The first elements of contemporary architecture in the Albanian Alps

The Albanian Alps, with an elevation ranging from 285 m to 2694 m above sea level, like all the high mountain areas, have experienced isolation until recently and consequently, time has stood still there, maintaining a slow development. Until the 1990s, settlements in the mountainous areas were in complete harmony with a cultural landscape and architecture entirely traditional for the time. After the fall of totalitarianism, these areas underwent massive migration due to the difficulties in lifestyle and the lack of services and roads. It was precisely the 50-year totalitarian isolation and the abandonment during the 25-year transition that caused a “pause” in the development of the region, which is also reflected in the architecture of the area. With the exception of 4-5 buildings that try to bring a more contemporary architectural style, the rest remains a continuation of ‘Vernacular Mountain Architecture’. Stone kullas, Albanian term for dwelling in mountainous areas, with their typical vernacular Alpine style, minimalist in form and in perfect harmony with nature, vastly dominate the cultural landscapes of the settlements in the Alps. Sometimes they are found in ruins and degraded by time and sometimes they are grouped together in hamlets or neighborhoods.