Stefano Boeri Architetti
2017 - 2018
PPP Agikons Construction Company – Municipality of Tirana
Educational facilities: nursery, pre-school education, middle school and high school
International competition (1° prize) for concept design
Total surface: 29.609 sqm; Don Bosco School Complex: 9,812 sqm; Kodër-Kamëz School Complex: 11,898 sqm; Shqiponja School Complex: 7,898 sqm
Project team Stefano Boeri (founding partner), F. Cesa Bianchi (project director); (Project Leader) Carlotta Capobianco, Jacopo Colatarci, Julia Gocalek; (Team) Jona Arkaxhiu, Orjana Balla, Daniele Barillari, Moataz Faisal Farid, Yulia Filatova, Paolo Russo, Mario Shilong Tan, Elisa Versari
The idea at the heart of the design programme conceived for Tirana by Stefano Boeri Architetti is that the school of the future can also be an epicentre within the life of urban areas, a place open to everyone, at all ages, at all hours of the day, every day of the year. Starting from this concept, three new generation educational facilities were devised which develop the educational space as part of an open social enterprise. The project is the result of an international competition promoted by the Albanian capital city council and won in 2018 by Stefano Boeri Architetti.
The three structures are designed to accommodate five different schools, dedicated to a pre-university educational cycle. In a similar way to town and neighbourhood squares, the schools can be used by students during teaching hours and by local communities at weekends and holidays. All three complexes will be built as foreseen in the Tirana 2030 Town Plan, in the north-west quadrant of the city in the Don Bosco, Kodër-Kamëz and Piazza Shqiponja areas. Architecturally, the buildings will feature red brick facades in contrast with a white concrete base: a combination of materials and colours that recalls the traditions of Italian architecture in Tirana.
Extending over a total area of 29,609 square metres, the project consists of three large complexes. The first complex houses the Don Bosco Schools including a middle school, a high school, pre-school education spaces and a nursery covering a total of 9,812 square metres. Then there are the Kodër-Kamëz Schools for which a similar school programme is planned, covering a total area of 11,898 square metres and finally there are the Shqiponja Schools which will house the facilities for pre-school education, a middle school and a nursery school over an area of 7,898 square metres. By following this plan, the study developed by Stefano Boeri Architetti aims to satisfy the infrastructural needs highlighted by the medium and long-term education programme developed by the Tirana City Council and focused on the building of new structures dedicated to educational activities as part of the pre-university cycle. In the same way, the intervention plan also aims at defining an economically efficient operational scheme for the implementation of the programme.
Authentic urban devices, the three school complexes are designed to interact with the multiple spatial and social dynamics that surround and interact with them. The idea of the school as a local epicentre, in other words, is expressed through the activation of a new neighbourhood central focus, capable of acting on several different levels and appearing as a reference point for public life, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As well as being central and open in an urban sense, the school is therefore also open from a temporal point of view: a continuous social machine designed to function according to the needs of students and citizens at different times of the day and the year. This interaction with the city is entirely natural, similar to the breathing of a large living organism: students absorb the stratified and complex teachings that come from the great schedule provided by the city while citizens can enjoy a specific educational contribution thanks to the teaching programme offered by the school. In this way a dynamic and virtuous process of exchanging knowledge is activated.
Despite being open and permeable, the school structure model developed by Stefano Boeri Architetti is also able to offer the necessary degrees of safety and protection. Conceived in this sense as a powerful yet controlled framework, the school is expressed as an architectural structure defined planimetrically as an urban block within which all the functions are housed.
The idea of a school as a square, inside the block, is instead based on a system structured around open spaces. Starting from the definition of the latter as a priority in terms of design, the organization and distribution of the internal environments means exploiting the innate characteristics in order to achieve greater flexibility throughout the school structure, as much in the use of surfaces as in the relationship between different component parts and the tracing of flows of people between them. This approach also gives the impression of a school as a plural and complex spatial device since in addition to the environments designed for traditional use, there are also in fact several hybrid spaces within the complex, able to promote the introduction of innovative teaching systems and an inter-generational interaction between students of different ages and educational cycles. Finally, on a technological and constructional level, the school buildings respect and interpret the principle of sustainable architecture according to the most advanced parameters. The choice of materials and the technologies adopted for energy saving and production mean the new structures are configured as self-sufficient organisms and virtuous energy models.