Square that architecturallythinking is an integral part of the Opera and Ballet Palace, used tofunction as a stage for several public events, cultural, political or civic. Itwas part of the design of the cultural palace but intended conceptually asa podium for the manifestation of the totalitarian power. It was the placeof the regime’s elite to stay and overlook the political manifestations.After the 90’s it was yet used as a look-over place for democraticmanifestations against forces in power. Time after time it was used as astage for concerts and other festivities. Among all these different uses,the character of the podium as a stage remains constant and continues.Although its height gives it such a potential, from the architectural pointof view, it is not very well related to other parts of the square, in designterms, and functionally as well. It constitutes an important architecturalcomponent of the square, but also a significant element in the collectivememory of the citizens of Tirana and Albanians. Therefore, it is necessarythat the proposals work out ways of better integrating the “PodiumStairs”.Ministries’ Sunken Garden refers to the green area placed in the heart ofthe administrative complex. It is part of the original design of theScanderbeg Square and the surrounding buildings by the Italian urbanistArmando Brasini. It was designed as a “negative” or curved out space inorder to create a visual illusion for the perception of the surroundingadministrative buildings, which seemed to be quite low in proportion tothe open space in between. It has resisted later design interventions butonly recently has undergone through vegetation renewal/ refreshment.Till last year, it was just a spot of trees in the city center, most of whichwere already not showing signs of life. Today it is a healthy spaceupholding also the symbols of the Christmas and New Year’s festivities.The coming proposals should take in consideration this new public looksof the Sunken Garden, which is limited to the last section of the year, andenhance its urban quality in order to give it life throughout the year.Since the City questions the possibility of making use of the undergroundarea of the square - if that is the case - the proposal(s) should reflect theintegration of the sunken garden to this (possible) new level of thesquare.Kaleshi Garden is the name this green area has taken recently after thename of the company that has undertaken its management andmaintenance. Otherwise, it is known also as the garden in front of thePuppy Theater or the garden of the National Bank of Albania, onlybecause of its vicinity to these institutions. Recently it was reconstructedby the Municipality of Tirana and designed as an English garden ofdifferent colors during the different seasons of the year. It has a flowershop within its boundaries, as it was a missing service in the city center.Other than being visited on daily bases by passers-by, it also getscustomers interested in getting fresh flowers. However, it does not offerthe tranquility of an English garden because it is placed adjacent to thebusiest traffic roads passing through the square. Nonetheless, there havebeen times where special events were organized in the territory of thisgarden, like open-air wedding ceremonies. It is of great interest to thecitizens of Tirana and to the city hall to emphasize the character of this26

garden and to enhance its qualities in order to provide privacy andintimacy for special events.4.5 Improving Pedestrian Access to Surrounding AreaIt is highly recommended that the proposals for the rehabilitation projectof Scanderbeg Square do follow the guidelines given by the master planfor the Center of Tirana. The proposals are also encouraged to proposeother forms of developing the square in case they are argued to respondbetter to the requirements of the City of Tirana and its Citizens.Regarding the subject of pedestrian movement and access, the masterplan of the Center of Tirana states that “it is essential that the “majestic”north-south axis between the railway station and the university bepreserved not so much as a strong axis for the circulation of othermodes of travel: public transportation, bicycles and walking. Itinterconnects the major pedestrian squares: the square in front of therailway station, the central square (Scanderbeg Square) and UniversitySquare”.For the moment the pedestrian movement through the square is limitedonly to several points and is regulated by traffic lights. It is important toemphasize that it is the traffic circulation that is motivated and givenpriority today in the circulation structure of the square. It should be thereverse. Today, all the radial access roads intersect the City’s innercirculation ring, which embraces the Square at its border line. But, thecirculation of the cars should be stopped and priority should be given topedestrians. For more information on the strategies of circulation in thesquare and its perimeter refer to the report of the master plan for thecity center.In case the participants will propose the underground of the square isgoing to be developed for parking and commercial purposes, as well asfor public services managed by the public institutions housed on theperimeters of the square, the proposals should take into considerationthe pedestrian access and links to the underground developments, eventhough the detailed planning of it is not subject of this competition.Reference to the Master Plan 227

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