The design for Skënderbeg Square by 51N4E (after artist Anri Sala withdrew his name from the project) has advanced to the finals of the EU Mies van der Rohe Architecture Award.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Edi Rama declared:
“Impossible to imagine only a short time ago! Skënderbeg Square in the great finale of the most prestigious architecture prize – the European Union prize for Contemporary Architecture named after the legendary Mies Van Der Rohe #LetTheDogsBark we know the rest.”
Exit had inquired at the Mies van der Rohe Award whether their featuring of the Skënderbeg Square project would not be perceived as an endorsement of widespread corruption with the project. 51N4E co-founder Peter Swinnen had also been fired from his job as State Architect of Flanders, after an internal audit uncovered fraud with Albanian tenders. He was, however, not criminally prosecuted in a Flemish court.
A spokesperson for the award declared two days ago via email:
“We collected your information and also that of other stakeholders involved in the square in Tirana and with the legal documents that we have received, we have decided to keep this work in the race for the Prize. The documents of the Flemish court have been very important in this decision. Thank you for informing us with your observations to fight against corruption.”
The Mies van der Rohe Award did not respond to any of the allegations of corruption involving the construction of Skënderbeg Square, nor acknowledged to have investigated the matter. Exit has inquired which Flemish court documents were received by the Mies van der Rohe Award, but so far has not received a response.