Keywords Change this

Theater, Demolition, Rationalism, Docomomo

Project timeline

1938 – 1939


Culture & Entertainment

Location Change this

Rruga Sermedin Said Toptani
1000 Tirana

Current state


Architect Change this

National Theatre of Albania Change this

Tirana, Albania
by Giulio Berte Change this
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Description Change this

The building of the National theater of Albania dates in 1939 following the Italian occupation of Albania. It was previously a movie theatre and was primarily built to serve Italian soldiers as a form of entertainment (dopolavoro). The inauguration of the theatre occurred on May 24, 1945. It as built near the Skanderbeg square as an “Italo-Albanian” cultural center, this rationalist building was one of the first Italian architectural works in Albania.

Conceived by the architect Giulio Berté, this building - a cultural and sporting center, with a cinema, swimming pool and restaurant - is of historical interest for its original construction technique. The shell of the building, achieved during the economic period of Autarchy, is composed by prefabricated material “populit”, an experimental cement mixed with fibers of poplar and algae. Later the theatre was called Popular Theatre, until June 1991 when it was called National Theatre. Renamed the National Theatre, from 1947 it is the principal theatre of Albania.

Demolition Treat

The Albanian authorities have announced the demolition and the construction of a new complex in 2018. A new theatre shall be constructed on the grounds of the current theater. The global design firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is planning to build three indoor performance spaces, a rooftop amphitheater and a covered public space beneath the building. But many culture figures remain skeptical of the plans and protest government plans to demolish the iconic building.

The government and the municipality of Tirana claim the buildings are degraded, are of poor quality and cannot be properly maintained. In February, the government asked actors to vacate the building, so the so called inspiring plan to build a new Albanian national theatre, according to Prime Minister Edi Rama, could take place. Facing these circumstances, Docomomo International would like to express encouragement to the on-going efforts to protect the National Theatre of Tirana from eminent demolition.


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