In 2013, the Albanian Ministry of Culture envisioned a plan to improve the national cultural infrastructure, paying special attention to the renovation of existing historical buildings, reusing them with a new cultural program. One of the first projects included in this program is the Marubi National Photomuseum, which is specially important due to its pioneer character. The plan to create the museum has enjoyed an enormous national repercussion because of the historical importance of exhibiting the photographic legacy created during more than one century by three generations of photographers from the Marubi family. But also, because preserving and disseminating Marubi’s work in a historical city as Shkodër acquires a strong symbolic significance that will help to promote the Albanian national identity, specially among new generations.
The selected design for the Marubi Museum developed by Casanova+Hernandez architects aims to promote a rich dialogue between tradition and modernity, between the past and the present. The legacy of the tradition is underlined by restoring the historical building designed by the famous Albanian painter, sculptor, photographer and architect born in Shkodër, Kolë Idromeno, while preserving its spatial and structural qualities without any volume transformation or new interior partitions.
Conceptually, Idromeno’s building becomes an important “object” of the exhibition to be shown, contemplated and visited.
A modern image associated to the new museographic program is achieved by installing five “functional boxes”, which are prefabricated and detached from the original building, working as pieces of furniture or sculptural elements. Tradition and modernity establish a dialogue in every corner of the building. At the exterior of the museum, a showcase element works as a landmark that indicates the museum entrance; in the interior of the building, the original windows and spatial qualities of the building dialogue with the exhibition boxes; and in the courtyard, the old building coexists with a new modern and sculptural back facade.