Nueva casa matriz para el Banco de Albania / ARCHIKUBIK

New headquarters for the Bank of Albania by Archikubik

Structural map

Integrating the respect for the old head office building, the project reinterprets it using a new contemporary language. Always in search for a harmonic play between the differences of time and language it manages to turn it into a building of historical memory on one hand and into a clear bet for an ambitious and optimistic future on the other.

The project analizes the old head office, its structure and the will of the competition to finish the historically intented closing of the block with a new head office absolutely adapted to the present necessities and projecting a new image of Albania. The new complex thus turns the building of the Bank of Albania into a more compact piece with a central patio and a historical image of the evolution of the country displayed by a more opposition of old and new.

In order to develop our proposal, we started with an intensive study of the main lines of force of the Albanian territory, in which the map of Albania revealed an interesting cartography which we extrapolated for our project formally conceptualizing the new head office as a structural map. Thus, the map of Albania converts into a structural element enfolding the whole new building so as to transform it into a symbolic representative of the Bank of whole Albania and of all the Albanese, speaking a modern language of transparency and openness.

The map of the different regions of Albania becomes the structure of the building, the new image of the Bank of Albania, symbolizing the presence and representation of the union of all the parts of Albania in the new building. In search of being a reference to nowadays, the classical verticality of the pillars of the historical facade twists itself into the contemporary language of the structure of the new building. We looked for the confrontation of this duality between the two buildings, between the horizontal and vertical lines of the historical and the complexity of the new, between the juxtaposition of the opacity and hardness of the existent to the light, the transparency and the new building technologies of the extension. A duality in search of valuing the architecture and the image Albania was and is willing to offer in different times and realities, which in the end are melted together to a compact and convincing whole. The historical head office is always present through the transparent skin of the annex and as a reference image of the Bank of Albania while the two building get hold punctually in their very extremes like a symbolical embracement of the historic with the new, of the past with the future.

The new building shapes itself with a higher flexibility in contrast to the more formal language of the historical fabric which consits of a way more static distribution. The connection between the wings allows a highly fluid movement between both building matrices. The vertical communication cores are maintained in the existent building as so to highlight the noblesse of the existing stairways while totally clearing up the plants of the new building.

Main entrance

The relationship between the historic and the new fabric is solidified through the main entrance on Deshmorët E 4 Shkurta street. Touching the front wall of the old building, the structure of the new virtually rises like a door turning the main entrance into a porch/ veranda with visual and direct connection to the historic building of the Bank of Albania. The entrance consists of an inclined slope passing between the existing building and a green patio. To the left, the entrance is directly connected to the vertical circulation core located in the ancient building.The program with a need of public accessibility (museum, bar-restaurant, bibliotheque and the washroom) is situated to the right of the entrance in form of a transparent space opened to the street. The transparent skin of the new fabric wraps itself over the patio of the island permitting visual presence of the existing building through the roof and a natural illumination of the whole floor at all time. A sequence of innate patios allows us the fluid arrangement of the different programs in this floor while through this incorporation of vegetation we manage to create a relaxing airy and open microclimate in the whole main entrance floor. Situated in the old building and in the axis of the proposed entrance, a trajectory unfolds itself in form of the great circular panoramic stairway all around the lobby of the historical building directly connecting to the old main entrance of the existing building. This totally transparent trajectory enables a complete overview of the main entrance floor of the new extension. The access control area is situated within this kneecap between the access slope of the building and the transparent stairway to the historic building. A round conference room with a capacity of 210 persons is located below the entrance hall of the historic building just before the start of the panoramic stairway.

High-tech constructive program

In order to emphasize the possibility of the coexistence of old and new, the extension building of the Bank of Albania will be totally constructed with new building technology and new building materials offering a high-tech sight to be hold.

On the one hand, the supporting structure of the facade, the great “structural map” which enfolds the new building all over its exterior skin consists of concrete of the new DUCTAL technology of LAFARGE. It is based on concrete and resin and permits an unknown plasticity of the concrete while at the same time preserves its structural characteristics allowing it to be the only structural element located on the outside skin of the building without intermediate pillars in the floors below. With this structural proposal the floors remain totally free as so to be flexibly arranged according to the changing necessities of the building during time and the structure is being used as an emblematic and iconografic element of the Bank of Albania.

On the inside of the facade, the natural aluminium joinery offers the compactness (and impermeability) of the whole building. Through a double skin facade of glasses of low sun conductivity we achieve a comfortable interior climate while conserving the transparent and clean image of the new Bank of Albania. The offices are independently offered curtain elements allowing a major privacy according to the necessity of every moment. The roof as one more piece of the enfolding structure of the building is covered with photovoltaic panels allowing a reduction of the power costs. In each of the two wings of the historical building we have two general installation ducts which support the whole building in form of a spine in each floor.

Rationalization

Due to the existence of two monumental and noble stairways in each of the two wings of the existing fabric we decided to strengthen these vertical circulation axes. The vertical circulation core at the left side of the main entrance has been adapted to the European standards separating the stairway from another fireproof compartment with access to the parking. One more elevator was added (to each core) in order to facilitate the fluid traffic of people in the whole building. The capacity of the vertical circulation core on the opposite side is augmented by a new stairway and two elevators implementing the fire evacuation standards of the European community. The vertical communication cores have been located in the most rational way in search for a perfect operation of the whole building.

Conclusion

Through the map of Albania we generate the structure of the extension of the head office of the Bank of Albania, in search for harmony between the history of the existing building and the innovation of the new, transforming the NEW HEAD OFFICE OF THE BANK OF ALBANIA into a reference of the future for the whole country.

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Autores: ARCHIKUBIK Marc Chalamanch – Miquel Lacasta – Carmen Santana – http://www.archikubik.com / Blog Archikubik

Colaboradores: Paulo Cesar Cunha, Yolanda Salazar, Aina Roig, Juan Miguel Garcia, Anja Wünsche, Karin Mildner, Michael Wierdak, Vivien Rosenkranz, Helena Karathanasis, Àlex Clarà Ferrer, Aleksandra Pieczara, Nicolas Wendling, Maria Del Mar

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