Maks Velo (31.08.1935 – 07.05.2020) architect, painter, writer, was born in Paris from Albanian parents. After his birth, the Velo family returned to Albania, to the city of Korça, where Maks spent his childhood. After graduating from high school, he continued his studies at the Polytechnic University of Tirana, Civil Engineering Department. He specialized in architecture and in 1960 took part in the first project that took place in Tirana.

His contribution to architecture is atypical in relation to the time and place where the works were built with his projects. The years ’78 -’79 were the most difficult period of his life, as during this time, he was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison for modern trends in architecture and art, and as a result were burned 250 works of his. Maks Velo persecution and punishment lasted for 18 years, from 1973 to 1991 when he was acquitted.

For a long time he naturally become the most interesting professional public figure in the country, a strong representative of opinion in architecture. His projects in the 1960s and 1970s became the beginnings of a modern and innovative architecture that strongly opposed the neoclassical formalisms of the regime of that time.

Residential building near Hotel Tirana (The Building with Cubes)
The special quality of his works, as well as the mental opposition he made to the narrow-minded of the communist dictatorship, made him spend a long part of his life in isolation. For these strong reasons, the Association of Architects of Albania, in 2019, honored him as the first architect to receive the “Master in Architecture” Award.
Lapraka Cinema

Maks Velo, with the dynamism and depth of thought that he had about architecture, urbanism, art, but also about different cultural themes in general, will be a good model for every architect and intellectual in our country. Maks was always the first one to perceive and never hesitate to talk about hot topics and express his opinion whenever he was given the opportunity. In his last speech at the “Share” Conference, he demanded that the debate on architecture in Albania be more lively. He himself was a passionate of architecture and was not absent from any activity or exhibition architects organized, he was one of the first to come to the forefront. SHASH, this year, was waiting to realize with him, and together with the Association of Architects of Kosovo, an exhibition in Pristina, dedicated to his work and that of Petraq Kolevica. We are sorry that he could not make it, to be in an activity that he wanted and expected with great pleasure.

"Mechanical Factory", Peshkopi

Max Velo has always been, in every discussion, extremely far-sighted and very accurate in his attitudes regarding the thoughts on architectural heritage, cultural values, as well as on the urban planning of our cities. The case of defending the National Theater of Albania recently, or any previous public statement and speech, has been extremely clean, uncontaminated by politics, economic benefit or any other ideology, except for the public welfare and the conservation of the values of our cities. We think that it will take a long time to have such a brilliant figure among us, an artist and architect of this dimension with a powerful voice.

The building of the former ATSH

We inherit today important works designed by him or in collaboration with other architects, such as:

– Great Lake Park, Tirana and small recreational lodges in it.

– “Emin Duraku” School, Tirana

– Residential building near Hotel Tirana (The Building with Cubes)

– The building of the former ATSH, Tirana

– Former hotel “Arbana”, Tirana

– Lapraka Cinema, Tirana

– “Pionieri” Cinema , Tirana

– “Mechanical Factory”, Peshkopi, etc.

Emin Duraku School

Source: www.shash.eu & maksvelo.com

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