Sofia Municipality has launched an international contest to regenerate Sveta Nedelya Square and its surrounding public spaces
The competition will select a team to restore and renovate the square surrounding the historic Sveta Nedelya cathedral which is located in the centre of the Bulgarian capital a short distance from the main government buildings of the Balkans country.
The 1.5ha project aims to boost accessibility, enhance connections between the square’s historic fabric and surrounding new developments, deliver a public space of ‘human scale’ with improved connections to neighbouring pedestrian areas, and promote activity ‘at all times of the day and all year round’.
In its brief, Sofia Municipality explains: ‘The square around Sveta Nedelya – the cathedral temple of the Holy Metropolis of Sofia – is an inseparable part of the symbolic part of the historically-formed system public of spaces in Sofia city centre.
‘It is situated in the very heart of Sofia, just on the crossing point of the main axis of the ancient Roman city, and it has kept alive the memory of Sofia’s ancient and modern history and preserved its vitality and attractiveness – for the millions of residents of the capital city and for visitors. This makes it a place of key importance for the present and the future of Sofia and defines the specifics of its new renovation which is to preserve its cultural and spatial identity and at the same time, to respond to the complex requirements to the functionality and features of the present urban environment.’
Sveta Nedelya is a prominent Eastern Orthodox church which serves as the Sofia bishopric of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. Although first built in the 10th century, the current structure was completed in 1933 by local architect Vasilyov-Tsolov.
The square is connected to a surrounding network of pedestrianised streets and plazas. Nearby landmarks include the Rotunda of St George, Hotel Balkan, Ministry of Health and Court of Justice.
Participating teams should include an architect, urbanist, heritage expert and landscape architect. Judges include Marlena Happach, head of the architecture and spatial planning department in Warsaw City Hall; Martin Aarts, former chief urban designer for Rotterdam; Bulgarian architect Borislav Ignatov; and Malina Edreva of the Sofia Municipal Council.
The overall winner will receive 70,000 Bulgarian levs (£31,000) and be invited to negotiate with Sofia Municipality for the design contract. There will also be a second prize of 60,000 BGN (£26,000), third prize of 50,000 BGN (£22,000), fourth prize of 40,000 BGN (£18,000), and fifth prize of 30,000 BGN (£13,000).
The competition languages are English and Bulgarian, and the deadline for applications is 5.30pm local time on 8 May.
How to apply
Architecture and Urban Development
Sofia Metropolitan Municipality
5, Serdika str
Tel: +359 29238299
Fax: +359 29806741