BANK OF ALBANIA
Bank of Albania inaugurates the renovated building and the Museum
Publication date: 30.10.2015
After 77 years, on 30 October 2015, a symbolic date, for the Bank of Albania, it inaugurated the renovated building, and opened the Museum of the Bank of Albania.
The ceremony was attended by the Mr. Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, central bank governors and senior representatives, diplomats accredited in Albania, government ministers, Members of Parliament, heads of independent Albanian institutions, representatives of international financial institutions, senior managers of commercial banks and other financial institutions operating in Albania. Representatives of many institutions in the field of architecture, history and culture, Albanian and foreign collectors, and former employees of the Bank of Albania also attended.
Inaugurated originally on 30 October 1938, the building of the Bank of Albania is one of the most prominent buildings of Tirana, with unique Rationalist architecture, designed by the well-known Italian architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo. Thanks to the artistic beauty and the grandeur of the facade, it became an important point of reference for citizens, architectural history and town planning of Tirana.
Due to the scars of the time, continuous expansion of the functions and employees, and additional requirements for technological standards, the building faced the need for renovation, which eventually materialized in the project by Architect Marco Petreschi.
The winning project was selected after an international competition, based on the project design of the Bank of Albania that required solutions for the facilities based on two main principles: preservation of architectural values and restoration of the originality of the building.
These requirements were accomplished through the restoration of the existing building and the construction of an adjacent building. The project used the original idea of Architect Morpurgo, who had envisioned additions to the building along the southern and western segments of the court, without interfering with the monumental facade.
In the renovation project, the facade remains intact, and changes, additions or interventions carried inside the building over the years are eliminated. The set of different architectural elements is restored, while the building's authenticity is preserved.
In addition to four floors above the ground, the new building reaches four floors underground, providing technological services and car parking space. From the engineering point of view, underground floors constituted a unique and critical point in the project, as digging was to be carried out near the foundations of an existing building.
It is artistically intertwined with the existing building by using the same characteristic elements of the old one, such as the terra cotta brick and Trani stone (marble used in the pillars of the facade and the interior of the existing building). The old and the new building are connected with a glass dome, which creates an interesting interior atrium bringing both projects face to face, albeit implemented at different times.
The building of the Bank of Albania now comes as a whole composition, a single building, where the new one merges with the old one. It will represent a dignified central bank, one of the most important institutions, the only monetary and banking supervision authority.
In structural, mechanical, technical aspects, it has been updated with the most advanced technology of relevant fields, ensuring full compliance with international standards, especially regarding the staff working conditions.
With meeting rooms, conference hall, and other facilities for social and educational purposes, it allows the Bank to perform priority, auxiliary and representative activities.
On this occasion, a book "Architecture of the Bank of Albania" was compiled showing a chronological photographic document that presents the history of the building from the initial design ideas to its full reconstruction.
A symbolic building of Tirana's main square, the Bank has witnessed all the events and key economic and political developments of the Albanian state. It abounds with history inside the walls and the "secret" rooms, which will now be open to the public as part of the Museum of the Bank of Albania.
Conceived as a combination between exhibiting and educational elements, the tangible and virtual, the prehistoric and modern technology, the Museum of the Bank of Albania aims to inform the public on all aspects of money, the visible and invisible threads affecting our daily life.
In the first floor, the physical world of money is displayed, the tangible part of it, in a string of displays culminating in the Treasury Room, also known as: the Rotunda (a circular vault inside a pentagonal safe room according to Morpurgos' original project). In the Treasury Room, a golden ingot is in display, as the ultimate appearance of money.
The permanent exhibition of the first floor, presents collections of coins that have circulated in the territory of Albania for over two thousand years. They are part of the numismatics collection of the Bank of Albania and were selected and studied with particular care through a long collaboration with prominent archaeologists, numismatists, historians and ethnographers of Albania.
Thanks to the support of the Centre of Albanology Studies and the Ministry of Culture, the collection of this Museum exhibits unique and impressive objects such as four bronze axes, part of the Hoard of Torovica from the X century BC, that testify to the pre-monetary exchange in the historic territories of Albania.
The second floor presents the other side of money, its digital form. The visitors' itinerary continues in the hologram room, that tells the story of ancient coins, in 3D, in 360 degrees, in a more sophisticated and digital language.
With a particular focus on public education, this Museum has a dedicated space for primary and secondary education teachers and students, who may organise classes, lectures and the other educational activities related to money and the economy.
The Museum of the Bank of Albania is now a new tourist attraction at the heart of Tirana and a centre of permanent information, where the public can learn more about all aspects of money and the economy, as well as better understand central bank functions.
On the occasion of the inauguration ceremony, the Museum, for the first time, unveiled a temporary exhibition of special objects of cultural heritage, part of treasure that Bank of Albania had hosted over the years.
For the successful implementation of these projects, considered to be of strategic importance, the Bank of Albania would like to thank the building renovation project team represented by Studio Petreschi: Marco Petreschi, Nilda Valentin, Giulio Amadei, Francesco Ciresi Antonio Archiletti; and the Museum project team represented by Studio Museum Rebus sh.p.k, Arkipost Engineering, Museum Engineering, Goppion, as well as Albanian and foreign institutions, architects, historians, numismatists, collectors, ethnographers and others who contributed to these projects.
A special thank you goes to all the employees of the Bank of Albania who worked with dedication and gave their contribution to the realization of the renovation of the building and the creation of the Museum of the Bank of Albania.