Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Function: collective housing and offices
Surface area: 21.288 sqm
Construction: 2005 – 2008
This is a mixed used building with 9 floors of apartments and offices, and shops on ground level. Because of the considerable depth of the building the offices occupy the center of the north façade. Thus the building is inhabited 24 hours a day which saves a bit of energy for heating/cooling in comparison to half-a-day occupation.
The site is right next to a principal thoroughfare connecting the center of the city with an expensive southern suburb at the foot of mount Vitosha. About 15 years ago this part of the city consisted mainly of single family houses with their own gardens. As a result of the building boom after the beginning of the nineties the area was densely built with new residential blocks. In Bulgaria as well as in all Eastern Europe people are tired of the long period of homes typified and unified. According to the pendulum effect the nowadays’ striving is for the maximum expression of individuality often regardless of the others.
Reconciling both extremes was a main objective in Jaclyn – creating a sense of individuality within the whole. What we wanted was to design homes as distinct as possible. They are in fact a hive of family houses perched on top of one another resembling the houses on the mountain slope across. The inhabitants were given the chance to easily recognize their home in and out.
On assigning the project, the investor set the theme of wood. He initially saw the whole façade lined with wood but subsequently we had to find a less costly solution. The first image of timber we had while thinking of it as material was a pile of wooden planks.
The building is composed of multiple volumes fitting into one another. Keeping in mind the traffic on the boulevard we wanted a potential for motion and further development rather than a finite set of elements.The allocation of material and color across the site helped us “diminish” it and make it intelligible so one might grasp it in a single glance. We wanted the maximum segmentation in an entire structure.
There is only a little (if any at all) talk about architecture in Bulgaria. It is really important for us to evoke society’s interest in architecture. It is our conviction that this is the only way we can really improve our environment.
In this respect Jaclyn has already made a few small steps – it is a part of an alternative culture guide for Sofia and one of the latest Bulgarian movies was shot there.