The building originally served as a laboratory of hydraulics where hydro power models that produced electricity were made. This project aims to preserve the memory of the old building and convert it into a turbine that produces art, hence the name art turbina. Together with the new public plaza, ArTurbina will form an endless art platform.

The theater is an extraordinary important, physical manifestation of love for culture. In a poor country like Albania, building a new theater is perceived as a process of strengthening and reflecting on the future of art. It is therefore required more than to simply design the building, but to create an inspiring architecture with innovative force, rigorous intellect and bold execution.

More than twenty years after the fall of the totalitarian regime, the need to invest in a new theater for the young generation became reality. In order to realize this project, we had to channel all the new energy into an inspiring and emancipating building.

The aim was to create a cultural podium to develop social life, art, interactive relations and to make building belong to the neighborhood and to the city.

The project consists of 3 buildings and 2 existing water tanks, one above the pump room and the other just behind the building at the ground level.

The urban concept is enforced by a plaza that spans the full length of the ArTurbina facade, creating a link with the buildings around.

The stage and the plaza communicate through many openings in the facade resulting in a dynamic relationship between the public and the artists during the rehearsals. The plaza is also projected like a variable and reversible space where the public and residents will feel a stronger sense of place and community. Two multi-functional stages with 400 and 150 seats auditoriums form different configurations which define stage-auditorium relationship.

The urban concept is determined by creating a public space which generates relations between the building and the city.

ArTurbina in just 4 months has hosted theater performances, temporary exhibitions, cinema, public debates, fashion shows and other activities.

Before the project, the site consisted of an office building, next to it an abandoned industrial hangar and a backyard used informally as a parking lot.

Like cutting a paper, we took out part of the existing office building to open the view towards a new pedestrian plaza. It acts like an auditorium, a place to sit or hang out, composing a series of flowing transitions between stages, cafes, exhibitions, extending the inner and outer space as one, as an inviting tool to the cultural building.
Upon reaching the site, at the most visible upper corner, stands a transparent cylinder, which creates one of the most suggestive elements of the building for visitors and artists.

The water tank and the terrace of the old pump room are converted in attractive spaces for contemporary performances and temporary exhibitions.

In this project, the energy of the coexistence between the new and the old gives a magical atmosphere to the art scene.

Suddenly all the ground floor once abandoned is converted in less than 2 months in artists cafes and shops.
ArTurbina is not just a reconstruction, it is not just a new architecture building, it is not just a theater, it is not just scene or a dance.

The project aims at a unique architecture in the function of the technology of artistic performances.
Since the old inspires the future, we have preserved a palette of materials from the original building.
The facade is made of exposed concrete slender columns to create a communication with the old shell of the existing addition to concrete; another important element is the use of rusty metal, which brings back the memory of the use of water in the previous life of the building.

The communication between the 400 seats auditorium and the plaza is made flexible through the use of a wooden double skin behind the windows facing the plaza.



Year Completed:

Total Area:
4279 m2

Usable Floor Area:
3088 m2

Ministry of Culture

Main Architects:
Alban Efthimi
Olsi Efthimi
Andi Efthimi
Altin Premti

Klesta Qirici
Keti Hoxha

Structural Engineer:
Helidon Kokona

Mechanical Engineer:
Spiro Drita

Electrical Engineer:
Deshira Mena

External Collaborator:
Marc Lambert


Gerta Xhaferaj