Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Colours of Tirana

We took advantage of the fabulous weather we're having today
and took a long walk through the colourful Tirana neighbourhood along the Lana river.
Here we found several painted buildings which were new to us!

Pink & Purple Camouflage


Falling Leaves and Rising Staircases


Modern Mondrian

Long Shadows


Crisscross Blocks



White Grids


Aren't they quite amazing?


We heard a rumour this week that if Edi Rama (the current mayor) loses tomorrow's election then the new mayor has said that he will paint over all the colourful buildings with whitewash. I really hope this isn't true because these buildings make Tirana unique in the world and far more interesting than other bleak post-communist cities.

16 comments:

Alison said...

Oh I so hope they don't get painted... they are fabulous!

Anonymous said...

It's funny how foreigners loge them and the locals hate them.

traveller one said...

I do think they're fabulous and I would love to know why locals don't. I understand it is only a superficial beautification of the city and that behind the walls the poverty still exists but it is a creative way of brightening a neighbourhood.

Anonymous said...

Because you can't get character with such eclectic colors. And character is much better than pseudo-art done on buildings. The city looks like it was done by a drunk painter who got stoned and hit his head on the way to buy more crack.

MsDemmie said...

Those are fantastic

angelika said...

Here's an interesting discussion going on. I reminds me of our Polish worker Stani who was so puzzled and shook his head when I wanted to restore our basement in a special "vintage" style. I think that countries and cities that want to "catch up" (and even this point might be a matter of discussion) don't aim to be unique or different, but want to be like other "modern" or "polyglott" places, even if this might mean an anonymous touch and that they seem to get interchangeable.

Tirana Interior Design Community said...

Even though I have not lived in the city for the last 16 yrs, I still consider myself a local of Tirana. I was raised with the image of this propaganda banner which said "c'thote partia ben populli, cdo populli ben partia". I used to always think about these banners being replaced by colorful ads, you would find in any other city outside Albania. Well, even though there is the tendency of trying to move toward better samples, such as other great cities, in either US or Europe, there is still the need to accept the reality. Edi Rama came up with a great idea when it comes to facades of the buildings. It is still a small piece of the puzzle. It is great to look at a Mondrian piece at any MFA but, it is very difficult to think of the same piece being presented in a gas station restroom. And, I don't mean to underestimate Tirana as a city. I would just like to point out that there is a lot to do, to bring Tirana at the level where the facades can be appreciated as nice elements of design.

TulipGrrl said...

"Because you can't get character with such eclectic colors. And character is much better than pseudo-art done on buildings. The city looks like it was done by a drunk painter who got stoned and hit his head on the way to buy more crack."

Having lived in a neighborhood of post-Soviet, grey high rise ant farms, I definitely disagree with the above assessment. There was no "character" in my neighborhood. Even if it was "pseudo-art," the drunken colors would have at least provided a bright spot during the long, grey winters.

traveller one said...

Thank you everybody for the interesting and thought provoking comments. Each is ntitled to their own point of view of course. And I do understand the negativity towards these painted buildings, but I find the endeavour to be a very positive change for the city. We often fel like we're part of a large art installation- a bit Daliesque but art non-the-less!

tinakala said...

Very cool colours.

Anonymous said...

I guess the first question that came to my mind was- Is it Albania or is it Jamaica? And then I compared Tirana with Kingston, aaaaannd? yeah they`re alike

swissmiss said...

Oh I think these are great! Perhaps, if I had to see it outside my window every day I might feel differently I guess; a friend of mine here has a bright yellow building next to her apartment and she says it makes the light in her apartment funny, like a yellow reflection.

Polina said...

I first learnt about this city project at Tate modern from a documentary. The citizens in the documentary seemed to really love it and take a lot of interest. in my opinion this mayor is a visionary!

Andrew said...

These are all very interesting ideas, and I think that painting the building blocks in so many different colours is inevitably going to irritate some people and excite some others. I personally moved to Tirana in 2002 to continue my studies, and it was the period when the painting process started (just a bit earlier). I remember the new apartment my parents bought for me in front of the Lana river, was faced with ugly and messy houses build above the River, and each and everyday I would wake up, see a new ugly bulding go down, the lake coming back to its identity, and the old commie buildings changing their image from ugly gray to something disturbing but yet far better than the former.It changed peoples' views on the city as a whole. We could all talk about how nice and positive all this was, and how hopeful and excited all youth was. Now Im in Nottingham, and I dont see stuff like that, except for one day when I was walking somewhere near te center, and I saw a block of houses painted in different colours and shapes. I dont wanna say that I cried cus thats not true, but if physically I was still in England, my heart moved somewhere else, even though for just a few minutes.

madeleine peck said...

Hi there, I'm putting together an article for a publicatin in Jacksonville, FL that will reference the painted buildins of Tiriana, and I was wondering if we could use some of your photos...with credit of course!

Let me know if you'd be interested. madeleine53{at} juno.com

selin said...

Hello,
We will soon have an online architectural portal and we would like to cite your link as an international website.

If you are interested in taking a part and collaborate, please kindly send us your email address so that we can inform you at the time our site is up(probably by the end of February)You may send your mail to the following address:
scinar (at) worldarchitecturecom.com

Regards,

Selin Cinar