The Challenges of Abandoned Architecture : Buzludzha Monument / Gueorguy Stoilov

Why would this building be abandoned when at one point it was such a significant symbol for the country? Buildings such as this that have been left to stand alone are calling out for architects to intervene and come up with well thought out solutions while being sensitive to its historical significance. At one time, the Buzludzha Monument, designed by , was the most celebrated monument dedicated to the sociopolitical movement of communism. Now, in the mountains of Buzludzha National Park in Central , Bulgaria, stands an abandoned communist concrete structure right in the middle of the country taking on a “flying saucer” in appearance. What should be done with buildings that have been abandoned all over the globe? Now is the time to think critically and discover the possibilities. More images and after the break.

© George Alexandru Marinescu

So what is the story of this construction exactly? In 1891 the socialists, led by Dimitar Blagoev, assembled secretly in the area to form an organized socialist movement. In honor of this act, architect Gueorguy Stoilov designed the Buzludzha Monument to be built as one of the symbols of the socialism taking shape in Bulgaria in the most beautiful landscape.

Unlike most post-Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria found the transition to capitalism more painful than expected as the backward state of the country’s industry and infrastructure were revealed. In a time when its citizens were dissatisfied with the system of democracy, these negative reactions could have played a huge role as to why such a significant monument such as Buzludzha was abandoned toward the end of the 20th century.

© Georgi Chorbadzhiyski

Instead of leaving it in its abandoned state, architects have the opportunity to use the history of Bulgaria and its current cultural conditions to enhance its quality and to preserve this historical symbol of the country for a variety of functions that would be inclusive of its citizens. A cultural community center particularly comes to mind that could involve educational aspects as well. In these modern times, the possibilities are endless and with such rich cultural significance this monument once had, the best way to approach a building like this would be to revitalize the surrounding area and to make it a rich center as it once was.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "The Challenges of Abandoned Architecture : Buzludzha Monument / Gueorguy Stoilov" 05 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • DV8

    Dare I post my 5000 word essay on the aesthetics of dilapidation?

    • Adrem

      Please send it to me! I have wrote a book (in italian) about Modern Ruins, and I am always looking for new ideas…

  • Krainik

    It’s unfortunate that no pictures are shown of the interior of the building. Though locked up, it’s relatively easy to enter and the tile murals, rotting velvet ceiling, and beautiful design of the entirety of the interior of this building make it well worthwhile. Combine that with the inevitable decay that has occurred over the last couple decades, and what you have is something truly unique and superbly captivating.

    • Alison

      Why, then, with its beautiful interior would it just be left standing along? abandoned? Its a great opportunity, especially with what you stated about the entirety of its design on the inside as well…What should architects do to take advantage of something such as this?

  • up_today_arch

    What a pity…! It is Nemeier quality architecture…

  • David

    The architect’s name is Georgi Stoilov and he’s the president of International Academy of Architecture (Sofia).

  • Andrew

    there is a strange beauty in ruin. I believe that some buildings like this one (ruined, dilapidated, abandoned etc) have more character, beauty and meaning than some of the buildings that are being built today.

  • bLogHouse

    Not sure about having beauty, but having character and meaning – definitely.
    Because of the real, unobstructed communication with the public, recorded literally on it’s walls (as graffiti, slogans, etc.)I see two layers of monumentality – the first, representative of the totalitarian regime, and the second – of what came after that – a society deprived of identity and direction. Now it’s a public work of art and should be preserved as such.

  • Dennis

    Frank Lloyd Wright said “No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other”

    In the case of a monument i think placing it right on top of the hill like Stoilov did makes an incredibly powerful statement. I guess there can be exceptions to Wright’s rule…

    That said, I’m sure many see it as an eyesore in a national park? Plus, wouldn’t the politicos want to remove all reminders of communism?

  • ma
  • Don

    You can ponder all you want about this or all the other abandoned properties worldwide. Wax poetic. The real question is how can you attach commerce to these sites. No matter what fantastic ideas, dreams and good intentions, it always comes down to money.

  • Valeri Gyurov

    Yes, the name of the architect is GEORGI STOILOV. You can see more pictures of interior and current state here:

    The building is in such a condition that it’s hard even to think about revitalization or competion about its future, despite of the total lack of money…

  • Rossi

    You can see more photos of this and similar Bulgarian monuments here:

  • Aldo

    Thanks for paying attention to this problem AD.
    There are many communist monuments in Bulgaria which people somehow failed to handle properly after 1989. I mean to preserve the history and the distinctive and often unique architecture (also often “not-human” or even “scary”) and to give these monuments new meaning and social use. So these monuments are abendoned or even distroied (like the G. Dimitrov’s mausuleum) as people try intentionally to forget about the dark communist period. But I think one they will regret the loss if we do nothing to change it.

    The architect’s name is Georgi Stoilov (Георги Стоилов) as is said above. He is also known as the youngest partisan (communist guerilla fighet) in 1943-44. Former major of Sofia in the late 1960s. And distinguished architect in the 60s, 70s, 80s.

  • Carlos Pereira

    This building would make an EXCELLENT centrepiece for a hotel / spa resort…it has a decent size (about 66m diameter), gutted interior, beautiful views…needs some serious work to restore it to former glory. Pity about the distance to Sofia…

    Original (1981):