CONCRETE CATHEDRALS Concrete Cathedrals: Reinterpreting, Representing, and Reoccupying the Albanian Bunkers A thesis submitted to the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture in the Department of Architecture of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning by Olia O. Miho B.S.Arch. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2009 Committee Chairs: John Eliot Hancock M.Arch. Jeffrey Tilman Ph.D. Elizabeth Riorden M.Arch.
CONCRETE CATHEDRALS: REINTERPRETING, REPRESENTING, AND REOCCUPYING THE ALBANIAN BUNKERS
Throughout Albania, there are 750,000 crippled concrete bunkers that reek of waste and mildew. They cut through corn fields and sidewalks, backyards and boardwalks. Their firing apertures now frame the most picturesque views of the landscape. They were built during the Communist era to defend the country against a possible invasion—or so the people were led to believe. This imaginary enemy never came and the bunkers now stand as physical manifestations of the madness of totalitarianism. But the remnants of Communism remain lodged in the consciousness and unconsciousness of all who lived through it, and for the sake of understanding present and future Albania, it must not be forgotten. This thesis proposes an unconventional memorial to Albanian Communism. This does not commemorate the victims who perished in labor camps. This is a memorial for those who instigated rebellion, and subverted the influence of propaganda and psychological repression, and physically took down the regime—the ones who survived. The result is a conceptual project that manipulates the bunkers into public restrooms. Building on anthropologist Mary Douglas’ definition of dirt as “an offense against order,” the bunkers, as vessels of public cleanliness, establish order, physically and metaphorically eliminating what is socially unacceptable. The process undertaken to create the restroom component and the adjustments to the bunker to accommodate this addition follows a relationship of action and reaction by playing on their narrative through ironic detachment. The new additions imitate the actions of those who challenged the oppression while the bunker responds to this forceful movement by surrendering to the intrusion. iii
List of Illustration and Credits All images are the author’s unless otherwise indicated.
2-3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kliza/6172903731/in/photostream/\ 6-7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/73405917@N06/6771492125/ 8-11 http://www.davidgaljaard.nl/ 12-13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kliza/6172903955/in/photostream/ 14-47 http://www.davidgaljaard.nl/ 48-49
Shekulli (Tirana, Albania), March 1, 2012.
Sherer, Stan, and Marjorie Senechal. 1997. Long life to your children!: a portrait
of High Albania. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
54-55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/44425842@N00/3711536179/in/set- 72157621410396459 56
72157621408978727 65-66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/44425842@N00/3728707062/in/set- 72157621408978727 70-71 http://www.didierruef.com/ 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilsonianinstitute2000/ 76
Diller, Elizabeth, and Ricardo Scofidio. 1994. Visite aux armées: tourismes de
guerre = Back to the front : tourisms of war. [Caen?]: F.R.A.C.
Basse-Normandie. 20-21 74
Ibid. 22-23. 26-27
79 http://io9.com/376226/war-tourism-in-a-flying-bus 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elissacorsini/ 84-85
Lucas, E. V., E. V. Lucas, G. M., and George MORROW. 1911. What a Life!
An autobiography by E.V.L. and G.M. [i.e. Edward Verall Lucas and
George Morrow.] Illustrated by Whiteley’s. Methuen & Co: London.
87 http://andreasangelidakis.blogspot.com/2012/01/postcards-from-edge.html 88
(bottom) http://cycle-space.com/?p=9139 94
fall-2011-2011/ (middle) http://openbuildings.com/buildings/continuous-monument-profile- 39249#!buildings-media/2 (bottom) http://openbuildings.com/buildings/continuous-monument-profile- 39249#!buildings-media/6 94-95 http://boiteaoutils.blogspot.com/2010/04/unwall-exodus-or-voluntary-prisoners- of.html 96-99 http://work.ac/cadavre-exquis-lebanese/ 102-103 http://www.concrete-mushrooms.com/
“Where are you from?”—I was asked this question during my preeminent plane ride as I used my broken English to convince the flight attendant to take me into the cockpit. This was eleven years ago when my family and I packed eight suitcases containing our dearest possessions to try our luck in America. Since then I’ve grown quite fond of this question as it has facilitated countless small-talks. Typically after this question, the conversation moves on to the reasons I moved, whether I still have family there, what the Albanian language sounds like, whether I plan to move back, whether I moved alone, which country I like best, what Albanian food consists of, etc. Of course there are the occasional blank looks of confusion that I respond to with a quick geography lesson before we can move on to these other topics. In recent years, however, I’ve almost dreaded answering this question, tired of my immigration story feeding the image depicted by the West of Albania as a country dominated by thugs, disorder, and corruption, though sadly somewhat true. Aside from the countless stolen Mercedes roaming the streets, it is a country filled with untouched beaches, breathtaking mountains, friendly people, and delicious food. But, what I believe distinguishes my dear birth place from all the other Mediterranean countries is sitting quietly in backyards, in the middle of sidewalks, along the shore, in dense forests, in farmlands, in the deepest mountains, and even in cemeteries. It is the 750,000 concrete bunkers built during the Communist era to defend the country against a possible invasion—or so the people were led to believe. This imaginary enemy never came. The regime was eventually internally overthrown in 1991 following the decline of Communism in Europe, but the bunkers, now symbolizing the fears of the past, remain, only to be ignored. That is until they capture the attention of foreigners immediately intrigued by these bizarre structures dotting the landscape. A Google search of the words ‘Albanian bunkers’ results in hundreds of images, articles and blogs documenting these encounters and looking into Albania’s history in an attempt to uncover the logic behind their existence. Their uniqueness has for once encouraged the world to take an interest in Albania for reasons unrelated to the constant conflicts of the Balkans or President Bush’s allegedly stolen watch during his stay in Tirana. After many years the bunkers have the ability to serve as Albania’s unique symbol of faded communism.
iii ABSTRACT vii
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ALBANIA - THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT
COMMENTARY BY ADRIAN ANTHONY GILL
A CONCRETE PROBLEM
CAN HOXHA’S BUNKER BE REALLY REMOVED?
THE BUNKERS ARE OUR CATHEDRALS
THE BIRTH OF THE ALBANIAN BUNKER
AN UNCONVENTIONAL MEMORIAL
A COLLAGE NOVEL
A MYTH, PRESENT AND ABSENT
A WEAPON TO COMBAT AMNESIA
126 AN UNCONVENTIONAL MEMORIAL
A GENERATION OF NON PLACES
THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART
WHAT ARE THE BUNKERS FOR?
THE ART OF SATIRE
MOLDED THROUGH IRONY
INSTIGATE & SUBVERT
CREASE & DIGRESS
RISE & BREACH
AN INDEX OF CIVILIZATION
I DID NOT REALIZE...
“Albania - The land that time forgot .”
[COMMENTARY BY ADRIAN ANTHONY GILL]
In 1992, Albania transitioned into an open-market economy, but the country that was left out of most school books in the early 50’s is struggling to catch up to the rest of the world’s standard of living. In 1996, a Lonely Planet guide recommended travelers to pack sleeping bags if staying in a hotel, describing the rooms as dirty and smelly and the staff as rude and incompetent. Fourteen years later, it is ranked number one on their Top-10 list of places to see; they praise the “azure beaches, comfortingly good cuisine, heritage sites, nightlife, affordable adventures, and the possibility of old-style unplanned journeys complete with open-armed locals for whom travelers are still a novelty.”1 Yet, Albania is far from being in the clear. In 2006, an article published in The Sunday Times of London framed it through the lenses of an outsider and stirred quite a reaction. The publication enraged many Albanians, who described its content as anti-Albanian and out to ridicule the country’s culture and society. Many letters were written to the newspaper demanding an apology letter for feeding the world a twisted view of a country merely trying to survive. However, the article was not meant as a comprehensive representation. The author’s satiric overtone
was not to mock, but to lightheartedly shed light on issues that most Albanians are reluctant to acknowledge, are immune to or simply choose to ignore. 2
â€œIt was a communist state for nearly half a century. Now it has organized crime and the worst-dressed teenagers in Europe.
Will the world ever take Albania seriously?â€? 3
â€œIt is a tragic place. But just at the point in the story where
you can barely restrain the sniggers.â€? you should be sobbing,
â€œIn parts it looks like sunny-holiday Europe, but then you turn a corner into
grim, hunkered, crumbling commie squalor
, with kids kicking balls and toothless ancients
sitting like lonely loonies on benches, staring at the angry graffiti.â€? 5
â€œEverything you understand or think you know about Albania and Albanians needs to be seen in relation to
how they got the way they are.â€? 6
â€œIn the span of one long lifetime, Albania has been dealt a full house of political, social and economic experiments. It started the 20th century as a subservient state of the Ottoman empire, then it became a
playground for every Balkan and Adriatic neighbour.â€? 7
â€œIn 1913 the Treaty of London drew its borders to suit the conflicting demands of Serbia, Greece, Italy, Austria and Russia,
left over half of all Albanians living outside their own country, principally in Kosovo.â€? which
the Albanian throne was absurdly offered to an English cricketer â€œAt the Treaty of Versailles,
C B Fry,
supposed to be such a paragon of masculinity that he was photographed naked and flexing at Oxford, and ended up running a naval prep school of exemplary cruelty with a dykey, sadistic wife.â€? 9 19
“Zog Europe’s last self-made monarch was
, and a man who made
Charlie Chaplin look serious. He favoured light operetta, white hussars’ uniforms and waxed moustaches, and cut a mean tango; he encouraged the Italians to come and build things like roads and cafes. The bad news was, the Italians were Mussolini, so Zog had to make a dash for it and ruled in the Palm Court at the Ritz.” 10
“Then the Italians lost the war and the partisans took over; which might have been a good thing, except they turned out to be run by
Enver Hoxha, the weirdest of all coldwar communist dictators , a man of stern cruelty and fathomless
paranoia, who decided that the only two allies he could trust should be at the opposite ends of the world. Albania’s only mates were China and Cuba, and it became proudly the only Maoist state in Europe.” 11
“...long after everyone else had got a credit card and a mobile phone, Hoxha got cancer and died, and his unique chronic communism
Albania was welcomed out of the cold into the warm embrace of the free market. died with him.
That should have been the good news, but of course it wasn’t.” 12
“We didn’t know anything about markets or money. Suddenly it was all new, all opportunity, all confusion. And then there comes
We put money in. They give you back many times more. You put that money back and much more comes. It was brilliant, this capitalism.
Magic. Everyone did it.” 13
“But it’s fraud. Everyone loses everything,
not just their savings but their
homes and farms, and they borrow and there’s no state to help.” 14 28
Albania sold the only thing it had left: its people. “After the pyramid scam,
out passports and waited. There are 4m Albanian citizens in the world – fewer than there are Scots. Three million of them live at home, the fourth quarter work abroad, and what they do is mostly illegal. Albania is the hub of the European sex trade, smuggling and pimping girls from Moldova and the Ukraine into the West.” 15
“After years of being bullied, invaded, ripped off and
Albanians have grown very good at being frightening lied to, the
. They’re not subtle,
they don’t deal in proportionate responses, controlled aggression or veiled threats. Albanians, I’m told, have taken over the crime in Milan – exporting organised crime to Italy beats selling fridges to Eskimos or 32 sand to Arabs.” 16
â€œIt is as close as any of us will get to seeing what life across Europe was like in the 16th century, but
living a 16thcentury life in the 21st century is not a smart option. Even 16th-century people know that. So the country is emptying, and the peasants trudge to the city to try and lay their hands on a little second-hand vice money.â€? 17
â€œAll across Albania there are decrepit
concrete bunkers, thick beehive constructions that smell of mould and foxes.â€? 18
â€œThey run in little redoubts up hills, along coverts and through gardens.
There are millions of them.â€? 19
“Hoxha started building bunkers at the end of the war, and they became a
lifelong paranoid obsession that cost a hubristic amount of Albania’s wealth.” 20
p u of mistru stules st and fear.â€? â€œ...they are
unded by enemies,
ys been surro â€œAlbania has alwa
divided â€? . f l e s t i t s n i aga n but it has also bee
couldn’t make up Albania’s history.” 23
thatâ€™s a bunker!
A CONCRETE PROBLEM [CAN HOXHA’S BUNKER REALLY BE REMOVED?]
Publication of the newspaper Shekulli (Tirana, Albania), March 1, 2012.
After the recent failed attempt by Albania to qualify for membership in the European Nation, instead of focusing on the more pressing issues of corruption, illegal drug trafficking and arm’s 150 LEK was the cost for one bunker during that time (the current value is $1100).
“I understood the need for bunkers in large fields, but questioned the ones implemented in areas where even a goat could not pass through. My supervisor tells me, “Alfed, this is an order, it is a political decision. It is not our place to think.”
Army workers using tank carriee to remove bunkers from Seman beach in the city of Fier.
Can Hoxha’s bunker really be removed?
dealing, Prime Minister Sali Berisha returned to his favorite theme, anti-communism. He asked for the implementation of a plan requiring the complete removal of the bunkers in Albania built between1975-1985. Since the Ministry of Defense washed their hands of the bunkers in 2006, the expenses for their removal fall on local authorities, in oth-
er words, peopleâ€™s taxes. It seems history is repeating itself. Hindered by the guidance of a man fuelled by his own greed and pride, Albania will soon participate in another counterproductive mission, consuming funding and time better spent to alleviate poverty. Instead of learning from history, they are merely tucking them under a thin veil.
1200cm3 is the density of the steel used.
Prime Minister Berisha: The bunkers need to be removed.
the concrete used had a density of 600kg/cm3 (150-200cm3 typically used in construction).
Specialist who participated in the construction of the bunkers, say it is impossible to shatter them. The only way of removal is by pulling them out of the earth, but most are located in areas inaccessible by car. Even if the could be removed, where would thousands of bunkers be stored.
A CONCRETE PROBLEM
Rrok Marku holding flute, Grizhe.
[THE BUNKERS ARE OUR CATHEDRALS]
“Unë e dua Shpiperinë, është vëndi im. Nuk e them këtë për arsye patriotike. Shqiperia është gruaja që kam dashur e ende e dua. Ajo e thunua, dicka e t'merrshme i ndodhi asaj, dhe kjo ndodhi me atë që unë dua, dhe shënjat e mbetura nga plagët janë Shqipëria. Më erdhën ndërmënd Katedralet. Katedralet janë të bukura dhe bunkerëd janë të shëmtuar. Katedralet janë ngritur mbi skllavëri dhe varfëri, mbi kurizin e atyreve që nuk kishin të drejta. Bunkerët janë Katedralet tona, shënjat e lëna nga plaget, ato janë pjesë e fytyrës sonë. Nëse dua ta dua Shqiperinë, duhet të dua dhe shënjat e plagëve. Ne duhet të jetojmë me keta bunkerë. T’u japim një funksion të ri. Kjo është Shqiperia, një vejushe e abuzuar që të rinjtë e këtij vëndi duhet ta ndihmojnë. Ata nuk kanë njohur kurrë një tjetër Shqipëri.” (Anonim)
“I love Albania, it is my country. I’m not saying this for patriotic reasons. Albania is the woman that I have loved and still do. She was violated. Something terrible happened to her—to someone I love. The marks left over from these wounds are Albania. Cathedrals come to mind. Cathedrals are beautiful and the bunkers are ugly. Cathedrals are build through slavery and poverty— on the backs of those without rights. The bunkers are out cathedrals. If I want to love Albania, I also have to love the scars from the wounds. We need to live with these bunkers and give me a new purpose. This is Albania—a violated widow that the new generation needs to help. They have never known another Albania.”
A CONCRETE PROBLEM [A FUTURE!]
A few Albanians have recognized the potential of the bunkers and have helped a limited number shed their past and take on different roles. In the countryside, they are used by farmers to house their chickens. In urban settings, a few have been converted into kiosks, burger joints, bars, shoeshine stands, etc. Ironically, in GjirokastĂŤr, lo52
cated in the south, a bunker now serves as a church. These few instances show Albania as a country hoping to quickly modernize yet restricted by their resources. However, it is naĂŻve to assume these isolated and crude transformations could change overall populationâ€™s view the bunkers, attract tourism or stimulate a suffering economy. 53
CHRONOLOGY [THE BIRTH OF THE ALBANIAN BUNKER]
The country has spent the last decades trying to undo the damage and erase the memories of Enver Hoxhaâ€™s regime. Though many statues were destroyed and books were burned, these hundreds of thousands of bunkers remain indestructible, extremely expensive and labor-intensive to pull out of the earth. Their crumbling exterior appearance is
often overcome by vegetation and filth. As a child, one was located in the very center of my favorite playground. Even at a young age, we could sense the terror associated with the bunkers and kept our distance. For the generations that lived through this fortification of the country, they are just parasites they hope will disintegrate with time.
The communist tyranny which birthed them and enslaved the country for almost half a century was founded during World War II. In the wake of the Nazi retreat in
Albanian council of National Liberation, Berat, Albania, October 1944.
1944, Enver Hoxha came to power and paraded the partisans of the Albanian Communist Party as the only saviors of the country from Italian and German occupation. Foreshadowing a reoccurring trend in Hoxhaâ€™s regime, this was far from the truth. Two resistance groups, Balli Kombetar (Nationalist) and Legaliteri (a Royalist Group) also fought for the liberation of the country. With support from Tito and Stalin, Hoxha quickly liquidated these opponents by declaring them as Fascist supporters and collaborators. The ones that failed to flee in exile were the first to experience the weight of Hoxhaâ€™s iron first.24
Albanian council of National Liberation, Berat, Albania, October 1944.
With Hoxha as its leader, Albania underwent various changes and improvements. Farmland was collected from wealthy landowners and gathered into collective farms enabling the country to become almost completely selfsufficient with food crops. Industrialization was introduced for the first time. Electricity was brought to rural areas. Epidemics of disease were fought through vaccination and implementation of medical facilities. Illiteracy was dramatically reduced. Moreover, a violent campaign extinguished religious life, claiming that it divided the Albanian nation and hindered progress. 25
Enver Hoxha with Chou En Lai, First Premier of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China, 1964
In 1962, Albania ended all official relations with the Soviet Union declaring them to be revisionists and anti-Marxist after the death of Stalin. The country pulled out of the Warsaw Pact and the Communist giant, China, became its only ally. Sixteen years later China, ends economic and military aid to Albania after relations become strained because of their reconciliation with the US. 26
The plan for the fortification of Albania began in the year 1974 following the execution of the Minister of Defense Beqir Balluku, Army Chief of Staff Petrit Dumes, Army Political Director Hito Cakos and over twenty high-ranking generals charged with organizing a military coup with the intent to overthrow the Communist government. In actuality, they were against the plan to ‘bunker’ the country and without Hoxha’s permission developed an alternative military strategy to be implemented in case of foreign invasion. Amidst this scandal, Albania, in the process of severing its last tie to the outside world, China, felt defenseless at the peak of the Cold War and the tremendous arms race between two powerful alliances. 27
ALBANIA post 1962 enemies allies
Xenophobia fueled a mentality that at any moment other nations—both members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact—were contemplating a strike with the intention of occupation. 59
Mehmet Shehu (on the right), second in the communist party, assessinated under orders of Enver Hoxha, on December 1981
Led by Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu along with a talented group of military specialists and engineers, the bunkerizationâ€™s defense tactics were implemented at three scalesâ€”city, region, and country, interdependently of eachother. The shelters began along the border and from there moved inwards towards the centre of the country and Tirana, the capital and home of Enver Hoxha. The density of bunkers on each defense line adapted to the strategic qualities of the terrain. In mountainous areas there were only 90 bunkers per line, because the enemy was expected to be traveling by foot, and had the disadvantage of a limited field of vision due to the rugged terrain. In lowlands where the imagined enemy could experience some challenge while traveling in armored vehicles, there were around 150 bunkers per line. In costal and topographically flat areas there were close to 400 bunkers per line. In each defense line, there were variations in terms of the type of military forces positioned, the tools and artillery available to them, the task assigned to those units, and the type of bunkers.28 60
In 2002, in an interview published in the Albanian newspaper Koha Jone, Alfred Moisiu who at the time served as Prime Minister of Defence, described the three prototypes produced. The most common type called Qendrat e Zjarrit (Centers of Fire), used along the coast, was a set of three cells connected by underground tunnels and could shelter up to twenty-four sitting soldiers. Each of the bunkers were pre-fabricated and dropped into a dug hole. The second type referred to as Pozicionet e Zjarrit (Points of Fire) and nicknamed Fela Portokalli meaning orange wedges, was produced in pieces, and at times carried on the backs of soldiers if positioned in mountainous areas inaccessible by vehicles. The third type, adopted for all types of terrain, located either above or below grown, was used to store tanks, weapons, ammunition and food. Aside from the entry door, all bunkers had one to two windows allowing a 45 degree view out to the landscape. Moisiu continued to explain that hundreds of factories shifted their focus from apartment buildings to the mass production of bunkers.
It is estimated from 1975 to 1985 one bunker was built for every Albanian familyâ€”the amount of concrete used for each bunker is equivalent to one apartment unit. 29
To this day, it is difficult to determine whether this was purely a military defense tactic or a tool in the hands of a dictator to instill fear in his people and extend the life of his dominion. Most Albanians
believe the bunkers served to convince the public that their leader was taking every measure of protection, thus blinding them from comprehending the lack of basic human rights and low quality of life resultant of a problematic centrally-planned economy. Hoxha monopolized mass communications using it to spread his messages of propaganda like the famous slogan: “In one hand a pickax, in the other a rifle!” or “A fight for bread is a fight for socialism!” He restricted the flow of information from the outside world ensuring the population's ignorance about all foreign affairs and enabling him to indoctrinate his own ideologies. This resulted in a country-wide, cult-like behavior centered on Hoxha. The ones who dared to break away from this caravan were publicly ostracized, winding up either in gulags, arbitrary imprisonment, or psychiatric confinement. Between the years 1945 to 1992, in a country of only 3 million people, “5,487 political prisoners were executed, 19,250 people were sentenced to prison, 59,809 people were interned and internally deported, and 11,536 were banished from the border regions to Albania’s interior.”30
Female military parade. May 1 parade, Tirana, late 80s.
PROPOSITION [AN UNCONVENTIONAL MEMORIAL]
Remnants of communism remain lodged in the consciousness and unconsciousness of all who lived through it, and for the sake of understanding present and future Albania, it must not be forgotten. Today the austere presence of the bunkers is only noticed by those few foreigners who manage to cross the border. This thesis proposes an unconventional memorial to Albanian Communism. This does not commemorate the victims who perished in labor camps. This is a memorial for those who instigated rebellion, and subverted the influence of propaganda and psychological repression, and physically took down the regime—the ones who survived. However, they represent a dark time in Albanian history and the majority of people wish for their destruction. According to Molly Ivins, a witty newspaper columnist, “Satire is traditionally the weapon against the powerful.” And art, in the words of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, is “the truth of being setting itself to work.” West Berliners used satire and art to deal with the harshness of the wall. As such, the bunkers could become that special place for Albanians where they can recognize the absurdity of Communist era without feeling shame or anger, allowing for healing to occur. 67
“Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries for 2011” Tips & articles. Lonely Planet. Published: 31 October 2010.
Gill, Adrian Anthony. “Albania - The Land that time forgot.” The Sunday Times (London.) Published: 23
July 2006 3.
10. Ibid. 11.
12. Ibid. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. Hamilton, Bill, and Bhasker Solanki. 1992. Albania: who cares? Grantham: Autumn House. 24. Hamilton, Bill, and Bhasker Solanki. 1992. Albania: who cares? Grantham: Autumn House. 25. O’Donnell, James S. 1999. A coming of age: Albania under Enver Hoxha. Boulder: East European Monographs. 26. Ibid. 27. Elezi, Gani. “Eleminimi i Lidërshipit Ushtarak Shqipëtar.” Shekulli (Tiranë), 2004
28. Ibid. 29. Stefi, Qemal. “Intrervistë me Alfred Moisiun.” Koha Jonë (Tiranë), October 28, 2002. 30. Stahl, Johannes. 2010. Rent from the land: a political ecology of postsocialist rural transformation. London: Anthem Press.
FORTIFIED SIGHTS [A MYTH, PRESENT AND ABSENT AT THE SAME TIME]
One of the most striking features of a bunker is its monolithic quality. Unlike most buildings which are planted into the earth through a type of foundation system, the bunker simply floats on its center of gravity. For this reason, though sometimes covered with dirt or an overgrowth of vegetation, it is disconnected from the earth and appears alien to its surrounding. In case the terrain gives in during an attack, the bunker itself is left intact, the place to take refuge when all else fails. This relationship between the human figure and the bunker resembles that of clothing, but more specifically of armorâ€” the restricting internal space, the smoothed angles to minimize excess, the depth of the wall, the arrangement of notches to house various weapons, the steel platting of the cupola, the ventilation channels, etc. The firing apertures, for example, simulate the act of squinting the eye. They limit the viewing range forcing the focus to lie only on the marked object while insulating the body. This feature also increases accuracy since the person aiming at the target is not wasting time on irrelevant background landscape. A bunker is engineered for combat day-to-day activities. In the words of Paul Virilio, an archeologist who studied the structures making up the Atlantic Wall:
â€œThe fortification is a special construction; one does not live there, one executes particular actions there, at a particular moment, during a conflict or in a troubled period. Just as 73
you put on your armor for combat, or your raincoat in the rain, you go to the fort when peacetime conditions of the environment yield to wartime weather conditions. What in the thickness of roof tiles was adequate to protect against hail, snow or rain, and in the thickness of the wall to retain heat and protect from the wind, in not inadequate to protect against bullets, shells, or bombs.”1 Military architecture exists for the execution of particular actions at a designated time during war. The remnants of this military plan are present during peacetime when they take on the qualities of “a myth, present and absent at the same time.”2 They are present as elements shunned from society because they are works of architecture unlike the typical translucent and permeable ones meant for dwelling. They are absent because they are relatively invisible— whether built underneath the surface of the earth or succumb by vegetation growth. Virilio notes that bunkers
“concentrated the hatred of gawkers, just as they had (previously) concentrated the fear of death for those using them as protection against the invasion.”3 75
REPACKAGED PAST [A WEAPON TO COMBAT AMNESIA]
Fortunately, abandoned bunkers are not only an interest to archeologists, but along with museums, battlefields, cemeteries, and other historical landmarks, they attract a different type of explorer, tourist. The past two centuries have witnessed the transformation of tourism into one of the world’s largest industries. Each year, millions of tourists scout the corners of the world for an adventure armed with cameras, extensive guidebooks, tour guides. They purchase postcards and souvenirs to take back the memories of these places into their normal everyday life. Tourist sites across the globe have been repackaged and even redesigned to fulfill the needs of the greatest number of visitors. This ever-growing industry can be used as a tool for conserving Albania’s cultural heritage by providing the motivation and means needed for rehabilitating the bunkers and preserving their story. J-R Pitte, a French geographer explains this curiosity:
“The landscape is a cultural reality because it is not only the outcome of human labor, but also an object of observation, and even consumption…This ricochet phenomenon is paramount in tourist landscapes which are avidly looked at but also extensively developed so as to be better looked at.” 77 4
If tourism is related to war, it kindles certain investigations. There is a drastic difference between the beachfront tourist and the ones who decide to spend their holiday strolling through battlefield sites in order to learn about a place or a series of events unfamiliar to them. This grand displacement of peoples is not motivated by a religious leader or army general, but an interest in culture. In the words of Sylvie Zavatta, Director of F.R.A.C. de BasseNormandic, an institution situated 12 kilometers from the D-Day Beaches,
“The primary function [of tourism] is to combat amnesia.”5 When a piece of history is embedded “within the systems of cultural memory”6 it is permanently transformed into a tourist attraction, though physically it may be destroyed. This “collective memory [is] a concretized archive of a people’s ethnic or national identity.”7 Tourist attractions are determined by what the country itself and the outside world consider as deserving of viewing. Thus, they are most frequently representative of that culture or nation. A clear example is the Eiffel Tower in Paris which, perhaps like the bunkers, was first hated by citizens, but one day through time and tourism it became a symbol of the culture. 79
WAR TOURISM [A GENERATION OF NON PLACES]
“The Old English word for travel was originally the same as travail meaning trouble, work, or torment which in turn comes from the Latin tripalium, a threestaked instrument of torture.” 8
It can be said that at the least etymologically, there is a connection between violence and travel. This link is clear when looking at the national economy of Israel who relies on tourism to function during an on-going war in order to fund their national defense. As summarized by the architects Diller+Scofidio, “war fueled by tourism within war.”9 The war in the Gulf negatively impacted this tourism/war relationship because the Iraqi army targeted civilian areas of Israel, a retaliation aimed at the U.S. Consequently, the U.S. was asked to pay $200 million for the damages caused by the bombing, as well as $400 million for repairing tourism. However, the war-torn areas of Kuwait began attracting curious explorers from around the world shortly after.10 80
“The Navy, it’s a chance to travel around the world and see places most people only read about.” – 1993, U.S. Navy Recruitment, television advertisement. 11 Another connection between war and tourism is the element of travel. Soldiers are considered as the first travelers by crossing into new and unchartered territories, at times with violence, but also through the circulation of customs and language. As early as the First World War, military recruiters began advertising the possibility of travel as a means to “See the World,”12 a lavish commodity, previously experienced only by the upper classes. And as the soldier on the quest for culture adopts the attributes of the tourist, the current tourist takes on militant qualities by purchasing high-tech travel gear, following a healthy diet, creating detailed itineraries and even manuals of self-defense. A common trend in guide books, especially in politically volatile counties is to provide guidance on daily personal safety:
“In public spaces, such as a restaurant, sit where you cannot be seen from the outside and try to sit on the far side of a column, a wall, or other structure— 81
away from the entrance. You want to be inconspicuous, out of the line of fire and protected from any bomb blasts. The same precautions should be taken at hotels, at clubs and even sitting on the deck of a yacht in the harbor.”13
In other words, it is best to blend with the crowd. The concept of camouflage appears to be as useful for the tour-
“foreign bodies”14 targeted as invaders “facing anything from xenophobic suspicion to outright contempt.”15 ist, as for the soldier. They are both
The tourist and the soldier are ambassadors of another nationality and as such they are immediately confronted with preconceived notions of their country. Moreover, local communities disdain the commercial littering associated with tourists which at times can ruin the historic integrity of natural and cultural resources. However, anthropologist Valene Smith explains that “[c]ontempo-
rary tourism accounts for the single largest peaceful movement of people across cultural areas in the history of the world.”16 Socio-economists characterize tourism as “the world’s peace industry.”17 82
Nevertheless war attracts many visitors. Battlefields are places where bloodshed and aggression occurred, but also where a few brave souls committed the ultimate sacrifice to protect the integrity of their The book “Holiday in Hot Zone 16” by Clifford ideologies, identities, and W. Dunbard, is a satire about a group of tourists that travel to a U.N. declared hotzone “Lower ways of life. Tourists visit Hazmatistan” to watch from a shielded bus the gruesome battle between two warlords. these places to remember the fallen comrades, try to feel part of an event that greatly influenced the future, celebrate a victory, or mourn the loss. A sign on the earth calling out the death of soldier, “Custer fell here” reinforces the validity of the place though there is no definite difference between here or there. Thus, an open field needs only a note of a historical narrative to capture interest. Without that marker authenticating its story, the place no longer carries that same “aura” for the tourist. The reenactment of history for the purpose of tourism shows its importance to a culture and nation. The many institutions like museums or monuments are not purely commemorative, but these “non places” are where the crème de la crème of a country is perfectly framed for viewing. In the words of Diller+Scofidio, “tourism itself
becomes a political agent of nationalism.”18 83
THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART
Shoes, 1888 Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)
[WHAT ARE THE BUNKERS FOR?]
Martin Heidegger in his essay The Origin of the Work of Art, unfolds a complex discussion on the nature of various kinds of “things”19 including how we interact with them in everyday life and how we are sometimes caused to see them and their meanings in new ways. He considers as an example, an ordinary “equipmental”20 object, a pair of common peasant shoes. However, it is not just any pair, but the ones painted by Van Gogh. Simply described the shoes are “constructed of leather [and] jointed by thread,”21 but this is type of narrative does not help to surface their nature, merely their physical qualities. A better understanding is exposed when questioning not “what are the peasant shoes made of?”22 but “what are the peasant shoes for?”23 He describes their intended purpose by relying on their physical qualities. He says:
“From the dark opening of the worn insides of the shoes the toilsome tread of the worker stands forth. In the stiffly solid heaviness of the shoes there is the accumulated tenacity of the slow trudge through the far-spreading and ever-uniform furrows of the field, swept by a raw wind. On the leather there lies the dampness and saturation of the soil. Under the soles there slides the loneliness of the field-path as the evening declines. In the shoes there vibrates the silent call of the earth, its quiet gift of ripening corn and its enigmatic selfrefusal in the fallow desolation of the wintry field. This equipment is pervaded by uncomplaining anxiety about the certainty of bread, the word-less joy of having once more withstood want, the trembling before the advent of birth and shivering at the surrounding menace of death. This equipment belongs to the earth and it is protected in the world of the peasant woman. From out of this protected belonging, the equipment itself rises to its resting-in-self.” 24 85
Photomontage: A Legacy
The shoes are beyond the everyday object. They ensure the very presence of the peasant. Heidegger then makes the distinction between an actual pair of shoes and the ones captured by Van Gogh, identifying the painting as the medium for communicating their nature. The truth about the nature of the shoes is revealed through the work of art. It appears, “the art work discloses, in its own way, the being of what is […]. In the art work, the truth of that which is has set itself into work.”25 He explains that the artist through the art-work shines a new light on a familiar object disclosing an unfamiliar perspective and unveiling “the truth of what is”26 in a framed artistic arrangement. The bunkers, framed through art, have the potential to reveal their greater meaning in the deadly chess game that was Hoxha’s regime and in the processes of the country’s post-communist identity. Beyond mere monolithic masses succumbed by vegetation and filth, the thousands of bunkers show the determination and blind dedication the people of Albania had for their leader. Art can be the apparatus which unveils their true nature and their on-going capacity for new meaning, to both the locals and the rest of the world through their conversion into local amenities and tourist attractions. Simply asking what
the bunkers are for can lead to many different results and the medium of art can shed light on some of these issues, leading to a better understanding of Albania today. 87
“What a Life!” by E.V.L. & G.M. (E.V. Lucas and George Morrow) who used illustrations from Whiteley’s Catalogue, scissors and paste to illustrate the imaginary and eventful autobiography of an Ewardian gentleman. Published in 1911 by Methuen& Co.
THE ART OF SATIRE [MOLDED THROUGH IRONY]
“One man searching the pages of Whiteley’s General Catalogue will find only facts and prices; another will find what we think we have found — a deeply-moving human drama.” 27
E.V. Lucas and George Morrow
Although more than two decades have passed since the fall of communism, it is still a subject of contention many disagree on. The National Museum features expositions documenting every important period in Albanian history, yet the history of fifty years of communist oppression is left untold. Relying on personal experiences has skewed the story. Humor and satire hold the ability to enter into this difficult subject without taking a stand or reaching a conclusion, instead pointing out certain events, human behaviors, and social issues, through a comic, even absurd, lens while effectively reaching a wide audience. In the architecture realm, Robert Venturi published Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture in 1966 followed by Learning from Las Vegas six years later. These works set the foundation for the concept of the irony of inclusion. He broadened the spectrum for what is considered accepted architecture by writing that “the commercial strip of a Route 66 is almost all right.”28 In 1974, in an interview, Denise Scott Brown explained the irony in Venturi’s words by saying that “if you are both help
ing and loving and criticizing your age, the way that these positions can be molded is through irony. The thing that I both hate and love, you laugh rather than cry and the way you laugh is by having a talent through irony.” 90
Las Vegas Studio: Image from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
“Instant City Airships”
While Venturi and Scott Brown viewed roadside architecture through an ironic lens, through the late fifties and early sixties, architectural projects emerged with the intention of revealing the truth. The works of Archigram and Superstudio are similar in their use of powerful imagery. Their representations are animated with collaged human figures and context highlighting the social foundations of the city. In the pro- Ron Herron, Archigram, “Tuned Suburb,” 1968. ject “Tuned Suburb,” Archigram places the human figures in the foreground and scales them disproportionately larger to the surrounding architecture suggesting an emphasis on social interactions versus architectural configurations.
Superstudio, Continuous Monument,-1969
Superstudio, Continuous Monument
With the project “Instant City,” they propose a city that responds to the desires of the flâneur. The city literally breezes in through airship and blows away once the event finishes. This alludes to the spontaneity of the city, where social desires and needs inform the spatial layout. 29 “Continuous Monument” by Superstudio, depicting a mega structure of an absurd size, suggested a critical view of Modernism’s early Utopian promise and the result of picture-perfect corporate architecture.
These satiric gestures are also a theme in Rem Koolhaus’ final student project at the Architectural Association, entitled “Exodus,” loosely based of Superstudio’s “Continuous Monument” project. The prison of voluntary prisoners stretching through the center of London features the social and physical implication of the Berlin Wall. His thesis physically manifests these dark elements—isolation, anger, destruction, inequality—and declares 94
Koolhaas implements the collage technique to create vivid portrays of life within this visionary wall.
The wall appeals to many visitors resulting in the “Exodus” of London.
(left)+(top) Rem Koolhaas, Exodus site plan.
“architectural warfare” on London. The entrance, darkly depicted, is through the reception area where the prisoners are stripped naked in order to then be integrated into the new lifestyle. When the prisoners become ill, they are sent to the
Institute of Biological Transactions. Once at the hospital, the sick are placed on a conveyor belt passing through doctor’s pavilions as they are picked off for treatment. If the sickness was incurable, they would again be placed on the belt and sent directly to the cemetery. In the Palaces of Birth, an exact number of people was produced to sustain a consistent population. The last square is a mental institution where patients are provoked to manic behavior.30 95
WORK.ac proposed site plan
Thus, since architecture cannot save the world from peril, it can at least raise awareness for its problems. The firm Work.ac, lead by two OMA alumni, Dan Wood and Amale Andraos, did just that with their 2007 Rotterdam Binale urban plan proposition for the redevelopment of a war-torn Beirut into a tourist attraction. The design is similar to a Disney-like amusement park. 96
Bunkercheology: To aid transportation, a metro system is installed and archaeological remains are unearthed
The designers view
â€œdowntown Beirut as a temporal Cadavre Exquis, building on the Surrealists' tradition of setting up processes that engender situations rather than reducing the solution into yet another instantaneous plan.â€? The highlights in this plan include the Intellectual Tent City, suggestin tent rather than sky-scrapper as the main element making up the next modern city.
Cedar Evolution: The end of war allows government officials to retreat to the cedar becoming a symbol of peace for the nation.
The Urban War Games Coliseum allows Beirut to
“subvert its status as ‘city of continuous conflict’, created by world powers’ proxy wars, sets up a terrain on abandoned landfill for the enactment of simulated urban warfare. Giving up internal conflicts, the country prospers from the game.” 32
Urban War Games Coliseum
Like Superstudio’s “Continuous Monument”, Archigram’s “Instant City”, and Koolhaus’ Voluntary Prison, this project relies on architectural narrative and cartoon-like interpretation to deliver a message versus necessarily providing an architectural solution.
Lebanese food Cuisinopolis
Fairuzeum: Honoring Lebanonâ€™s most popular singer
In an interview with ArchDaily, Work.ac defines architecture as a tool to challenge preconception and weave things together in unexpected ways to question and engage the world. They believe that humor, though part of everyday life, had been bled out of architecture. If architecture is meant to engage everyday life, it must take humor into consideration. It is also a means of cutting quickly into very difficult political issues without having to know every detail or pretend to reach
the ultimate solution and appear self-righteous. Moreover, it is a way to pull in an audience to hear the message. If something is funny it is inherently more interesting and captivating; if something is ironic it is inherently more complex and engaging. 99
Virilio, Paul, and George Collins. 1994. Bunker archeology: texts and photos. New York, N.Y.: Princeton
Architectural Press. 42. 2.
Diller, Elizabeth, and Ricardo Scofidio. 1994. Visite aux armeĚ es: tourismes de guerre = Back to the front :
tourisms of war. [Caen?]: F.R.A.C. Basse-Normandie. 11 5.
10. Ibid. 11.
12. Slogan, U.S. Navy Recruiting Command, 1993 13. Savage, Peter, The Safe Travel Book, Lexington Books, 1993. 14. Diller, Elizabeth, and Ricardo Scofidio. 1994. Visite aux armeĚ es: tourismes de guerre = Back to the front : tourisms of war. [Caen?]: F.R.A.C. Basse-Normandie. 24 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 28 19. Heidegger, Martin. 1977. Basic writings: from Being and time (1927) to The task of thinking (1964). New York: Harper & Row. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Ibid.
27. Lucas, E. V., E. V. Lucas, G. M., and George MORROW. 1911. What a Life! An autobiography by E.V.L. and G.M. [i.e. Edward Verall Lucas and George Morrow.] Illustrated by Whiteley’s. Methuen & Co: London. 28. Venturi, Robert. 1977. Complexity and contradiction in architecture. New York: Museum of Modern Art. 29. Jencks, Charles. Architecture 2000; Predictions and Methods. New York: Praeger, 1971.59 30. Heron, Katrina. “From Bauhaus to Koolhaas” Wired 4.07. Published: Jul 1996 31. WORKac. 2010. New York: X11 Books. 32. Ibid.
Tranformational Image by two Graduate Students at The Politecnico Di Milanoâ€™s Landscape Architecture
AN INDEX OF CIVILIZATION [FILTHY PLACES]
Social scientists, along with architects and designers, look to understand the linkage between the social and physical world. It seems they have a way of influencing each-other—physical attributes affect social behaviors, and social conduct impacts physical qualities.1 In the case of the bunkers in Albania, their physical characteristics provide shelter and privacy in convenient locations along main roads, within cities, in forests, and invite the trend of being used as unofficial public toilets. Additionally, the overall hatred towards the dictatorship makes it socially acceptable to physically mutilate its relics through publicly defecating in their vicinity. Relying on the bunker’s
social and physical qualities, it becomes clear of their necessity and appropriateness to serve as public restrooms. This banal act of performing one’s business in public ties to the subject of hygiene in both the literal and metaphorical sense. 104
Referencing the scientific and rational study conducted by sociologist, Norbert Elias, The Civilized Process, “an
increase in shame, repugnance, and em2 was fueled by the advance of barrassment”
modernity. By looking into European social behaviors dating from the sixteenth century until the current day, Elias complied a chart to document what he refers to as the “embarrassment threshold”3 —a consistent growth in cultural repulsions against bodily functions ranging from blowing your nose to defecating and even the consumption of food. Ironically as the world developed into a safer place, it resulted in a simultaneous increase in these feelings of distaste and revulsion. An alluded frailness of the body and the practice of safe and respectful distancing are what constitute a civilized society. For Foucault, the act of supervision leads to the distribu tion of clean spaces lending itself to social hygiene. In
“the name of health and cleanliness [that] all sorts of spatial arrangements are subjected to [panoptical] control,”4
and a transparent society is achieved. The eighteen century’s fear of darks spaces is overcome by a modern and hygienic world. A clear example is Le Corbusier’s white architecture that commemorates the simple forms presented by the factories and silos of America.5 This absence of color is also manifested in the three-fixture scheme standardized in the 20’s that to this day embodies the modern perspective. The smooth, white surfaces concealed in glass, defy 105
change, reject germs and certify a defense again illness.6 Thus, a need for cleanliness, previously exercised for religions or medical reasons, is extended to communicate and dictate social order. Mary Douglas, a cultural anthropologist, explains the root of uncleanliness through her definition of dirt as “matter out of place”7 A pair of shoes that are considered clean on a pavement are immediately dirty if moved on a bed. Food on a plate is safe for consumption, but if it happens to touch a pile of waste even for a moment, it is deemed inedible. As such, dirt can be considered as an “offense against order”8 and a menace to established social standards. In order to preserve order, boundaries are established resulting in the “positive re-orderings of our surrounding.”9 Public restrooms form a barrier against a powerful type of dirt, bodily waste. As “technologies of concealment”they have the ability to
“make waste disappear and provide a literal and moral escape from the unacceptable.”10 When the animal in us surfaces, the
restroom responds to this basic necessity and accommodates such demands while providing intimacy.
Public restrooms, taking on the qualities of a backstage, allow for the preparation a “presentation of self”11 that is considered civilized and orderly by the social world. 106
A century ago, at the turn of the twentieth century,
Loos described the plumber as “the pioneer of cleanliness” and “the billeting officer of culture, of today’s prevailing culture.”12 His great goal, modern civilization, was to be achieved through “increasing water usage”13 provided by the plumbers. These modern installations al lowed for daily cleansing of the skin leading to a healthier lifestyle. However, Loos implies that the greatest benefits lie in the psychological rather than physical. The convenience of washing one's self in the privacy of a bathroom encourages the freedom the live life fully—to cut a tree, to climb a mountain, to ride dirt bike without being afraid of getting dirty. As such, the concentration and physical conditions of public restrooms affect people’s routes and encourage the visitation of areas that would otherwise be marked as inaccessible. For example, parents are more likely take family trips if restrooms are available, and they will allow their children to roam freely if they trust the facilities. People facing disabilities are able to attempt more activities if the conditions are appropriate. The integrations of restrooms around bus terminals or train hubs, encourages the use of public transportation. But, the lack of toilets is a more prominent problem in poor countries and even in poor neighborhoods of rich countries. A scarcity in public services only emphasizes their already suffering state.14 107
It seems, bunkers could learn from public restrooms. “Put bluntly, peeing is political and so it taking a shit and washing-up.” These metaphorical implications are obvious—the shitting on the dictatorship and the cleansing of the body of its remnants in prepara15
tion for the future. Moreover, the bunkers become â€œan index of civilizationâ€? for Albania. Once viewed as scars marking our failure, as vessels of public cleanliness, they establish order and physically and symbolically eliminate what is socially unacceptable. 16
Molotch, Harvey Luskin, and Laura Noreﾌ］. 2010. Toilet: public restrooms and the politics of sharing. New
York: New York University Press. 10 2.
Lahiji, Nadir, and Daniel S. Friedman. 1997. Plumbing: sounding modern architecture. New York:
Princeton Architectural Press.52 5.
10. Molotch, 34 11. Ibid. 2 12. Lahiji, 18 13. Ibid. 14. Molotch, 3 15. Ibid. 2 16. Lahiji, 80
A COLLAGE NOVEL [STILL LIFE]
“Collage is the systematic exploitation of the coincidental or artificially induced encounter of two or more unrelated realities on an apparently inappropriate plane—and the spark of poetry that leaps across the gaps between them.”
Max Ernst, surrealist artist
The following exercise begins to reinterpret the historical narrative of the bunkers as a way to visually sift through the chaos and use collage to make sense of disparate pieces of information. The constructed scenes are based on historical events, but they appear more so as vehicles of propaganda. Each portray a tension between opposing forces.
The New You
For those not familiar with key figures or events used, it is difficult to decipher their true intent. In this case, new stories emerge while trying to uncover their meaning. Instead of reiterating the history, the following is a hypothetical and somewhat humorous interpretation. Regardless of the version, whether historical or fictional, a conflict is instigated resulting in the subversion of the perceived enemy.
Episode 1 An Assassination Attempt
It began with an assassination attempt on the countryâ€™s dictator by undercover CIA agents posing as Soviet bombers. They recently discovered the dictator's
deadly plan for Albanian world domination by constructing home-grown concrete mushrooms made indestructible by an orbiting membrane.
Episode 2 A typical day in a typical labor camp: criminals, religious leaders and the
mentally ill are slowly exterminated to make way for a stronger Albania.
An Unexpected Flaw
In the capital city, a special gas is dispersed into the air to brainwash their citizens to become obedient killing ma-
chines and avenge the attack on the dictator, but instead they turn on eachother, hypnotized by the need to destroy.
An Unexpected Flaw Continued
It appears the gas dissipated on contact with the protective membrane of the dictatorâ€™s lethal weapon allowing a
rebel unit to camouflage the remains with their tears in rainbow colors.
A new leader emerges to solve the countryâ€™s geopolitical problems making the ground vibrate. The insane dictatorâ€™s concrete mushrooms elevate and disappear in the stratosphere leaving behind only tokens of peace and commercialization.
AN UNCONVENTIONAL MEMORIAL [INSTIGATE & SUBVERT]
Study models made from clay following the original assembly procedure.
Beyond public restrooms, the transformations are to serve as an unconventional memorial to Albanian Communism. This does not commemorate the victims who perished in labor camps. This is a memorial for those who instigated rebellion, and subverted the influence of propaganda and psychological repression, and physically took down the regimeâ€”the ones who survived. The process undertaken to create the restroom component and the adjustments to the bunker to accommodate this addition follows a relationship of action and reaction. The new accessories imitate the actions of the people who challenged the oppression. As such, it stands synonymous to the word 'instigate'. The bunker responds to this forceful movement by surrendering and allowing the intrusion. Their new articulation is captured by actuating a word synonymous to 'subvert'. The following are several studies exemplifying this relationship.
make waves diverge
5 Project 131
[CREASE & DIGRESS]
The view combines the process+narrative with the resulting form. On the right, a rally commemorating a statue erected in honor of Enver Hoxha. On the left, thousands of illegal immigrants who risked their lives to escape the social and political unrest following the fall of communism make their way to Italy. The new addition creates a crease between these two events standing on extreme ends and celebrates acts of freedom.
[RISE & BREACH]
The view combines the process+narrative with the resulting form. A sequel to the collage Episode One: An Assassination Attempt, the new addition rises and cracks the self-inflicted isolation. Situated in the center of Tirana, it stands as a monument of freedom.
did not realize how loaded and resented their existence was until I went to Albania to gather information. The national public library had no information on them. My chopped-up Albanian and light complexion was not beneficial either. People assumed I was foreign and refused to help me air out their country’s dirty laundry for the world to judge. Returning to Cincinnati defeated, I smashed into another wall. I scratched the idea of converting them into hotels because I could not answer a simple question from a professor ‘What is the difference between converting a vernacular Albanian building and a bunker into a hotel?’ Well, there really wasn’t one. Their new role had to make a sturdy statement about a sadistic dictator and the current disastrous situation in Albania without stepping on too many toes. After spinning in place for two months, I reached the decision to reconfigure them as public toilets.
Simply put, encouraging shitting on what was considered state-of-the-art military weapons that used the amount of concrete and steel needed for one two-bedroom apartment unit made me laugh. Regardless, I do not think that is the strongest and most developed aspect of my project. I stumbled on something that could pull an audience in with my collages. Through this media I was able to simultaneously bring up key issues and exhibit their impact in the form of formal strategies for creating the toilet addition and penetrating into the perceived indestructible bunkers. All in all, it was a remarkably bumpy progression, and by the end it veered in the right direction. Through I admit I did not come close to a plausible solution, the product of this thesis can encourage a country to come together as a whole and acknowledge a future for the bunkers. Or in other words, I made some flashy pictures to turn some heads toward a serious problem.
Bibliography A collection of some of the works referenced during the course of the thesis.
Banham, Reyner and Ballegret François. “In A Home is Not a House.” Studio 4 Postindustrial. 1965. Desilets, Deborah. Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. New York: Rizzoli, 2010.
Diller, Elizabeth, and Ricardo Scofidio. 1994. Visite aux armées: tourismes de guerre = Back to the front : tourisms of war. [Caen?]: F.R.A.C. Basse-Normandie.
Elezi, Gani. “Eleminimi i Lidërshipit Ushtarak Shqipëtar.” Shekulli (Tiranë), 2004.
Gill, Adrian Anthony. “Albania - The Land that time forgot.” The Sunday Times (London.) Published: 23 July 2006.
Hamilton, Bill, and Bhasker Solanki. 1992. Albania: who cares? Grantham: Autumn House.
Harper, Charley, and Todd Oldham. 2009. Charley Harper: an illustrated life. [Los Angeles, Calif.]: AMMO, American Modern Books.Heidegger, Martin. 1977. Basic writings: from Being and time (1927) to The task of thinking (1964). New York: Harper & Row. Heidegger, Martin. 1977. Basic writings: from Being and time (1927) to The task of thinking (1964). New York: Harper & Row. Heller, Steven, and Lita Talarico. 2010. Graphic: inside the sketchbooks of the world's great graphic designers. New York: Monacelli Press.
Heron, Katrina. “From Bauhaus to Koolhaas” Wired 4.07. Published: Jul 1996 Hyseni, Bardho. 2000. Beteja dhe duele: esse dhe kujtime. Athens, Greece: Alcaeus.
Jackson, Paul. 2011. Folding techniques for designers: from sheet to form. London: Laurence King Pub.
Jencks, Charles. Architecture 2000; Predictions and Methods. New York: Praeger, 1971.
Kimbrell, Don. “What’s so funny about architecture?” Humor and Architecture. 2009. <www.dowkimbrell.com> Klanten, Robert. 2008. Data flow: visualising information in graphic design. Berlin: Gestalten. Klanten, Robert. 2010. Data flow 2: visualizing information in graphic design. Berlin: Gestalten. Klanten, Robert, Hendrik Hellige, and James Gallagher. 2011. Cutting edges: contemporary collage. Berlin: Gestalten. Klanten, Robert, and Hendrik Hellige. 2009. Naïve: modernism and folklore in contemporary graphic design. Berlin: Gestalten. Klanten, Robert, and Hendrik Hellige. 2011. The modernist. Berlin: Gestalten. Klanten, Robert, Sven Ehmann, Kitty Bolhöfer, Floyd Schulze, and Andrew Losowsky. 2010. Turning Pages: Editorial Design for Print Media. Berlin: Gestalten. Klanten, Robert, Sven Ehmann, Verena Hanschke, and Lukas Feireiss. 2011. A touch of code: interactive installations and experiences. Berlin: Gestalten. Lahiji, Nadir, and Daniel S. Friedman. 1997. Plumbing: sounding modern architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
Lippard, Lucy R. The Lure of the Locals: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: The New Press. 1997. “Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries for 2011” Tips & articles. Lonely Planet. Published: 31 October 2010. <http://www.lonelyplanet.com/albania/travel-tips-and-articles/76164> Lucas, E. V., E. V. Lucas, G. M., and George MORROW. 1911. What a Life! An autobiography by E.V.L. and G.M. [i.e. Edward Verall Lucas and George Morrow.] Illustrated by Whiteley’s. Methuen & Co: London. MacCannell, Dean. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken Books, 1976. Molotch, Harvey Luskin, and Laura Norén. 2010. Toilet: public restrooms and the politics of sharing. New York: New York University Press. Mukerji, Chandra, and Michael Schudson. Rethinking Popular Culture: Contemporary Perspectives in Cultural Studies. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
Nakamichi, Tomoko. 2011. Pattern magic 2. London: Laurence King Publishing.
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Slogan, U.S. Navy Recruiting Command, 1993
Stahl, Johannes. 2010. Rent from the land: a political ecology of postsocialist rural transformation. London: Anthem Press. Stefi, Qemal. “Intrervistë me Alfred Moisiun.” Koha Jonë (Tiranë), October 28, 2002. Sternberg, Esther M. and Wilson, Matthew A. Neuroscience and Architecture: Seeking Common Ground. Cell127, Elsevier Inc. October 20, 2006.
Stott, Andrew McConnell. Comedy. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Venturi, Robert. 1977. Complexity and contradiction in architecture. New York: Museum of Modern Art. Virilio, Paul, and George Collins. 1994. Bunker archeology: texts and photos. New York, N.Y.: Princeton Architectural Press. Viction:workshop. 2009. Colour mania. Hong Kong: Viction:ary. WORKac. 2010. New York: X11 Books.
Published on Jun 13, 2012