Designing for the periphery /  Learning + Community Center in a Post Covid-19 Era in Tirana, Albania

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Virginia Tech


Last year, the whole world shuttered in a response to COVID -19. While the world population was impacted, significant socio-economical damage resulted in particular regions. In many transition countries comprised of disproportional density of population and services between urban and rural areas, socioeconomic problems were pervasive. In this framework, major importance should be given to services that are needed in these ar-eas. In suburban zones a sizable percentage of the land is not used, and there is a lack of services, educational buildings, and recreational spaces. My main objective is to consider inclusive design in these peri-urban areas, to aid future development while providing a critical facility.

In this context, designing a Learning Center that also provides services offers a possible solution to this prob-lem. Considering the larger scale of educational buildings, students will be able to learn, and apply that learn-ing as an offering to the community. Several functions are combined in the same facility: learning, creating, and practical application.

The proposed design provides a 3-floor building with an inner courtyard and outside pavilions that are con-nected to the underground floor of the building. Serving as both a boundary that offers services to the com-munity and separates it from the school building itself, the building is distributed in three levels for each group of students. While several group ages are combined 10 – 18 years old, they still maintain their independence in two different floors.

On the main floor are the learning spaces are classrooms, reading areas, library, and meeting rooms. The un-derground floor is comprised of workshops where students engage in strategies for creating and making. On the edges of the site facing the city are a series of pavilions serving as an interface between the school and the urban context. Here, students offer services of what they learn to the community.

Additionally, a community center, a cafe, an inner courtyard, a library, a gym, and meeting rooms are open to the public as spaces for the entire community. The building is accessible by the community and learners into two different schedules (8 am – 5 pm for students, 6 pm – 12 pm for community) and turns into an opportuni-ty for the rehabilitation of peripheral urban areas.

The Learning center takes into consideration 5 relationships (a symbol to the community; relationship home/ institution; relationship student/community; relationship indoor/ outdoor; relationship human/ nature) by creating a sustainable building that is connected to nature and serves the community.



Periphery, Learning Center, Community, Nature, Education, Services