Town center Sofia
office, retail, condo, hotel and art center complex
design objective
Sustainable rehabilitation of an old refrigerator plant by employing the "total envelope" concept

  • typehigh-end mixed use complex
  • year | size2003 | 540,000 sf
  • locationsofia, bulgaria
  • statusinvited competition | second place

project statement
A large mixed use commercial complex, including shopping, hotel with conference facilities and office tower, condominiums, high-end penthouse suites, post office, library, athletic club and art center with one story underground parking garage

The design of the new Town Center Sofia is based both on 21st century building technology and aesthetics, as well as influences from Old Bulgarian architecture. The layout of the existing structures resembles the traditional layout of a monastery complex, though at a different scale and with a different function. With deep affection of the timeless beauty of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture, paastudio presents a new way of turning an outdated industrial facility into one of the focal points in the capital city.
The factory buildings present a challenge in themselves, being visibly uneven in plumb and level of the existing structural elements to remain. With the intent to be within the required construction budget, we proposed a new total building envelope. It consists of three different types of exterior façade panels, as well as hip roofs and penthouse enclosures. They allow for implementing of basic passive green principles and converting the buildings to higher energy efficiency. The panels are also reflecting the Old Bulgarian building tradition of enclosing house porticoes with intricate wood louvers. The envelope idea is carried in the interior as well – floors are raised by ±20 centimeters to accommodate unevenness of substructure and allow installation chutes, along with furring walls.


project statement (cont)

Ceilings are dropped between 70 and 150 centimeters in the same manner, allowing for additional structural strengthening and the use of sub floor cantilever beams, which support new façade and balcony elements. This approach is extremely effective in creating a completely different look; feel and ease of function of the new town center Sofia.
The complex functions seamlessly during business and after hours. Passage gates provide the necessary security of pedestrian and vehicular parking approach. The post office and library are located conveniently in the outside of the complex in building 2. A small service alley cut through the last bay of the building provides access to the service yard, which also addresses the main restaurant row. New on-site parking is provided for the two functions as well as for the adjacent bank, which floats through the vehicle lots at the office tower and the boarding hotel entry. In order to fulfill the needs of modern transportation, we propose a 250 car underground garage, located in the north part of the complex.
The global design concept vitally promotes the complex operative requirements of the development and adds additional value as a 21st century interpretation of a social and aesthetic tradition. It combines aesthetics, sustainability, function and budget in a harmonious alliance for the years to come.

design objective 2
Creating a "city within the city" with modern, friendly environment
Resurrecting a massive structure as a quintessential green project by employing the "total envelope" approach and turning to national architecture roots by bringing the old monastery concept as a 21st century revitalization method, based on modern aesthetics and sustainable principles - goals achieved throughout.
from the architect