The Albanian landscape is littered with unfinished structures, but why?

Albania’s concrete skeletons

Traveling through Albania, from Shkoder to Vlore, the rules of the road (or lack thereof) did not inspire a lot of confidence. Roundabouts appeared without notice. Donkeys, baby carriages, and old ladies wove in and out of fast moving cars. And a third, unmarked traffic lane mysteriously appeared in the centre of the highway. To combat the fear induced by this ‘organized chaos’, I fixed my gaze out the passenger window to the landscape. A curious pattern emerged: scattered unfinished buildings appeared every couple of hundred metres along the highway. A parade of cadaverous structures. Some of them were inhabited, others completely unused, and others still under construction.

A little research revealed the reasons for this unusual epidemic. Many of the concrete skeletons date from the 90s, when a series of nationwide pyramid schemes created a building boom that left many constructions incomplete. In the mid-1990s Albania was transitioning from a state-controlled economy to a capitalist market economy. The relative naiveté of Albanians in the face of large-scale financial investment led to a speculative mania, wherein many invested in what turned out to be pyramid schemes: companies without assets attracting investors by offering high returns.

After the fall of Communism in Albania in 1991, there was a lack of government regulation accompanying the introduction of private property: it became a kind of free-for-all. Based on their presumed riches, Albanians began constructing across the country. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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