The plans, envisioned for many years, to provide future headquarters for the Ivanaj Foundations’ in Tirana became a reality this year. Based on an approved license and several architectural drawings’ possibilities and alternatives, the actual physical work started on our premises during January and it is now ongoing, with a deadline of the new building’s completion by June 2016.
As previously mentioned, the demolition of the old structures had to be carried out to make room for the new edifice. They were systematically dismantled bit by bit and it was a poignant sight to see the original, 75 years old, Ivanaj residence become a stack of large chunks of concrete!
When it was built in the mid 1930’s it was only one of three villas in the newest part of Tirana, which is now very much part of the city center. It consisted of a large basement, and two above ground floors comprising 14 rooms, one of which was a 15 meter long library.
Its history is a long one. It was built with great and loving care by two brothers, who poured onto it all their savings and hopes while they dedicated their lives to build a modern Albania, but it was enjoyed by the Ivanaj family for only a mere one and half years. The ravages that started with WWII devastated the family and all of its properties for over half a century, as documented elsewhere in this web site.
During this infamously long period of time the Ivanaj residence was occupied first by the General Headquarters of the Italian Army that invaded Albania in 1939. At war’s end and after the total expropriation of all private ownerships by the Communist regime that followed in the 1950’s, it served many other functions. It was used by the Hungarian Embassy during the 1960’s, and from the 1970’s onward, until 2009, it was employed exclusively by the Albanian Government for its own state and military purposes. It housed the Directorate of State Security, known as the Sigurimi (secret police agency), training facilities for military personnel (that included a gym and a cafe`), a dozen garages for top government cars, a mechanical shop to maintain them, and the offices of the Guards of the Republic.
As described in previous postings, in the past couple of years, after the property was finally re-possessed by the rightful Ivanaj heir in 2009, a few rooms in a wing of the original house accommodated the temporary quarters of the Ivanaj Foundations. Quite a few projects were conducted there, especially during the 2012 Albania’s centenary.
These offices have now being folded and stored during the new construction, but the Ivanaj Foundations remain active nevertheless, and all their plans are maintained and progressing toward the ultimate defined goals.
Stay tuned for our updates that will follow as we go along!