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Plovdiv opens central square design contest

Bulgaria’s second biggest city, Plovdiv has launched an open international design competition to redesign its central square

The high-profile contest seeks an ‘attractive and distinctly contemporary’ transformation of the square which is dominated by icons of the Balkan city’s 6,000-year history.

The primary aim is to establish a ‘peaceful coexistence’ of conflicting landmarks which span from antiquity, the Ottoman Empire, the Third Bulgarian State and Eastern Bloc membership.

The area is described by the brief as a ‘difficult place ridden with problems’. Key elements within the city’s largest public space include archaeological excavations, a communist party building, a modernist post office, a nineteenth century park and several road underpasses.

Entries must harmonize these historic elements in a new strategy for the square and nearby areas. Designs will be expected to preserve, showcase and animate the district’s cultural and archaeological heritage.

The space should also be reorganised with new urban design elements, green areas and paving.

The anonymous competition is expected to be used as part of the city’s bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2019.

Submissions to the contest may be in English or Bulgarian and should be made online. Participation is free.

The winner will receive £8,400 and a second place prize worth £4,200 will also be awarded.

Bulgarian and international teams with at least one member registered as an architect are eligible to participate.

An international jury including architects Saša Begović of Croatia’s 3HDL and Jeroen Zuidgeest of MVRDV will select three finalists in June.

Plovdiv’s municipal authority will then announce a winner on 15 July following a public debate.

The deadline for entries is 20 June.









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