Bed and Bunker

Bed & Bunker is an international project conducted as a cooperation between FH Mainz (University of Applied Sciences) in Mainz, Germany and POLIS University (International School of Architecture and Urban Development Policies) in Tirana, Albania.

Bunkers still represent e hot topic in Albania, testimonies of a past not fare enough to be considered history. In the 1970s and 1980s thousands of bunkers of different types were erected for defensive reasons all over the country. Even though they were never used for the purpose that generated them, they never saw a battle, their presence all over the place became strong enough to turn them in the negative symbols of one of the darkest periods of the Albanian history.

The bed and bunker project starts exactly in this delicate period, in a time when an important heritage of Albania is threatened, and of course the typology chosen for the project was the above mentioned semi-spherical bunker, so widespread, so famous but also the most endangered one.
The aim of the project was to re-design and re-functionalize an existing bunker, a leftover from the communist period, by changing its fundamental function from a war shell into a bed & breakfast hostel for backpacker tourists.
The project started in March 2012 at Polis University where students assisted by Albanian and German lectures, made their first design proposals. This was followed by the second phase in Mainz, Germany where the main focus of the groups was to finalize and detail the project. The six months long process was finalized by the third and final implementation phase, again in Albania.
The group project main objective was to generate value by design means.
Students were able to conceptualize, design and build by themselves a fully functional hotel room, inside an old bunker. They were successful in their effort to create something new and original inside a powerful and difficult preexistence.

The material chosen for the project was wood, friendly and natural in opposition to the rude and artificial concrete of the existing bunker. The materials represent both symbolically and functionality the different periods of the bunker.