Mushroom hotel room

Albania’s Enver Hoxha ruled from 1945 to 1985 and towards the end made North Korea’s Kim Jong-il look normal. Being a bit paranoid, he constructed an extraordinary three quarters of a million mushroom-shaped bunkers. That presents a lot of opportunity for creative repurposing and reuse.


Fabrizio Gallanti of Abitare shows some of the more interesting ones; some have been turned into restaurants, used for making wine, and even a sustainable eco-resort.


Mushroom bunker turned into a restaurant and bar

There is even a non-profit organization dedicated to their preservation and adaptation:

The purpose of Concrete Mushrooms is to understand and develop the bunkers as assets for Albania. The founding principles of the project are: 1. A critical approach to these bunkers as symbols of xenophobia in order to invert their meaning and change then into symbols of hospitality. 2. The preservation of the bunkers in terms of their link to the memory of an important period of the Albanian history. 3. The recognition of the bunkers as a resource instead of as a burden. 4. The promotion of a sustainable eco-touristic sector in Albania.


Mushroom hotel exterior


Mushroom bunkers

Concrete Mushrooms Preview – Albania’s 750,000 inherited bunkers. from Concrete Mushrooms on Vimeo.

A 25-minute investigative report which explores the evolution and history of the bunkers, recounted by Albanians who dealt with and lived during the period the bunkers were being built.

Via Treehugger