Epoka University Architecture School building is featured on ‘Elements of Architecture”: a series of 15 books accompanying the exhibition ‘Elements of Architecture’ at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.
elements of architecture / wall
‘Epoka University Student Center Building, Tirana, Albania: the walls of the Epoka University Student Center Building use brick in unusually inventive ways. They are not only used bare-faced throughout but also rotated in different directions to reveal their different faces and even their perforated interior structure. In the walls separating class rooms from the hallways, one type of brick is used in three different orientations: standing, exposing its large face’ next to that two bricks of the same type are laid horizontally, one with its small face exposed, the other rotated sideways by 90 degrees so that tis internal grid of air cavities becomes visible. In this orientation the size of the brick defines the depth of the wall’ the air cavities penetrate all the way through, connect the spaces on either side physically – they allow our gaze to pass, as well as air and sound. The bricks are not laid to from a flush wall, but stick out in a variable pattern to give a sculptural dimension. In other parts of the central hall, you find four of eight larger bricks sticking out of the wall, with their closed face exposed, grouped together to form a surface large enough to be used as supports to hang large plans of architectural projects. In this way, the brick laying techniques always tell a story of the brick and how it makes a wall, but aslo modulate the morphology of the wall to make it usuable for various kinds of micro-programs. Designed by Zambak and CoRDA (Center of Research and Design in Architecture, at Epoka University, Tirana, Albania).’ by Andreas Ruby
elements of architecture / floor
‘The floor of the Epoka University Student Center in Tirana, Albania, designed by Zambak and CoRDA (Center of Research and Design in Architecture), is treated like a painting. Materialized from two different types of marble, white and dark green, the two stone colors compose a repetitive pattern that reads on first sight as only two-dimensional. From the upper level though, the pattern starts to gain three-dimensional depth, hinting at the staging capacity of the space as an exhibition venue for student design projects as well as the main circulation of the building. Because of the iconographic intensity of the Escher-like pattern tattooed on the floor you can sense this staging capacity even when there is no exhibition installed. The floor actually features two images: one is the graphic pattern produced by the two differently colored stones, but because the marble is polished, it also produces a reflective image of the hall’s interior superimposed on the intrinsic figuration of the stone. The optical effervescence of the floor’s reflective surface is further increased by the fact that all the other material finishes are highly tactile – the rough concrete of the ceiling, the earthy touch of the bricks building the wall. The floor, even though forming but one element of the structure, conditions the perception and performance of the entire building.’ by Andreas Ruby.