Location : Tirana, Albania
Area : 6987m2
Year : 2013
Concept and Building Design
Architecture Studio: Zambak Architects, Istanbul
Design Team: Jurtin Hajro, Kadir Karakoç, Mesut Dural, Erdem Soylu, Sezer Özbulat
Architecture Studio: CoRDA (Center of Research and Design in Architecture, Epoka University),Tirana
Design Team: Jurtin Hajro, Gentian Kica
Epoka Social Center and Department of Architecture (ESC+DA) building is part of Epoka University Campus in Tirana, capital of Albania. Epoka Campus project has prints of two different project teams. It holds footprints designed by an office which was resigned after the completion of the first building (E building). ESC+DA is the third built building of the Epoka Campus project, designed by Zambak Architects. In this context the ESC+DA building is a product of analysis derived by the coexistence with the E building,a reflection of major campus design principles as well as a fit to its reformulated program.
Subsequent reforms brought change to the content and the program of the building. ESC+DA was asked to host a variety of activities requiring amalgam of spatial relations. While the building hosts the university’s most emerging department, some of the functions like the conference hall, the cafeteria and the canteen, the student social clubs and the library gives answers to the university’s social spatial needs.
Positioned in the south of the E building, the ESC+DA with its northern courtyard create the campus’ main public area. The building’s external lines have priory taken into consideration the layout of the E building. The programme and the position in the campus has naturally reflected in the building’s main design principles. Thus the building is essentially made up of a set of spaces structured within and among each other around an open central space which basically gives spatial information of the program distribution. Since the building holds social functions and the most of social engaging educational spaces, like the ones of the department of architecture, the public-private spatial ratio has been determinant in the coming together of the functions.
The activity holding character of the circulation spaces,in the western section of the central gallery, is an indicator of the functions they serve. In this way the circulation areas in the ground floor and the first floor, by serving to the student social clubs and to the architecture department studios, they turn to exhibition areas and with the glass facade they play a more interactive part to the main campus public area. In this way the stationary programs like the social clubs in the ground floor and the studios in the first floor face the south leaving place to the exhibition - circulation areas to the north. In the east part of the gallery, in order to emphasize the horizontal relationship with the campus promenade, it is positioned the canteen and the View to the Entrance Hall cafeteria, an intense function which serves to the whole university.
The central gallery acts as a connection element in the first floor by giving space to the second floor where the high raised roof encloses the core spaces. Under this enclosure it is located the main exhibition hall which behaves as a distributive space to the classrooms angularly facing the north, the academic units to the south and the library to its east. This main hall it is designed with the qualities to act as a central exhibition area as well as the lobby of the conference hall, whose entrance is followed through the stairs landing just to the hall.
Fabrication of the Space
Designed to hold the architectural department building, the ESC+DA, through spatial composition and interior design principles, aims to play a role in the architectural education. The materialization of the design decisions are considered inside this specific framework. The space defining elements and the infrastructural system serving to the building become part of a transparent network. Thus, transparency of the structural, the mechanical, and the electrical systems of the building becomes a educational tool for the students of architecture. In this framework it is thought to express the essence of each material, therefore the effects on the space they define.
Due to their professional consults during the design process, special thanks go to:
José Ramon Fermin, Emre Can Yılmaz, Kamil Gürbüz, Artan Hysa, Valbona Koçi and Sokol Dervishi.
Photography by Eduard Pagria, Graphic Designer at Epoka University.