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PLOVDIV CENTRAL SQUARE
Location:  Plovdiv, Bulgaria
arch. Kiril Sabchev
Site area: 68 800 m² 
Reconstructions
total gross floor area: 4570 m2
New buildings
total gross floor area: 12 710 m2 including: underground floors: 8510 m2
ground floors: 2880 m2
overground floors: 1320 m2
New Parking: 232 cars
 
We introduce the project from our participation in competition for the Central Square of the city in connection with the selection of Plovdiv as European Capital of Culture 2019.
This place is unique. Modern Central square of the city coincides with the ancient center of the Roman city - Roman Forum, Odeon and overall structure of the Roman town.
In the period of "socialism" 1944-1989 construction in and around the square did not take into account the presence of archaeological layer and do nothing for the relationship with the ‘Tsar Simeon’ Garden. The extension of the Post office, the Party House, Hotel Trimontsium, subway tunnel that destroyed the northern part of the forum are other bad examples of "socialist urban planning" in the city.
The previous competition for the main city square in which we participated was in 2000. We were ranked second then, and this time our project wasn’t ranked at all. But this is not the most important, but the fact that when participating in the competition, we are going deep into the issues and create an objective appreciation for all of the projects suggested.
In 2000 the municipality respectively the City Council served a private interest by adopting a project envisaging the construction of a huge building on the Roman Forum itself. The terrain was regulated and sold to a private company despite the fact that it stands on top of the southeastern part of the Forum and is full of archaeological excavations, which should be legally owned by the state.
After this 2014 competition a project which closes with a concrete slab the whole Roman Forum and calls this a museum was selected. That kind of plate covering huge area has to be connected carefully to environmental landscaping and existing buildings. It will be no more than 2,5m. above the exposed archeology which will create an underground space with a vision and impact of a poky basement. Not to mention that covering the whole archaeological level eliminates the opportunity for the integration between the archaeology and contemporary. If this is not an alphabetical error in architecture, what is?