After the war in Kosovo (1997-1999), people migrated to cities because of lost homes and jobs. Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, doubled in population between 1998 and 2000 which led to random and unplanned development which, in turn, led to disorder. It was a time when zoning control could not be easily implemented.
People migrating from small villages had little or no experience in living together in a dense urban setting. Building on top of existing apartments, fencing in community gardens for personal use and the random construction of new apartment buildings led to overwhelming urban disarray.
The problem of Prishtina will be difﬁcult to solve as there are many political and economic steps that need to be taken before changes take hold. Through an improved planned building environment, the new generation can be educated so it can make a difference in the future. Adopting a rather small section of the city to create a governmentally owned department for Urban Planning and Architecture that will utilize the urban culture and traditional architecture will inﬂuence the urban development for the rest of Prishtina.
In contrast to the lack of forethought in the architecture of Prishtina, in Suzhou, Chinese-American architect I.M.Pei designed a museum that embodies the traditional language of architecture through contemporary technologies and materials. Using the essence of Suzhou style and the traditional Chinese garden - while innovating and planting them in the 21st century…Su-style is embodied in the architecture’s merging with Suzhou’s traditional architecture and feeling of humanity while creativity mainly is presented in the materials. This museum was designed through the lens of the traditional Suzhou architecture, while using modern materials.....
Another example of traditional inﬂuence is the cultural center in Noumea, New Caledonia, which was inspired by old Kanakian huts. The architect, Renzo Piano used similar materials and created shapes that evoke the huts in Noumea. Piano’s main concept was inspiredby New Caledonian vernacular architecture but was modiﬁed to be environmentally efﬁcient at a much larger scale. These traditional huts have a cone-like shape, with the sides bulging out. This particular shape is a very efﬁcient way to break the wind. Piano used the same idea for the cultural center, except this shape is cut in half to let more ventilation into the building.
The Tjibaou Cultural Center embodies the past, present, and future. New architecture in Prishtina could adopt similar principles of form and material to reference the Kosovar vernacular architecture and create a more ecological building system to reinforce the national identity. Prishtina could also adopt different typologies of local architecture to utilize the history of the place by bonding them in contemporary methods. “It is necessary to distinguish at the outset between critical regionalism and the simplistic evocation of a sentimental or ironic vernacular.”
So how can architects and planners utilize the traditions and cultures of Prishtina? Is it by recreating the past with the same manners of construction, form, and material or by evoking the old through new technologies? So what is important for the Kosovar national identify, is it the form, materials, texture or is the pattern of lifestyle.