Bunkers To Business: How Abandoned Communist Bunkers Are Being Repurposed In Albania by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

Serebral360° found a great read by Forbes – Entrepreneurs article, “Bunkers To Business: How Abandoned Communist Bunkers Are Being Repurposed In Albania.”

Add another layer to your #Business literacy. We at Serebral360° would love to know if the Forbes – Entrepreneurs article was helpful, leave a comment, like and share. Let’s dive in and discuss the information and put it to use to grow your business. #BusinessStrategy #ContentMarketing #WebDevelopment #BrandStrategy
Info@serebral360.com 762.333.1807 www.serebral360.com
Grap a copy of our NEW Business Stratgety Books #FFSS VOL1 and #FFSS VOL2


One of the countless military concrete bunkers or dots in the southern Albania built during the communist government of Enver HoxhaGetty

Littering the Albanian countryside and mountain valleys are hundreds of thousands of little concrete bunkers. These bunkers – bunkerët, were built from the 1960s to the 1980s, during the communist government of Enver Hoxha. Albania had a tumultuous post-war history, alienating all of its potential allies over three decades – first the Yugoslavs, then Soviets, then finally the People’s Republic of China in a series of diplomatic and ideological schisms. Fearing invasion from Yugoslavia, Greece, NATO and even his former ally the Soviet Union, Hoxha was convinced that instead of relying on the partisan tactics that liberated Albania in WWII, he needed to hold the entire country simultaneously. Thus, Hoxha embarked on the policy of “bunkerization” (bunkerizimit) that saw the construction of hundreds of thousands of bunkers across the country. The premise was that, rather than relying on a professional army, every Albanian would take up arms and fortify in their nearest bunker in the event of invasion. But of course, the invasion never came and the cost of constructing the bunkers was a drain on Albania’s resources, both in material goods and the hours needed to plan, construct, and train for the use of bunkers.

The bunkers were abandoned following the end of the communist state, and many are now derelict. But owing to their abundance, many Albanians have found them to be convenient real estate over the decades. Keq Marku Djetroshan – a tattoo artist, has turned a bunker in Shkoder into a tattoo parlour. Located 8km from the Montenegrin border, during the summer clients come from the Adriatic and beyond to visit. ‘I have people come from all over the place. I had one guy today from England,’ he said. For Keq, this odd defence policy has worked out conveniently.

‘I like (my bunker)’ he says, ‘It’s near my house and I can go whenever I want.’

Many bunkers have become part of inner-city playgrounds; becoming pizzerias, bars and even hostels. Their use has led to interest from developers and designers in Albania and abroad. Saimir Kristo, Professor of Architectural Design and the Vice-Dean of POLIS University in Tirana was part of the design team on the ambitious “Bed & Bunker” project.

A research project between POLIS University and FH-Mainz in Germany, “Bed & Bunker” saw professors and students from both institutions working to re-design and re-purpose existing bunkers into bed and breakfast hostels for tourists.

‘Albania is a beautiful country… (and) the bunkers can serve by accommodating tourists. It can host many different functions such as a small museum or exhibition space. The possibilities are limitless,’ says Saimir.

…The economic potential of the unused bunkers in my opinion is incredible. Not only for the purpose of converting singular bunkers into functional spaces used by individuals, but due to their high number, they can present other values to Albania internationally,’ says Saimir.

Albanian-Canadian architect and curator Elian Stefa embarked on a similar project to “Bed & Bunker”, publishing ‘Concrete Mushrooms’, which features conceptual proposals and a step-by-step guide for converting derelict bunkers.

The growth of this ‘re-bunkerization’ is understandably directed at tourism – an Albanian economic success story of recent years. Experiencing exponential growth at the turn of the decade, and continuing to grow significantly today, the prolific nature of Albania’s bunkers mean that readily adaptable infrastructure exists across the country’s many natural attractions.

However, the viability of such a scheme on a large scale has been questioned. Between strife from the end of communist rule and the 1997 crisis stemming from disastrous unregulated pyramid schemes, many of Albania’s bunkers have been looted, vandalized or destroyed.

Despite this, Professor Kristo is optimistic for future bunker preservation and development ‘It’s a pity some of them are being destroyed mostly to sell for scrap by random individuals. There should be measures taken to protect them, map them, and initiate plans to revitalise them. Bunkers are quite controversial structures due to what they represented in the past. Nevertheless, we managed to convert former symbols of war and closure for Albania into symbols of peace and hospitality,’.

Since April 2016, BUNK’ART, a former bunker for Hoxha and his associates, has been made permanent. The conversion from a massive bunker into a history and contemporary art museum now hosts exhibitions and is a highlight of Tirana.


January 7, 2019 at 03:28PM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccabanovic/2019/01/07/bunkers-to-business-how-abandoned-communist-bunkers-are-being-re-purposed-in-albania/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/
http://bit.ly/2CMy7Yu