“This will go down in history as the year in which more was done for education and more school and nursery facilities were opened in Tirana than in the last hundred years,” remarked Erion Veliaj, the mayor of Tirana, Albania. Of these facilities, three were designed by the alumnus Stefano Boeri and his firm in the areas of Don Bosco, Koder-Kamez and Shqiponja.
The 9,812m2 complex in Don Bosco comprises a middle school, a high school, spaces for preschool education and a nursery: the Koder-Kamez schools extend over a total area of 11,898m2, offering educational provision as Don Bosko; and the Shqiponja schools comprise facilities for preschool education, a middle school and a nursery, occupying 7,898m2.
We spoke to the architects and alumni Stefano Boeri and Francesca Cesa Bianchi, the project directors at Stefano Boeri Architetti’s.
What is the definition of an Open School?
An open school implies osmosis within a community, an exchange of knowledge and experience which reverberates through the life of the neighbourhood. Often, school buildings are the core of a community and creating new schools provides an opportunity to construct a new piece of the public city
The buildings feature a simple and functional system and a combination of materials and colours that evokes the tradition of Italian architecture in Tirana. The design and distribution of the learning spaces have an influence on the academic performance of the students and, given that learning methods are continually evolving, it is necessary that architecture follows, or better yet anticipates, those changes.
How, and where, do you think that a first Open School project could emerge in Italy?
We are already working on projects of this kind, both in Milan, where were are creating a model for the “classroom of the future”, as well as in Liguria, where we are designing a school building that follows these principles at least in part. But, generally speaking, things are moving in this direction: the guidelines of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) envisage a programme for the replacement of school buildings and energy improvement which will involve 195 properties, for a total of more than 410,000m2. Together with Renzo Piano, Cino Zucchi, Mario Cucinella, Massimo Alvisi, Sandy Attia and Luisa Ingaramo, with Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli and Triennale Milano we have followed the guidelines for the design of the new school buildings, on the basis of the open school concept specifically.