architecture: public buildings

National Academy of Fine Arts

Sofia, Bulgaria

Building type:
Extension and Renovation project
Surface: Renovation (6,000 m2) and Extension (20,000 m2)
Competition: First Prize in National Competition
Project: 2017

The project is located in the historical part of the center of Sofia amid the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the National Library, the University of Sofia, the Parliament, and the Academy of Sciences. All these somewhat separated and yet very important buildings will now become united around the Academy of Fine Arts to form a harmonious urban composition or the “Acropolis” of Sofia.

The existing 100-year-old red building is preserved as a cultural monument and is integrated into the whole composition as a small “architectural pearl”. The building’s inner core is constructed of a succession of green areas, as the old trees, witnesses of the Academy’s history, are preserved in this space.

The spectacular 60-meter-long metal and glass bridge stretches over both faculties and is accessible by two separate glass elevators. It offers a scenic view of the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral. The bridge can turn into the next meeting spot for people of different horizons who could appreciate this exceptional panoramic view.

The National Academy of Fine Arts future building keeps the tradition of the most prestigious Bulgarian establishment of higher education for art with its 110 years of history and 1,200 students. At the same time, it represents a new cultural and civic center with its museum, art gallery, and restaurants.

While the whole building is oriented toward the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral through immense “urban windows”, the roof seeks to unify the different parts of the building and symbolizes a flight toward spirituality and perfection.