project: Toplocentralata
type: Competition
client: Municipality of Sofia
location: Sofia, Bulgaria
time: 2017


By situating the performance hall in a new modern structure above the heat power plant, we propose a striking and visually recognizable architectural expression while preserving the signs of its identity. We create an urban land mark which will become a newly established icon in Sofia’s skyline and will greatly contribute to the identity of the city. Moreover, it is noticed as far as the eye can see a will act as an orientation beacon for the greater south park area.
Furthermore, we preserve the old and historically grown charm of the existing hall and the spatial quality of one continuous open space.


With the existing hall being open and not obstructed by any enclosed volumes we can now open it and interconnect it to the surrounding urban fabric. Suddenly the building and the open space in front of it act as a continuous, vibrating urban space and lay the ground work for a publicly embraced social and cultural hub, creating the opportunity for social interaction and cultural exchange. The urban character of the “Art Powerplant” and its indoor social activities will expand to outdoor ones, activating its surroundings and transforming the place to have a major impact on cultural life in the city.


By demolishing parts the roof of the existing power plant and preserving the beams underneath, the space between the new architectural structure and the old power plant turns into a transition zone before and after events in the large performance hall. Being sort of a buffer between the two main volumes, you not only can enjoy breath-taking views of the park and the city there, but take a different perspective on the old structure of the existing hall, observing social life from above. Apart from that, it is a functional cache between the cultural hub and the great hall and allows the great hall to be parted into 2 sections for added flexibility.


In the building itself, we vertically connect the different parts of the program via an accessible, cloud-like structure. This structure reaches from the ground floor of the new volume to the ground floor of the existing one, permeating through the existing beams like roots through soil. Have a drink, meet with friends, work solely on a project in the co-working space, shop for a cool bag or be part of a happening in the art lab – apart from being a spatial experience rather than a functional vertical connection, the cloud structure encourages you to try each and every of those things!