Greenery covered tower pays tribute to Albania's national hero
MVRDV already plans to put Albania on the map and has now revealed another patriotic project for the country's capital city. Officially named Tirana's Rock, the tower will reach a maximum height of 85 m (278 ft) and take the overall form of a bust of Albania's national hero, Skanderbeg.
Tirana's Rock is part of a massive redevelopment effort in Albania's capital that includes projects from high-profile firms like Stefano Boeri and BIG, as the city seeks to transition from its impressive Soviet-era architecture to a new modern identity.
The tower will host retail spaces on the ground floor, four levels of offices above, and 20 floors of apartments made up of compact homes, luxury residences, and penthouse suites above those. According to MVRDV, its "shoulders" will align with the widest part of the site, while its "head" will be turned toward a nearby square – however, bear in mind the design is meant to be more of a "squint a bit and you might see the general outline" type of tribute rather it being a mirror image of Skanderbeg, who led a 15th century rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in what is now Albania.
"The design achieves its unusual appearance by making use of balconies that wrap around the entire building on every level, with curved protrusions forming the facial details such as the nose, ears, and beard," explained MVRDV. "These balconies allow the building's interior spaces to adopt a more rational floorplan while providing a significant amount of valuable, shaded outdoor space for occupants. The resulting effect is somewhat subtle; people may need to look twice to understand the building's shape, depending on the angle from which they see it. This expressive approach fits seamlessly into a city that has developed a tradition of mixing art and architecture as part of its post-communist renaissance."
The balconies are designed to shade the apartments, while the interior floor layouts will promote natural cross-ventilation. The balconies will also be broken up by integrated planters, which will allow the native trees and plants to grow and cover much of the exterior over time. Additionally, a rainwater capture system will irrigate all that greenery and energy efficient heat recovery systems will be used to keep the interiors a comfortable temperature.
Construction work has already begun on the building, though we've no word yet on when it's expected to be completed.