Casanova+Hernandez architects | A127_House Museum Ismail Kadare


A127_House Museum Ismail Kadare

Gjirokastra, Albania

Concept: Reading Kadare’s Birth House

The museum is located in the house where Ismail Kadare passed his childhood in Gjirokastra and is focused on presenting to the public a kaleidoscopic vision of the childhood of the writer, his birth house, the city of Gjirokastra and a particular period during the Second World War.

Chronicle in Stone is the book written by Ismail Kadare that serves as a vehicle to guide visitors throughout the museum, linking the different spaces of the house to some episodes of his childhood and to his perception of Gjirokastra and the Albanian society during the Italian occupation.

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The birth house of Ismail Kadare hides many stories related to the personal biography of Ismail Kadare that have been narrated in the book Chronicle in Stone. The concept of the museological and architectural project is to connect the physical space of his birth house with the non-physical descriptions of his childhood and of the house itself narrated in the book.

Museological concept / Multilayered information

Reading Kadare’s Birth House is a rich and versatile museological concept that provides a multilayered understanding of its figure. Some of the layers of information provided to the public though the permanent exhibition are:

1. Biographical information about his childhood, friends, relatives, and the first books read by Kadare that influenced his literary career afterwards.

2. Information about the typical traditional house, its parts, its use and the way Kadare’s family inhabited it.

3. Information about Gjirokastra, its urban structure, singular buildings, and main public places.

4. Historical information related to World War Two in Gjirokastra and to the role of Albania, before, during and after the war.

5. Social information related to the social relations in pre-modern Albania.

6. Political information related to the fight of the Partisans against the fascism.

7. Literary information related to the narrative style that Kadare used in Chronicle in Stone.

Aims of the museological project

The museological project aims to create a museum that is:

Subjective Museum instead of an objective one.

The House Museum Ismail Kadare, far from providing an objective interpretation of the childhood of the author and the history of Gjirokastra, presents a subjective interpretation written by Kadare himself.

Narrative Museum instead of a descriptive one.

The permanent exhibition of the House Museum Ismail Kadare, far from presenting a chronological or thematic description, is conceived as a narrative interpretation inspired by the narrative of the novel.

Self interpretative Museum

The exhibition, instead of listing, describing or analysing the literary work of Ismail Kadare, immersed visitors in one of his novels allowing them to live the literature in the first person.

Poetic Museum

Far from neutral and generic, the museum presents chapters in a poetic and particular way being inspired by the figures of speech used by Ismail Kadare in his writings.

Museum as a collection of memories

Museums are often conceived as collections of artefacts, but House Museum Kadare is conceived as a collection of memories and ephemeral moments.

Museum with Bottom-Up vision

Many museums present a top-down vision of a specific subject, but the House Museum Kadare is focused on a series of small and particular details that offers a bottom-up vision.

Human Museum

House Museum Kadare is focused on stories of particular people and how those people live in Gjirokastra in a certain specific episode of the history of Albania.

Sensorial Museum

The episodes of the book are interpreted with recreations that provide sensorial experiences such as the visual and spatial perception of rooms and elements of the house, the touch, and smell of objects or the sounds or music of specific chapters of the book.

Audio guide as a complementary experience

The museum experience is enriched by the audio guide that narrates fragments of the book related to the exhibition spaces. Sounds and music provide atmospheric backgrounds to the stories that merge narrative and spaces.

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World Bank / Municipality of Gjirokastra / Albanian Development Fund (ADF)
Definitive phase delivered
774 m2