Speirs + Major win with BIG to design Albanian cultural centre

May 09 2011 — by Jesse Lilley
Speirs + Major are part of the winning team led by BIG architects appointed to design a cultural centre and museum in Tirana, Albania. The 27,000 sq m complex will consist of a mosque, an Islamic centre, and a museum of religious harmony.
New Mosque and Museum of Tirana, Bjarke Ingels Group
New Mosque and Museum of Tirana, Bjarke Ingels Group
Located in the heart of the Albanian capital, the centre is part of a series of urban transformations initiated by artist and Mayor of Tirana Edi Rama. Two churches were recently completed in the area and this new complex will ensure that Albania’s three major religions – Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam – are all represented in the heart of the city. The cultural centre will not only serve the Muslim community, but also educate the wider public and serve as a beacon for religious tolerance.

Speirs + Major worked closely with the competition team to achieve a special quality of filtered light that will infuse the project by night and day.

Speirs + Major Director Keith Bradshaw commented: “This is a highly significant win for us. We will bring to the project a sensitivity towards light and Islamic architecture that stems from our involvement with other religious and national landmarks such as the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi in UAE.”

The winning entry has been selected from a shortlist of five finalists, including Spanish Architect Andreas Perea Ortega; Architecture Studio from France; Dutch SeARCH and London-based Zaha Hadid.

The successful team, led by Danish-based BIG, includes Martha Schwartz Landscape, Buro Happold, Speirs + Major, Lutzenberger & Lutzenberger and Global Cultural Asset Management.