Alban Tower: four in one
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Alban Tower: four in one

This skyscraper in Tirana quotes a number of famous Italian towers, from Torre Velasca to Palazzo della Signoria

Archea Associati

Alban Tower: four in one
By Editorial Staff -

Designed by Archea Associati and distinguished by a volume that splits in four, like the trunk of a tree branching out towards the sky, the colorful Alban Tower office building is a distinctive sight on the Tirana skyline.

The building, Archea Associati’s winning project in the competition, is part of a broader scheme to refunctionalize the old center of the Albanian capital, which was designed in the 1920s and ’30s by Italian architects Armando Brasini and Gherardo Brosio. The design begins with the Sullivan model, used by most modern skyscrapers, but goes beyond it to quote from the most famous Italian towers, in particular Palazzo della Signoria in Florence through to Torre Velasca in Milan.

 

>>> Read about the redevelopment of Torre Velasca

 

Alban Tower: a tree on the Tirana skyline

Alban Tower - Archea Associati © Savorelli Associati, courtesy of Archea Associati

Since the early 2000s, Tirana has been engaged in an ambitious urban redevelopment program aimed at ending a period of uncontrolled building and laying the foundations for introducing a planning process that will modernize the city.

Traces of Tirana’s Roman layout are still clearly visible, however, with the cardo and decumanus dividing the city in four. Alban Tower reflects this composition with its upper section splitting into four distinct towers, each with different heights and colors.

The tower was modeled on the image of a tree, with a single trunk that branches into four as it grows upwards. The composition of the façades follows different schemes, producing a complex effect and a striking aesthetic. The base comprises green concrete panels set with Murano glass stones in five different shades, which give the surface an iridescent effect. Moving upwards, the panels take on 13 different colors, assembled to distinguish the four different sections of the tower. These panels are light aluminum and bend to create the curves of the tower.

 

One building on top of another

Alban Tower - Archea Associati © Savorelli Associati, courtesy of Archea Associati

The project for the Alban Tower was developed over a period of roughly 20 years because of a series of unrelated events, ranging from the post-2008 economic crisis to the violent earthquake in 2019, which saw the skyscraper perform extremely well seismically. This was the result of the special structural approach conceived by the engineers at AeI Progetti, who designed the load-bearing structure as a hollow concrete tube pierced by the windows. The approach made it possible to design column-free floors, with stairwells and elevator shafts on three of the four sides of the building, and one of the two emergency staircases suspended through the sequence of floors.

The foundations are also unusual, with the tower behaving as if it were one building on top of another with double foundations. The first supports the six floors of the underground parking lot, while the second, at the first underground level, supports the entire tower.

Thanks to these structural innovations, the building stands 345 ft. (105 m) high, widens at the top, and occupies minimal space on the ground. And the advantages of this are not just practical but also aesthetic since they give the tower a slim, distinctive profile.

With its flowing lines and bright colors, Alban Tower has become an icon on the Tirana skyline, a symbol of a new phase for the city, which now faces the new millennium with an overhauled identity.

 

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Credits

Location: Tirana, Albania
Completion: 2021
Gross Floor Area: 12.400 m2
Client: Al&Gi / Alban Xhaferi
Architect: Archea Associati
Design Team: Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti, Silvia Fabi, Giovanni Polazzi

Consultants
Structures: 
AEI Progetti
Plant Equipment: Studio TI, TFE Ingegneria

Photography by Savorelli Associati / Besart Cani, courtesy of Archea Associati

 

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