UNDER PRESSURE – Facts of socialist architecture in Albania

poster small
This is an effort to envisage the reality of communist Albania by using architecture as a decoding tool.

The exhibition invites the visitor to read a storyline, which is neither chronological nor built on sequential facts. Constructing a path would constitute in a way a biased approach or a perspective by the authors. The exhibited material aims to neutralize any possible level of pre-interpretation, which drives the visitor towards his personal exploring and experiential paths into an unknown context.

The generic theme of the exhibition consists in illustrating the many forms of dialogue established between architecture and political power, portraying at the same time a dichotomy that is mirrored throughout the creative process of the architect.

Given the Albanian context, how was architecture impacted by the pressure modeled from ideology and communist propaganda? The answer is revealed through an episodic collage that exposes pieces of distorted, bended or overlapped realities. Eight episodes are served to illustrate the puzzle; Ideology and design, Approach and image, Standardized design, Prefabrication, Dissidence (?), Atheism, The National Form, and Architecture as communication tool.

Through these thematic etudes it is legible how, in many cases, architecture is transformed into a medium, enabling communication between the political power and citizens. Architectural or urban entities become the ground upon which the propaganda is materialized into form or space, and where ideology continuously models the artistic worldview.


An exhibition by: Gjergji Islami, Denada Veizaj, Gjergj Thomai, Enrico Fontanari

Graphic concept and design: Ana Pekmezi

With the special attention of: Andrea Maliqari, Rector of the Polytechnic University of Tirana

Supported by: IUAV, University of Venice, Polytechnic University of Tirana, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Central Technical Construction Archive

Participated in the opening ceremony: Alberto Ferlenga, Rector of IUAV; Andrea Maliqari, Rector of UPT; Enrico Fontanari, IUAV; Gjergji Islami and Denada Veizaj, UPT; Gjergj Thomai director of AQTN

IUAV web (link)

Facebook event (link)

Leaflet (pdf)

Poster (pdf)

Publication diary (pdf)