Architecture in Socialism.
an anthropological trip through a not so distant past.
EXHIBITIONS / PROJECTS
TEXTS AND REVIEWS
Following the communists’“victory” of the Second World War, Albania was faced with challenges of development for constructing socialism. Development of urban centers was accompanied
with housing needs, which became growingly acute. The long and endless self-isolation of the country caused a dificult economic situation. After the breakdown deterioration of relations with the Soviet Union, and latter with China, everything had to be produced our one forces although capacities were minimal.
There was no doubt whatsoever that the construction sector was part of the crisis of a society that was all by itself in face of the whole world. In a centralized system, the state had to take care of every aspect of life, while housing was not an exception either. Houses were designed in the State Design Institutes and were built by the State Construction Enter-prises. Land was state-owned. Everything belonged to the state. The state belonged to all. Growth of population in the urban areas led to a quick growth of the need for housing.
The situation was becoming ever dicult and it was not rare when there were over 10 people living in tight apartments of only two bedrooms. Overpopulation of the existing buildings was accompanied by the insucient building rhythm of the new blocks of ats. Under these conditions, the only solution for a quick and less expensive construction was found in the typization and industrialization of the construction process.
The designs of typical layouts populated the roads and corners of towns with their 4-6-oor facades. Such housing facilities were designed for a socio-cultural, economic and political reality that was very different from the reality of our days,providing the minimal space and comfort. The Party leadership mobilized masses for compulsory “voluntary work” so that the construction process was run expeditiously.
The working class had to contribute in construction in order to be able to have a decent house. When free construction sites were identied, there was a rush to label and to plant the typical buildings buildings, sometimes even with no prior urban studies. Typization of construction in general, and of the housing facilities in particular was a natural phenomenon in a society where typization started with the individual and ended up to the town.
Lecturer and researcher in the Polytechnic University of Tirana
Transportation of Concrete panels for construction of prefabricated dwellings
Assembling of Typical dwellings’ parts
The State Design Institute
Assembling of parts with a high industrialization grade