Final Presentation and Film Premiere - Studio Tirana:
Pallati i Brigadave

Dear Friends,

We have the pleasure to invite you to the presentation of our Autumn Studio. Between September and December 2020 the NEWROPE Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation organised a design studio that focused on the Palace of Brigades in Tirana.

The Presidential Palace, popularly known as the Palace of Brigades (or ‘Pallati i Brigadave’ in Albanian), is the official residence of the President of Albania. The palace was commissioned by King Zog I and was designed by a group of Italian engineers and architects. However, the king never got to live in the palace and to this day the palace remains uninhabited.

Unable to travel to Tirana as a result of the Covid pandemic, the students had to rely on the input from experts and secondary sources for their analysis. Through a series of online dialogues and a variety of remote sensing tools, including a meet and greet with the team of the palace on Zoom and a simulated taxi ride around Tirana in Google Street View, they developed an understanding of the spatial, social and political conditions in which the palace finds itself.

Working in groups, and in close collaboration with others, the students developed projects that approach and unpack the palace from a multitude of perspectives, scales and topics. Their projects range from proposals for physical interventions in and around the palace to plans for a public campaign to engage the citizens of Tirana in collective efforts to improve the air quality.

The various projects are featured in a short film, which the students developed together and which will have its premiere during the online presentation of the studio on December 15. After the film screening there will be an opportunity to discuss the film and the various projects with the students and other guests. The presentation will take place on online platform Zoom.

Hybrid Studio in the Design in Dialogue Lab (Photo: Elias Knecht)

Studio Tirana, Pallati i Brigadave
– Final presentation and film premiere
– Tuesday December 15
– 14:00 - 17:00
– Online via Zoom: https://ethz.zoom.us/j/99220096103

Find an overview of all student projects here


Programme (subject to change)

14:00 - Awaiting guests

14:10 – Introduction by Freek Persyn, Architect, Professor of the NEWROPE Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation at ETH Zurich

14:20 – Live connection with Tirana and Shkodra

14:30 – Film Premiere - Dear Palatti i Brigadave

15:15 – Reactions to the film from:

- Ajola Xoxa and Driant Zeneli, co-founders Harabel
- Olsi Eftimi, Architect
- Milena Dragiçveç Sesiç, Professor, Head of UNESCO Chair at Belgrade University
- Sotiria Kornaropoulou, Architect, 51N4E

15:45 – Break

16:00 – Project Presentation in Break-out Rooms

Break out room 1
Special guests: Joni Baboçi, Johan Anrys, Niels Olsen, René Boer
Projects: Dialogue in Tourism (Artur, Samuel), Soft Borders (Ikonja, Insa, Marlene), Conversation between palace and the city (Ivana, Simona)

Break out room 2

Projects: Deconstructing Beauty (Alanis, Anna, Colin), Palaces in Dialogue (Elias Knecht), Garden Citadelle (Andrej)
Special guests: Saimir Kristo, Manon Fantini, Merve Bedir, Juha van ‘t Zelfde

Break out room 3

Projects: Park as a City as a Park (Michèle, Era, Valeria), Club of Lost Souls (Roc, Sophia, Sadia, Sam), Multi-layered Reality (Anna, Chiara, Noah)
Special guests: Sotiria Kornaropoulou, Milena Dragiçeviç Sessiç, Oliver Ilievski

All guests will be able to join the breakout room they prefer and follow the project presentations.

17:00 – Special appearance: Bora Baboçi and an architecture story from Shkodra
17:10 – Final words and celebration
17:15 – The End

Participating students

Andrej, Sadia Avdija, Anna Badia Martinez, Anna Caviezel, Alanis Diem, Michèle Favre, Chiara Hergenröder, Era Jashari, Elias Knecht, Samuel Kummer, Simona Lazarova, Ivana Luggen, Sam Mettraux, Marlene Metzler, Valeria Moser, Colin Müller, Artur Roig Pérez, Roc-Andrea Rüegg, Noah Schweizer, Ikonija Stanimirovic, Insa Streit, Sophia Trumpp.

Live connection

During the final presentation there will be a live connection with Harabel, a non-profit organization based in Tirana that focuses on the promotion of contemporary art and has established the biggest open archive of artists in Albania. Harabel was founded by cultural promoter Ajola Xoxa and artist Driant Zeneli, who are joining the conversation together with a selection of guests.

More information

For more information, please contact Charlotte Schaeben (schaeben@arch.ethz.ch), Falma Fshazi (fshazi@arch.ethz.ch) or Michiel van Iersel (vaniersel@arch.ethz.ch).

Thanks you to all the people who have been part of our studio:

Ajmona Hoxha (Architect, iRi Tirana), Arbjan Mazniku (Deputy Mayor of Tirana), Bora Baboci (Architect, Artist), Barbara Buser (Architect and co-founder of Baubüro in situ and Denkstatt in Basel), Guust Selhorst (Architect, Urbanist, iRi Tirana), Johan Anrys (Architect, 51N4E), Joreun Deysen (Landscape Architect - Biologist), Joli Mitrojorgji (Architect / Restoration expert Department of Historic Centres, Vernacular Architecture and Landscape, Institute for Cultural Heritage Tirana), Joni Baboci (Architect, Urbanist, Urban Transformation Adviser Municipality of Tirana), Jutta Benzeberg (Photographer), Milena Dragićević Šešić (Professor of Cultural Policy and Management and the University of Arts, Belgrade), Leart Kola, (Activist, Director of the Institute for Social and Human Studies Tirana), Karine Dana (Architect, Architecture Critic, Film maker), Niels Olsen & Fredi Fischli (Curators, Directors of GTA Exhibitions, ETH Zurich), Marsela Plyku Demaj (Urban Planner, Head of Department National Institute for Cultural Heritage Tirana, Regional Centre for Conservation and Restoration of SEE), Sotiria Kornaropoulou (Architect), Saimir Kristo (Architect, Vice-Dean in the Faculty of Architecture and Design, at POLIS University Tirana), Tami Notsani (Photographer), Teresa Galí-Izard (Landscape Architect, Agronomist and Professor of Landscape Architecture at ETH Zürich), Vildan Gizem Mentese (Civil Engineer & M.Sc. in Architecture), Eren Can Altay (M.Sc. Architect), Müzeyyen Betül Turan, (Architect & M.Sc. Architect), Eda Demir (Architect from Department of Cultural Heritage in Municipality of Istanbul) and Noemi Iten.

And with special thanks for their exceptional availability and friendship:

Dhurata Shamia (Director of State and Governmental Services in the Prime Minister Office), Armida Ymeri (Head of the Department of Services in the Directory of State and Government Services Responsible for the Palace of Brigades). Suzana TileDirector of the Palace of Brigades) and the careful and generous staff of the Palace of Brigades.


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Our students have been given a large list of contacts of experts and citizens that they have enlarged by a dedicated effort to reach out to Albania and Tirana in times of health crises and remote studio work. Our students, students from Albania, experts and citizens of Tirana have been in a dense exchange. Therefore, there are many other names that we want to mention and to thank for their support to the studio. We will continue our efforts to complete the list with every single name.


NEWROPE Team

Charlotte Schaeben, Evelyne Gordon, Dr. Falma Fshazi, Freek Persyn Prof., Ina Valkanova, Phd, Lukas Fink, Joël Berger, Meghan Rolvien, Michiel van Iersel, Dr. Seppe De Blust, Moritz Köhler.


On December 15, 2020, the final presentation of Studio Tirana – Pallati i Brigadave took place during an online event. Below you will find the invitation and programme. Click here to read more about the start of the studio. Or go directly to the overview of students projects and watch the collective movie.