MVRDV - Albania’s tallest building, MVRDV’s Downtown One, tops out in Tirana

Albania’s tallest building, MVRDV’s Downtown One, tops out in Tirana


MVRDV’s Downtown One tower has topped out in Tirana, Albania. Standing 140 metres tall, the 37-storey project is now Albania’s tallest building, and celebrates the country’s progress with its distinctive façade, featuring a relief pattern of cantilevered houses and offices that form a pixelated map of Albania.

The skyscraper hosts commercial spaces at its base, and is otherwise split equally with offices in its lower half and apartments above. The overall building takes a simple rectangular form, but it is animated by the cantilevers and recesses on its main façades. Together creating the shape of Albania, these “pixels” each represent a location within the country, a village or town that will allow residents to identify their home by reference to the geography of the Albania: somebody will live in the ‘Tirana pixel’, somebody else in the ‘Durrës pixel’, and so on.

The importance of the cantilevers is not only iconographic; for occupants of the building, the projecting bay windows offer spectacular panoramic views of the city and the mountains, while the terraces created enable communication and connection between residents to give the feeling of a vertical village.

With a floor area of 77,000 square metres, Downtown One will give the centre of Tirana an important boost through the mix of apartments, shops, offices, and restaurants. The building is close to Skanderbeg Square, at the very heart of Tirana, and is turned to face the square and provide a highly visible celebration of its location.

Downtown One was designed for Kastrati Construction, a company of Kastrati Group, alongside local co-architect DEA Studio. Completion of the building is expected in 2024. The tower is just a short distance from the Pyramid of Tirana, another project by MVRDV which will transform the face of Albania’s capital city. The Pyramid, which also recently began construction, will transform a brutalist building originally designed as a showpiece for Communist dictator Enver Hoxha into an education centre and a new hub for Tirana's cultural life.

Learn more about the design of Downtown One here.