A Photo-Novel

‘How Things Meet’ takes a retrospective look at the construction of 51N4E’s TID tower in Tirana (ALB) and explores the projects that followed in its wake. In addition, the book marries Falma Fshazi’s short stories about discovering Tirana. Photographs by Stefano Graziani.

‘Tell me where you want to go first. I will tell you the whole story on the way. My generation is well versed in The Palace of Dreams,’ Ont said, a strange pride straightening his back, as though it had shed a few of its years. ‘As for today’s youth, that’s a different story.’

This book – dual-narrative, part photo-novel, part real-life journey – tells a single story from multiple perspectives.  In the first part, Falma Fshazi’s short stories are linked with Stefano Graziani’s photographs. This is the story of a discovery; an encounter with a strange land; beyond East and West; a city, Tirana. The second section takes a retrospective look at the construction of 51N4E’s TID tower, and explores the projects that followed in its wake, from 2004 onwards. It describes the moments, processes and relationships that brought the architects into contact with a culture and a context so different from their own. More than anything, it is a story about embracing otherness, and a contemplation of ‘how things meet’.

This book will be presented during the event ‘Bravoure: contributions from Flanders’ on 27 May 2016, and will be on sale in the bookshop of the International Architecture Biennale in Venice.

“At first Eja was made dizzy
by this city, which simultaneously
seemed like nothing and
everything. Then, the stairs were
surprising: they led down to the
hotel lobby, like an unexpected
turn of events. And now, it was this
question that was confusing.
But Garta, whose beauty could
arrest the attention of even the most
exhausted visitor, would not let it
go: ‘It means ‘come’, ‘come in’, ‘come
closer’ or even ‘welcome!’ A very
welcome invitation, so to speak.’
Deeply tired after more than
24 hours travelling, Eja didn’t
know whether this was something
at which to laugh or weep. For
a few seconds silence flowed
between them, ending when light
flickered in Garta’s eyes and
she said, ‘It’s more like the first,
though.’“ p.3.