Architects of Albania Anila Mandro
I have completed my studies at the Polytechnic University of Tirana, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture of Tirana in Urban Profile. I have 16 years of professional experience in project design and research. It is understood that achieving the best it takes many years and all this, we express our managerial, coordinating and creative spirit in our office, AGMA studio. I refer to our studio because I am colleague with my husband, who is an architect. Understandably it is a challenge to have a husband who is at the same time is your colleague despite the fact that he often tells me “You’re lucky”. The studio was structured in 2007 and since than has build a strong history in the field of planning and urban design. We operate and design with standards by managing every project where each has a unique identity, with a complex feasibility to match client and market demand.
Why did you choose Architecture? What was the spark that led you to this profession?
To be honest I don’t even know. When I was in high school it was time to think about university and I was very confused about where to apply. Among friends we were expressing our interests for different universities and when it came to architecture, they always said to me “” …Anila you should be an architect because you draw very well’’. “I didn’t know much about architecture but I just didn’t want it only because of the fact I was good at drawing, but I wanted for some more than… My family has been one of my strong supporters for me to continue this profession. Now I can say that I had a spark…. My mum would have definitely been a great architect, I say I inherited it from her. I grew up and got educated about this very creative, intense but wonderful profession. The emotion you get from designing is indescribable, the inspiration comes very naturally, from a song, from a good work done by a colleague, from a sculpture or painting. I love challenges, problem solving, but understand me it’s a pleasure to experience the happiness and joy of clients by making them part of the design to the point where they see it become a reality.
How do you think about architecture and what is your project that best represents you?
I remember in the early days of school where professors tried to explain us what architecture is. Is it art? Science? Mathematics? Technology? or Business? And I tried to find the answer in their work’s descriptions. We are used to defy it according to classic lessons as a combination of sustainability, functionality and aesthetics, but it is much more than that, it is a passion is an inner calling that resonates from within and lives with you, breathes with you, that becomes happy or sad together with you!
The balanced integration of this artistic sensitivity together with the scientific methodology and their application creates an excellent architecture.
Continuing the struggle to understand Architecture as a challenge helps all of us as architects to be honest. It should be treated as a profession that helps the community and nature. All emotions are reflected in as a powerful art that stands before us as a permanent expression of society’s values at a certain point in time.
Often when designing, we need to effectively analyze the organization of elements, building materials, details, functionality of a set of criteria, these are the characteristics that makes the object, more sustainable and well-liked.
What advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your career, also valid to young architects or girls / women who want to become architects?
Being a profession that I feel it more than I love it, I would continue to advise myself and not only just girls and women but anyone who wants to become an architect.
Architecture is about our well-being so we have to work hard and responsibly. Being dedicated to your career is an important factor in any profession, but with architecture, you have to be ready for more time, extended studio hours, sleepless nights, all reflected on paper. Architecture has its own language and not everyone can understand it. Whenever we happen to be in front of a painting or sculpture to understand the meaning of the author, the same thing happens to us and so it is a challenge on those sleepless nights to clarify those ‘’lines’’ as the client often calls them.
The profession requires practice and experience and to fully understand the pleasure of this experience requires recognition, in the form of attention to detail and understanding of these objects. Therefore it is very important to learn to appreciate an architectural object to understand the style, strength, durability, functionality, materials used, social development at the time it was built, etc., and when we have achieved this we say that we have gained the right to to be called an architect, that we are not only capable but also an added asset to this profession. I think we need to increase women’s contribution to the profession by promoting models, encouraging respect, diversity and equality in practice. The inspiration we feel from everything in this world, the tranquility that characterizes us, enables to solve many problems in new and unique ways, and at the same time inspire them for their creative solutions.
I would list some projects that each have their own particularity that express the time they were built.
Among them I would mention the shortlisted individual Hoxha Villa in the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van Der Rohe Award.
Awarded in BIG SEE ARCHITECTURE AWARD 2019.
Below are two villas that are in the process of construction.
1- EK House a residential villa built in Armath of Durres. The main idea of the project is to create a building with two clearly volumes, in shape and material, that connect to themselves by emptying them like a sculpture, using double yards and heights.
The villa has two floors, where on the ground floor are distributed functions according to its orientation. The first floor contains the collective program of home, living room, toilet, TV room, laundry, cooking area, technical facilities. The night area is located on the second floor of the villa with west and east orientation, spacious with natural light, suite-type rooms with wardrobes and private toilets, children’s bedroom, relaxing environment. Staircase cage with concrete construction and structural glass coatings has the highest level access to rooftop which is also usable. It’s location makes it possible to make full use of natural light The durable materials applied to Villa makes it warm and full of life.
2.Located on the highest point of a hill in the village of Petrele, Mera house is an existing unfinished house built in 2010. The existing architecture represented by massive stone walls, which is related to the natural beauty that Petrele village offers. According to our home remediation we tried to connect the original structure very naturally to the proposals for constructive, functional and aesthetic improvement. Now they have created a large living space with a wooden roof structure with anthracite aluminum panel coatings. A lounge area with high floor to ceiling windows on the ground floor and a cooking area ensure that everyone has their own space.
All villa rooms accomplish design norms in the best way. They are designed by efficiently utilizing natural daylighting, facade coatings with elements that minimize energy losses, seismic conditions thus meeting the investor’s requirements.