10 de febrer del 2015

bed & bunker in Albania

BED & BUNKER is a project developed by students as part of their course work. The goal is to rebuild one bunker-prototype as a minimal housing for tourists without grave changes to the bunker. This way, the bunker is more than an alternative to campgrounds.

Who is behind all this? 10 students of the FH Mainz, University of applied sciences and 11 students of the POLIS University Tirana, Iva Shtrepi, who achieved her diploma at FH Mainz, Prof. M. Pretnar, Prof. B. Benninghoff, professors at FH Mainz Prof. E. Marku, Prof. E. Barjami, professors at POLIS University Tirana.

How many bunkers will be rebuilt? Our goal is to rebuild one bunker-prototype in our research project.

When will the first bunker be accomplished? We rebuilt and transformed the bunker between the 7th and the 20th of September 2012. Our plan was to have a big opening-ceremony on the 21th of September. But for unclear reasons and circumstances we had to stop our work and leave Tale at the 20th of September. The reconstruction of our bunker was nearly completed. The Big Opening Party on the 21th of September didn’t take place and the BED&BUNKER-bunker is currently neither available nor usable as originally planned. We regret this deeply and are still hoping that the bunker won’t be destroyed but respected as it is and the public somehow “takes care”.

Who had the idea for this project? The cause for this project is the diploma thesis of a student, born and grown up in Tirana, who studied interior architecture at the FH Mainz. Iva Shtrepi was very engaged in researching the built devises of the communism in Albania, in this case the air raid shelters which are spread all over the country. She suggests to use the bunkers and redesign and rebuild them to give them a new use for the individual tourism in Albania.

What are the rebuilt bunkers supposed to offer? We rebuilt a weather-resisting minimal-housing for tourists without grave changes to the bunker. This way, the bunker is more than an alternative to campgrounds.

Who is the owner of the bunkers? The bunkers belong to the country (Albania). When they are placed on private ground, the owner of the land has the right to use them.

How is the project financed? The money, used for the project, comes mostly from the advancement from the DAAD. Other supporters you find here.

Who is going to administer the bunkers afterwards? Our prototype is supposed to advert to other possibilities to use the bunkers. This is meant in equal measure for (individual-) tourists and the Albanian population. The target of our project is to show how attractive the bunkers are for housing and to get the ball for reusing the bunkers rolling.

Where is Albania and how large is the country? Albania is laying at the western Balkan states between Montenegro and Kosovo in the north, Macedonia in the east, Greece in the south and it has about 2.8 Mio. inhabitants.

Why do the bunkers exist? In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of thousands of bunkers of different types were built in Albania for defending the country. The feared invasion never came and the bunkers were never used. Now the mostly round concrete buildings are embossing the characteristic landscape from the mountains to the sea and forming attractive viewpoints.


How many bunkers are existing? About 400.000 bunkers. This number means all kind of bunkers, big or small ones, underground or in the mountains etc. The number of our chosen bunker-type is actually about 2.500.

How are the bunkers spread in the country? The bunkers were placed at strategic important points with a good overview – no matter if in the mountains, in the fields or at the sea. Some of them are placed in regions which are hardly or not at all reachable by car. For hikers and bikers they are reachable. Our type of bunker is predominantly placed at the sea.

What kind of relationship do Albanians have to the bunkers? On the one hand they connect the bunkers with the war and a bit of fear. For them they were built as a place for protection in case of attack from the invader. On the other hand they nowadays mostly consider the bunkers familiar and they are accustomed to them because the bunkers are nearly everywhere, so they are “nothing special”. Albanians are intrigued with the concept-idea of reusing the bunkers because the bunkers are currently only existing and don’t have a special function yet.

What impressions do tourists have of the bunkers? For tourists the bunkers are fascinating and interesting. They are inviting to discover them. Because they are spread all over the country and often accessible for everyone, they don’t seem threatening. They are an important optical aspect of the Albanian landscape.


BED & BUNKER project
FH Mainz, University of Applied Sciences
POLIS University Tirana

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