COMPETITION FOR THE NEW METROPOLITAN CENTRE LAUNCHED
The international two-phase competition for designing a government centre in Sofia was announced bearing the following complicated phrasing: A limited competiton for acquiring a planning conception for working out a detailed plan for building a multifunctional complex, i.e. a secondary metropolitan center. The latter will be located between the fourth and sixth kilometer of the Tsarigradsko Shousse boulevard on a total site area of 264 decares. A total 31 sets of the papers needed were purchased until the end of September 2008, but the competition started with 19 design teams. After the weeding out, six companies remained in the competition, including world-renown ones such as the UK Foster and Zaha Hadid, Italian Fuksas Associati and French Dominique Perret. Bulgarian architectual bureaus G-3 and Azias Project also finished. Under the terms, the winner designated by the international jury will be invited for negotiations with no public order being called and it will have to work out a detailed plan of the multifunctional complex. The remaining five companies will be awarded BGN100,000 each.
The idea for the new government centre was given publicity in 2007 when the site of the old barracks near the boulevard was chosen. The lot's size exceeded 600 decares but the military men announced later on that they will provide only one-third of the entire site. The need of a similar centre, which besdies administrative buildings will also have commercial sites and hotels, appeared long ago. Some obviously smart and far-sighted city planners realized the unavoidable need of decentralizing the state departments, now grouped into a very small central region, to different regions of the capital. Being led by such an idea, the members of the architect Bogdan Tomalevski's team sited the Ministry of Exterior complex behind the Universiada sport hall. The move was taken as a call for more pragmatic and social-minded way of thinking. This was followed by the shift of the Russian Embassy against the Moskva Park-hotel, a move which confirmed this trend. The following events shifted the attention into other direction although the rapid, almost double growth of the capital's population and the enormous car traffic urged the initiative to be finished. In the long run, as everything happens in Bulgaria, the indispensable decision for removing as many as possible state deprtments out of the downtown was taken when things have got hot, i.e. when the city's car traffic is about to paralyze.
The results of the competition's second phase will most likely be promulgated until the end of February 2009 and given for a wide public discussion. Every order for a service that follows the above-mentioned one will be consigned to the winner or at least to one of the winning teams. We are focusing exactly on this detail because the calls for transparency and publicity keep on being just spells. The Sofia's city plan is a good enough example.