urban planning

First Alley - Varna, Bulgaria

Varna, Bulgaria

Building type: Place for Recreational and Cultural Activities with Sustainable Architecture along the Black Sea Coastline
First Prize in National Competition
Project: 2009

first alley varna logo
  First Alley Varna: A place for recreation, cultural activities and ecological architecture - Competition Winner

The most important area for a seaside town is its coast. One of Varna’s biggest assets is the Sea Garden, which is a great transition between the town and the sea. This park is four kilometers long and about three hundred meters wide. Next to it is situated the “First Alley”, which unfortunately today is difficult to access, and is surrounded by numerous grim and chaotic buildings.

The project transforms the “First Alley” into a unique place for recreation and entertainment to the level of the best examples in Europe such as the Botanical Garden in Balchik, Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona and the Parc de la Villette in Paris.

The idea would be the “First Alley” to become a pedestrian axis with twelve squares dedicated to the different arts. The purpose is to create a multifunctional urban park along Varna’s coast. Here visitors can rest, enjoy the sea view, celebrate special occasions, have fun, but also they could experience culture through performances, exhibitions and concerts. In the covered public spaces throughout the year various festivals, meetings and conferences could be organized.

The project suggests the creation of an art center, which would be open year around. Each of the twelve squares dedicated to the arts has learning spaces and themed coffee gardens for meetings, and adjacent underground halls and service facilities. These public spaces are covered with removable textile awnings and in this way they can be used continuously. Within their silhouettes they are reminiscent of the sea and sailboats in contrast with the massive terrace-like buildings at the foot of the Sea Garden.

The covered amphitheater, for 2,500 people, by the sea represents a polyvalent hall, which provides great opportunities for the organization of festivals, concerts and conferences. It could turn into the new symbol of the city.

Stefan Dobrev architect and urbanist