The sprawling, space-agey 'pyramid' in the centre of Tirana has cycled through many uses before falling into ruin.
The sprawling, space-age "pyramid" in Tirana's centre had many uses before falling into ruin: built as a museum for a dictator, it later hosted a NATO base, TV studio, nightclub and more.
After years of neglect, the crumbling structure is now set for another rebirth as an IT hub in the heart of Albania's fast-changing capital.
"I don't think there is anyone who thinks it is beautiful. But it's a sort of a landmark of the city, and people want to preserve them in a city that has lost a lot.
The 127,000-square-foot (11,400-square-metre) behemoth has triangular wedges of graffiti-covered marble and dark window panes that meet at a peak, giving it the pyramid look.
For the project's architects, its overhaul is about striking a balance between preserving and reclaiming a relic from a dark period of Albanian history.
The bizarre building was originally erected 30 years ago to glorify the life of former communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who ruthlessly ruled Albania for four decades until his death in 1985.
'Open to everyone'
"We thought there couldn't be a better symbol than giving the building back to Albanian society in its best form, to the kids, for their future education," said Martin Mata, of the Albanian-American Development Foundation, which is funding the more than $10-million (nine-million-euro) renovation.
It is a fitting purpose for a country suffering from high youth unemployment and emigration rates.
Designs revealed last month by Dutch firm MVRDV will open the structure on all sides of the ground floor, bring light into the atrium with more glass, surround it with trees and carve stairs onto its exterior to make the pyramid walls a safer climb.
"The pyramid will be open to everyone" and the building will be nearly "transparent", the chief architect, Winy Maas, said at the presentation in Tirana.
Inside will be a mix of commercial space and a learning centre for youth, run by non-profit group Tumo, offering classes in programming, design and other digital skills.
'Making Albania great again'
For Tirana's mayor, Erion Veliaj, the project is a "story of resurrection" -- for the pyramid and Albania itself.
"Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the start of (Albania's) transition, the question has been how do we make Albania great again?
The pyramid's renovation is part of a dizzying amount of transformation that the country's capital has undergone in recent years.
The changes are raising Tirana's profile on the tourist map.
Its vibrant cafe scene now comes in for praise, as well as the unique hodgepodge of architecture, including Italian fascist buildings, Soviet-style tower blocks, Ottoman-era mosques and, of course, the pyramid.
But not all of city hall's revamps are popular.
A 3,000-year-old carved stone tablet from Babylonia, which promises a curse on those who would destroy it, is to be flown home from Britain after being looted during the Iraq War.
Archaeologists in historic Jamestown are working hard to retrace bits of the life of Angela, who arrived in Jamestown from Africa 400 years ago.
A new world record for a pair of sneakers was set at auction on Tuesday when an avid collector splashed out $437,500 on Nike's 1972 "Moon Shoe," Sotheby's said.
The well-known crime writer Lawrence Block has parlayed that last scenario into two volumes of short stories, the first inspired by works of Edward Hopper and the second, favorite paintings of his authors.
The Bond franchise is one of the movie world's most lucrative, with 2015's "Spectre" raking in $880 million at the box office worldwide, while "Skyfall" in 2012 grossed more than $1 billion globally.
A new exhibition shows a little known side of the late Andrzej Wajda, who was not only an Oscar-winning Polish film and theatre director but also a lifelong visual artist with a love of Japan.