Steven Holl Architects wins Albanian exhibition centre with signature design

Images courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
New York firm Steven Holl Architects has won a design competition for Expo Albania, a convention centre and hotel in Tirana.

The design for the centre was arrived at in collaboration with Polish artist Agnieszka Kurant, and is a version of her work “End of Signature”. It takes the squiggly form of a written signature, modelled in the building using cross-laminated timber roof trusses.

A blue line will run around the building, and will compile the signatures of residents of the Albanian capital.

Among the building’s green features will be geothermal heating and cooling, solar shingles to generate electricity, skylights that can darken for events, a reflecting pool of recycled water and acoustic buffers made from earth.

Adjacent to Expo Albania will be a hotel that celebrates Albania’s 3,000-year-old wine culture, and will come with demonstration vineyards. This will also be curved, but in its plan rather than its roof.

As well as Steven Holl, the design team will include Atelier 4, Atelier Markgraph, Stoss and Arup.

The jury appreciated the entry’s fusion of art and architecture, commenting that it was “certain Albanians will grow fond of this building quite quickly”.

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