New Urban Park in Haskovo

New Urban Park in Haskovo

The city of Haskovo faces the challenge of reusing a vast terrain of former military barracks. Abandoned for nearly a decade, the territory gradually loses many of its built structures and becomes unpleasant, dirty and avoided place. The city’s strategy is to transform the terrain into a new park.

The project is a competition entry designed in collaboration with place.make studio.

The project aims to reinvent the site’s potential as a connector between distinct city areas, diverse people and different times. The various proposed areas enhance the territory’s identity both as a former military unit and as a future city park. We took advantage of the existing. The individual functional areas are inspired precisely by the qualities of each particular place. The landscaping proposals integrate optimal reuse of natural resources – rainwater, timber, solar energy. The proposal preserves some of the anthropogenic assets – structures, building materials, peculiar elements. Thus, the new city park not only combines different places and activities but tells stories and engages the senses.

Sanctuary of the Nymphs and Aphrodite

Sanctuary of the Nymphs and Aphrodite

Local people have worshipped the site of the Sanctuary of the Nymphs and Aphrodite for centuries. Only in recent years, the archaeological research reveals that the site is actually a large and wealthy Roman villa rustica.

How to make this compound archaeological site more communicative, comprehensible and recognisable without being intrusive? How to express the strong connections with the nature? How to interpret the various spatial and functional relations within the complex? How to keep the living traditions? How to intervene in order to protect the ruins and at the same time facilitate the still ongoing archaeological researches?

We developed a strategic project based on the principles of integrity, flexibility, reversibility, accessibility and continuity. Our approach gives priority to the intuitive perceptions of the archaeological complex as a place that one gradually discovers for themselves. We rely on the inborn curiosity of people. All the conservation interventions are limited to the necessary minimum to protect the original structures. A new mirror-clad platform gives a stunning vista to the site and the landscape but also recreates the landmark of the ancient mausoleum nearby. Concrete information elements interpreting stone blocks scattered around the site provide unobtrusive and coherent guidance through the complex. A specially designed movable archaeological station facilitates the work of the archaeologists and acts as a ‘pop-up museum’ that changes its place and content following the archaeological research.

Hajji Valko House

Hajji Valko House

How could one Karlovo living room become a bedroom with a bathroom? What about if it is in a listed building? And if it has windows and a seating platform (or minder) along three of its walls? And murals on all the walls and on the ceiling? And What if all the colours are already there? Where should we put the bathroom?

The House of Hajji Valko is a typical symmetrical Karlovo mid-19th century house with three bedrooms, divana (the large vestibule) and a large representative living room on the upper floor. The aim of the study was to prove the possibility to turn the living room into a guest bedroom without putting at risk the values of the room.

We decided to just add: keeping literally all existing structures and features, preserving the sense of a single space of the large room, providing full reversibility of the intervention. We thought of the bathroom as a piece of furniture, together with a wardrobe and a niche for books. We placed it in the middle of the room. The new structure completely contrasts with the authentic interior but together with that it makes a link with its time – the copper cladding corresponds to the colour scheme of the house, softly reflects all the colours of the room, and makes a reference to the tradition of the National Revival and the oriental wrought copper items.

The Heating Plant

The Heating Plant

The Heating Plant has already been recognised by the independent artists and their audience as an inspiring space for contemporary art forms. This is why we chose to preserve the spirit of the place. The project emphasises the identity of the Heating Plant, which invites the public to meet art and nature at an unusual urban place, to discover unexpected industrial spaces and structures behind and under the hills. A new intervention is proposed, which reflects the tendency of gradual change of cultural centres: from institutions, in which art is “served up” to the public, to hubs for active and spontaneous communication.
The core message of the project is interaction. A new recognisable mass in the complex is introduced, framed by the structure of the industrial hall. Its smooth mirror surface becomes the counterpoint of the hard and rough texture of the old materials. The mass is present and absent at the same time. The mirror interacts spatially with the environment and functionally with what is happening. The image changes with the seasons, with the light and with the events outside. Through the mirror the visitor passes in an alternative world. At the mirror, emotions multiply. In front of the mirror the spectators become performers, and actors become audience.
The design follows the idea of simplicity markedly involving the industrial theme. The interventions are minimal and clear, and showcase the specific charm of industrial spaces. The open areas are flexible and do not determine rigid functions, which allows the place to be constantly redefined by people.
The Heating Plant gains a new visual identity without imposing it. The glare of the mirror attracts and provokes the desire to find out what lies beyond. A new architectural environment is created, where interactions elevate the experience.

 

 

The Triangular Tower of Serdica

The Triangular Tower of Serdica

In the basement of the emblematic in the past “Sofia” store in the very heart of the capital city is the northernmost triangular tower of the fortification system of ancient Serdica. The aim of the project is to rehabilitate a forgotten site and to refurbish it as a space for cultural events and art, while showing the archaeological structures to the public. In the basis of our approach was the nature of the place as an underground space. That is why we left it raw and unvarnished and juxtaposed all the layers of the place – the archaeological ruins, the typical terrazzo flooring of the former shop, and the steel reinforcing structure. We wanted to create an unexpected and exciting space by giving the visitor the adventure of going down under the city, and by using the contrast of light and dark, white and black, smooth and rough.

Buhovo Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene

Buhovo Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene

The Buhovo Monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene is part of the Holy Mount of Sofia, close to the town of Buhovo, near Sofia. It functioned as a monastery for a very short time but it is very popular with the locals, which gather there to celebrate religious feasts with kurbans (sacrificial meals – mutton or white beans soup). And to picnic in the warm months.

It has been known for a long time that the today’s small church is built on top of a large Early Christian basilica. When people started building the church in the end of the 19th century they came across its foundations and as a manifestation of continuity they placed the new church in the basilica’s altar space. Later the basilica has been partially studied. Between 2013 and 2015 Sofia Municipality funded new archaeological research to fully study the Early Christian basilica. Its plan was finally confirmed, and along this, a necropolis from the Late Middle Ages was found as well as interesting artefacts from the near past.

Our aim was to conserve and present the Early Christian basilica and in the same time show the relation between the different historic layers, as well as let the community keep celebrating their feasts.

Our approach is based on honesty and simplicity. We restored the original terrain and showed the layout of the ruins with stone pavement in the grass. By the apse of the church, where we wanted to emphasise on the continuity, we kept the ruins above ground. At the entrance of the basilica and at it southern wall we sink the terrain to reveal the original structures. Thus, we honestly show the nature of the archaeological ruins – something that we find underground. We also showed the original way of entering the basilica by a steel grate platform with stairs above the original entrance. And to let people feel the space of the naos, we interpreted the pillars by using gabions filled with material from the site.

By the church there was a shed in disrepair that people used for seating during the kurbans. We reconstructed it using similar materials – gabions with the original stones from the shed’s fence, timber structure and corrugated sheets for the roofing.

Varna Library

Varna Library

The core concept of the project is communication. A library is a treasury of human knowledge. Gradually the libraries started to evolve adding various new activities to meet the changing needs of society. Varna Library shall honestly reveal this functionality to the city.

The library is designed as a simple building to correspond to the urban context. The resultant architectural form is a fresh reading of the surrounding city matrix uniting both the monumental ambience and the human scale.

The volumes are conceived as a clearly visible accumulation of three key space types: the depository – the keeper of Bulgarian national literature; the literature itself – the general access to the collections of written works; the social environment – the various adaptive services a modern library offers the society.

The functions are organised in a way to allow intuitive orientation, easy connections between the different spaces, and clearly perceptible outdoor-indoor contact.

 

 

 

 

Triumph Pavilion 2016: Energy Pavilion

Triumph Pavilion 2016: Energy Pavilion

Design Concept

The Universe is born from energy. The energy is destined to continuously degrade and fall apart, to move from order to disorder. Thus the mysterious concept of entropy or the measure of disorder appeared.

The architecture of the pavilion visualises a snapshot of the process of how energy spreads out and disperses.

The Energy Pavilion

The Energy Pavilion invites the people to zoom in and experience this universal flow of energy. The spaces created within the structure challenge people to explore different types of interaction. Like the energy changes permanently, our perception of the pavilion also changes as we move towards it.

Fabrication

The Energy Pavilion shall be fabricated out of bamboo poles anchored to an impregnated plywood platform and tied together by steel cables and spacers.

Preston Bus Station

Preston Bus Station

Inspired by the powerful presence of the Preston Bus Station, the design seeks to enhance the existing values and to stimulate the emergence of new qualities giving rise to a fresh unified, flexible, and vibrant space in the city. The project unfolds as a holistic approach to ensure a rather strategic response to the need of synergy and clear identity. The proposal is furthermore driven by the inherent multifaceted duality of the site and seeks diverse ways of its evolving expression on different levels: urban, social, and physical.

Space & Form

The new appearance of the site is conceived as a new topography which: preserves the readability of the ‘solid – void’ in the urban fabric; detects conditions, in which the opposing entities can work together; generates space within space.

The former hard apron for bus manoeuvring responds to its new users – the people. It transforms to a single soft surface – a Public Realm Space that offers high adaptability and free mobility. This undulating surface retains the void space around the Bus Station volume uninterrupted and thus preserves the legibility of its design unity.

Two mounds cover the Youth Zone Plus. The northern one penetrates the station giving the impression that it supports the mass layers of the car park decks, thus keeping the sense of endless horizontality and enhancing the duality ‘rectilinear – curved’. At the same time, the new building emerges as a playful and recognisable feature of the site, visible from a distance, yet showing respect to its surroundings. In addition, the active use of the underground space contributes to the urban and environmental sustainability.

Vitality & Fusion

At this new coherent urban space the scheduled and planned rhythm of the bus services meets the unpredictability of everyday life and the spontaneity of the young people. The public areas are intentionally left spatially unlimited and programmatically blended to allow maximum flexibility and diverse activities.

The continuous curved Public Realm Space introduces the human scale; it flows in and out for better connectivity; it runs over and under the buildings creating unexpected views and perspectives; it challenges people to move, use, and explore. Trees now and then align in rows recalling the layout of the former bus bays; they enter the buildings blurring the boundaries between in and out.

The Youth Zone Plus gives a strong impulse to the dynamics of the site. The courtyards pierced in the surface actively connect it with the public space while providing the required safety.

Materiality & Lightness

Re-reading the duality, the materials speak the same language: solid for the curved surfaces, and transparent for the vertical planar ones. A strictly rectangular grid (following the station’s structural grid) laid over the undulating surface makes the space more readable and perceptible. The rich glazing of the openings brings more light in and allows for unusual views from the exterior disclosing the buildings towards the city.

Bologna Shoah Memorial

Bologna Shoah Memorial

The design idea explores the process of constant transmission of memory from person to person being the strongest force of keeping it alive.

In an era of vast accumulated information the proposal seeks to introduce a new form of memorial – not an introverted monument but a place in a dialogue with the society; not a framed window towards the past but a personal journey of discovery to new values of new generations; not a still interpretation of the facts but a reflection of the act of keeping the memory of the Shoah alive.

The memorial aims at prompting ongoing personal response to the concept of memory, which transmits the everlasting message to each generation to come: pass the memory on to keep it alive! The memorial honours all those who shared their memories of the Shoah in diaries, letters, memoirs, narratives, and
thus kept the memory alive.