The school where you can truly open up

“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.

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Credits: Stefano Boeri Architects

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?  

Francesca Cesa Bianchi:

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?  

Stefano Boeri:

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.

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Alumnus Stefano Boeri designs a new model of an "open" school

A school that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year , experienced by students during school hours and by the whole community on weekends and holidays: this is the new school model introduced by the architect and Alumnus Stefano Boeri in Tirana.

scuola boeri
Credits: Stefano Boeri Architects

The project, which came to life as part of the new Tirana 2030 master plan, pursues the idea that the school of the future can be the epicenter of urban life of the neighborhoods, as a place that is always open to everyone, at all ages. 

"The topic of open schools has become a real necessity to face well-being needs of citizens from all over the world - the Alumnus comments -. at the educational level, an open school means a bigger connection with the territory, an exchange of knowledge and experiences, with an important impact on the life of the neighborhood. The three new schools in Tirana were designed to become true centers of social life and as spaces of intergenerational and social connection. The project in Tirana is an anticipation of an 'archipelago city', of a metropolis made up of self-sufficient neighborhoods in services to citizen, a model that can be pursued by many other international capitals."

The three schools are dedicated to the pre-university courses and host canteens, multifunctional rooms, libraries and sports facilities, which can be used by students and citizens during different times of the day, and will thus become a center for public life .

scuola boeri
Credits: Stefano Boeri Architects


During the design it was essential to calibrate the presence of traditional spaces , according to the rules and regulation of the Ministry of education, with "hybrid" areas , fundamental for implementing the experimental and the inter-generational interaction between students of different ages and cycles.

“The volume of the complex was conceived starting from the open spaces, which were given the same weight and importance dedicated to the interiors. In order to create an accessible building, which dialogues with the surrounding urban context, through careful study and access control in order to ensure safety, the spaces that host public functions " 

Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Project Director Alumna in Architecture 2005. 

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The "Supersalone del Mobile" is back, curated by Alumnus Stefano Boeri

 "Venetia with the Cinema Festival and Milan with Design will show the world that Italy is at the forefront of the opening post-pandemic: our country is the only one that at the moment is able to react and challenge the future. We mush be very proud as it is an unique moment in time."

Speaking to Corriere della Sera Stefano Boeri , architect and Alumnus of Politecnico di Milano describes Supersalone , the new edition of the Salone del Mobile of Milan, of which he is the curator, which for this exceptional return will be presented with a new name and a new look.

Credits: Laila Pozzo

"The "Supersalone" will be the first major Italian trade fair event after the outbreak of the pandemic. Is called Super because it will be so good that cannot be missed and because it will show together for the first time the great design brands, young makers, international schools, great design icons, the greatest Italian chefs and many main characters of the art and architecture scene. […]. “Supersalone” is the bright response of a SuperItalia to the long night of the pandemic ».

The event, which will continue until 10 September 2021 at Fiera Milano in Rho, hosts 425 brands, 170 creatives, 39 makers for a total of 1900 projects exhibited in a continuous gallery of more than 68,000 square meters. To these are added a large exhibition at the Compasso d'Oro Museum ( learn more about the museum here) and meetings and talks with the protagonists of architecture and design, ready to testify what Boeri defines" the symbol of a new Renaissance".


Among the many novelties of this year, there is the transformation of the event into something usable by all and not only by professionals and the integration between physical and digital, which allows visitors to view the products displayed by simply framing a QR code . A special mention also for the green aspect of the event: all the fittings and materials will be disassembled and reused.

«We expect to reach at the Fair 30 thousand tickets: - continue Boeri - yes he said this would be a good starting point, reaching 50,000 a success. We have already sold more than 30 thousand, and we are only on the first day, so we are already beyond what we hoped for. And above all, 50% of bookings come from abroad. We have already reached the minimum threshold for which to say: "We did it" ".

Credits header:
Credits home: Laila Pozzo