There are reportedly over 750,000 abandoned concrete bunkers scattered throughout Albania, remnants of Communist dictator Enver Hoxha and his policies of paranoid xenophobia. Now graduate students Gyler Mydyti & Elian Stefa have developed a plan called Concrete Mushrooms that would ‘invert the meaning’ of these structures by turning them into a network of habitable eco-hostels, cafés, gift shops and more.
Though still in the proposal stage, the Concrete Mushrooms project is a comprehensive plan not only for transforming Albania’s concrete bunkers into economic assets, but also for reclaiming the structures symbolically. Not unlike the creators of Das Parkhotel in Austria, Mydyti and Stefa hope to take what many consider a liability destined for the landfill, and transform it into an innovative, useful resource.
According to their detailed, 105-page proposal, there are three major sizes of bunkers scattered across three different types of territories. By methodically choosing qualified structures and systematically assigning different functions to them based on size and location, the network of tourist services could support a burgeoning Albanian tourist trade and help create jobs throughout the country.