urban planning

Renovation of the Historical District of the City of Sofia - Evlogy and Hristo Georgievi Boulevard (Zone 1)

Sofia, Bulgaria

Description: Sofia’s historical city center renovation
Competition: First Prize in National Competition
Project: 2014

The area along Evlogi and Hristo Georgievi Blvd. between Eagle Bridge (Orlov Most) and Friendship Bridge (Most na Druzhbata) is one of the biggest connecting arterial roads in the center of Sofia. In its core are Perlovska River and its adjoining green areas. They are of a great importance for the capital city but nowadays their huge potential is not used because of unsolved communication problems, permanent traffic jams as well as the neglected look of the water areas and the park environment.

Historically this area is of a great importance for the city and therefore it is declared a cultural monument. In 1963, following a project from professor arch. Lyuben Tonev, begins the shaping of the so-called “green necklace” of Sofia – wide grass areas along Evlogi and Hristo Georgievi Blvd. According to the spatial design the area on both sides of the river was envisaged to be grassed over, the deciduous tree vegetation to prevail, and art sculptures as well as bronze statues of historical persons to be placed. Along these lanes, following the historical traditions, the existing vegetation is fully preserved and at the same time enriched with some new kinds to form a compositional integrity.

In front of the main entrance of the Vasil Levski National Stadium will be place the vast monumental Sport Square. It is flanked by 28 tall pylons with the flags of the European Union member countries. Here celebrations, manifestations and sports events could be organized. Underneath, it is recommended to be built, out of the project’s range, a one-level underground parking lot for 120 cars with access from Gurko Street without affecting the tall trees. Thereby in the designed over two hundred bases, implanted in the alley covering, sport stars from the past and the future will find their place in honor of the Bulgarian sport’s glorious moments.

According to the project, the bed of Perlovska River will be filled with water as for this purpose its level will be raised by approximately 1 m through setting up three small floodgates which rise and descent automatically depending on the rain water flow. This is a widespread practice in other European capital cities, e.g. the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. Thereby by building these simple and not expensive installations, the “Channel” will turn back into a beautiful river, which is very important for the town development as well as for the overall landscape of the capital city.

The pedestrian squares and alleys will be made of natural materials – light beige granite with light texture and terracotta in pale brick-red color, composed in the typical for Sofia rectangular raster (7.50 m). For the bike lanes and pavements will be used ornamental high-quality concrete blocks in a different color.

The urban facility elements are in the traditional for the capital classic style: the details are clear and with a more contemporary look. There is installed a multitude of bike stations, as well as oval automatic modular public toilets. The pedestrian spaces and the park have an entirely new network of energy saving LED lighting.

The project suggests a building of a unique landscape complex which will fulfill with new content and enrich public spaces the existing green areas along Evlogi and Hristo Georgievi Blvd. All the conditions to be carried out cultural and social events alongside with the celebrations in Sofia, the European Capital of Culture in 2019, are present.

Stefan Dobrev architect and urbanist