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BIG designs bow tie-shaped building for the National Theatre of Albania

Performing Arts Centers

BIG designs bow tie-shaped building for the National Theatre of Albania

The project is a 3-in-1 cultural venue in downtown Tirana.


By David Malone, Associate Editor | March 15, 2018
The glass facade at the National Theatre of Albania

Rendering courtesy BIG

Located in downtown Tirana, the National Theatre of Albania is a 9,300-sm venue designed to host local and touring theatre companies in the nation’s capital. The new facility sits adjacent to Skanderbeg Square, the National Opera, and the National Art Gallery.

In addition to replacing the existing theatre, the new National Theatre of Albania adds three new indoor performance spaces, a rooftop amphitheater, and a covered public space underneath the building. The public space is created via the building’s prism shape that is lifted at the center, which creates connections and public plazas on both sides of the theatre at street level. This public space can be used for impromptu performances or other cultural events.

 

Rendering of the National Theatre of AlbaniaRendering courtesy BIG.

 

Immediately upon entering the building, guests will see two grand stairs that flank a ticket counter. The stairs lead up to the theatre foyer, the main auditorium, and the smaller black box performance spaces. The main auditorium is located in the middle of the bow tie shape, sandwiched by the front-of-house activities facing the south and the back-of-house activities and services to the north.

 

Indoor lobby and ticket space of the National theatre of AlbaniaRendering courtesy BIG.

 

The facades on each side of the building (at the end of the bow tie) make use of abundant glass to reveal the interior program to passersby. “The two main facades 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, lounge, bar and restaurant as well as two experimental stages to passersby, like rooms in a dollhouse,” says Bjarke Ingles in a release. “The other side reveals the entire section of the backstage, side stages, under stage and fly tower, exposing the entire theater machine to curious observers.”

The rooftop venue and café are also accessible to the public. The theater has a slight slope that creates an amphitheater-like space framed by the backdrop of the city.

 

Rooftop Space at the National Theatre of AlbaniaRendering courtesy BIG.

 

Aerial view of the National Theatre of AlbaniaRendering courtesy BIG.

 

The public space underneath the National Theatre of AlbaniaRendering courtesy BIG.

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