On the request of the Tirana municipality, the National Territorial Council (KKT) has approved a permit for the restoration of Tirana’s pyramid.
For years now, Tirana mayor Erion Veliaj has been promising the restoration of the Pyramid and a change of its function, but KKT only now has granted the permit.
In December 2016, to facilitate the modification, restoration, or destruction of the Pyramid, the Rama government transferred ownership of the building from the Ministry of Culture to the Tirana municipality. If before decisions on the Pyramid needed to be taken by the government as a whole, now they are exclusively the prerogative of mayor Erion Veliaj.
According to the Decision of the Council of Ministers (VKM), the dilapidated structure will lose its former designation and be used by the Municipality of Tirana as a “multifunctional center for the organization of social events and the promotion of art, culture, and technology.”
The next step was taken in April 2017 when the Pyramid was left out of Tirana’s legally protected “Historical Center.”
Veliaj has promised that the Pyramid would “be transformed into one of the biggest centers for innovation, technology, art, and culture in the region.”
The project for its reconstruction will be designed by one of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s favorite architects, Winy Maas, without any public discussion, procedure, or transparency.
In January 2017, the Dutch MVRDV architect was part of an event organized by the Tirana municipality to discuss the reconstruction of the Pyramid.
In June 2018, it was announced that MVRDV received the tender for the reconstruction project though no public competition was held.
The MVRDV official website initially noted that the Pyramid project was for a Tirana municipality project (thus, a public project that must undergo public procurement legislation) and cost an “undisclosed amount” of money. This is visibly in opposition to the law, as the amount of money should have been made public.
As Exit News has written before, the solution to the “problem” of legally mandated public competition, was changing the client from the Tirana municipality to the Albanian-American Development Foundation(AADF), a private fund not subject to public procurement or transparency legislation, while completely erasing any reference to costs. This is how the project now appears on the MVRDV website.
In May 2018, Veliaj, alongside Rama and AADF, presented the Pyramid project, announcing that it would be used as a space where children and teenagers would learn how to code.
Two years later, no other information is known regarding the project that will transform the Pyramid. How much the reconstruction will cost, what the municipality will pay for it, whether there will be a public tender or whether the municipality will once again use the same old manoeuvres to sidestep competition to select “the usual clients.”