the world's most visited architecture website
All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Museum
  4. Bulgaria
  5. Yanko Apostolov Architects
  6. 2014
  7. National Museum Complex - Phase I / Yanko Apostolov Architects

National Museum Complex - Phase I / Yanko Apostolov Architects

  • 00:00 - 7 February, 2015
National Museum Complex - Phase I / Yanko Apostolov Architects
National Museum Complex - Phase I / Yanko Apostolov Architects, © Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov

© Assen Emilov © Assen Emilov © Assen Emilov © Assen Emilov + 28

  • Structural Engineer

    Betaconst
  • Museum Design Consultants

    Museoplan
  • MEP Engineers

    Orhaniev and Partners Ltd, Mariya Popova Ltd, Bosilkova Ltd
  • Façade Consultant

    Techne
  • More Specs Less Specs
© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov

Text description provided by the architects. Following Bulgaria’s recent accession to the European Union, Phase I of the National Museum Complex in Sofia, comes at a time when Bulgarian society is undergoing a reevaluation of cultural values and is in great need of a new self-assured and positive identity.

The museum complex in the capital’s historic center is funded by the European Fund for Regional Redevelopment and will showcase the country’s two most important art collections - those of the National Art Gallery and the National Gallery for Foreign Art.

SITE HISTORY

Located on Alexander Nevsky Square, the museum complex occupies a site of extraordinary history. Over the past century the cathedral square and the surrounding buildings have seen a number of transformations that have had a profound effect on the way the site relates to the city.

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

Alexander Nevski Square with the museum site in 1926.

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

The Royal Printing House - built 1887.

In the late 19th century the three story building of the Royal Printing House framed the square to the east. Severely damaged at the end of WWII, the printing house was adapted first for the needs of the Technical University and later for the needs of the National Gallery for Foreign Art.

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

WWII air raids over Sofia, 1944.

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

The buildings of the former Technical University (center) and the National Gallery for Foreign Art (far right), 2010.

The addition of the new wings of the Technical University in the 50’s and the subsequent adaptation of the Royal Printing House as the National Gallery for Foreign Art in the 80’s enclosed the site as a complete urban block. 

By the mid 90’s reorganization of state institutions after communism’s collapse and the ensuing ownership uncertainty left the Technical University building and its interior courtyard as a decaying empty shell.

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

The courtyard before commencement of construction: previous site excavations and building in-fills had left the inner courtyard disconnected from the surrounding streets.

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

View from the former turbine hall of the university laboratories: despite the buildings’ dilapidated state the potential for creating a special connection between the museum galleries and the inner courtyard was apparent from the start.

MUSEUM DESIGN

In 2010 the final transformation of the urban block began with an international architectural competition organized by the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture to turn the site into a national museum of visual arts that brings together under one roof several centuries of Bulgarian, European, Asian and African art.

Diagram
Diagram

Long section through the museum’s sculpture court

The winning competition entry by Yanko Apostolov and Museoplan drew on the site’s unique history and the potential of the existing courtyard to become a symbolic heart of the museum and a meeting place for the citizens and visitors of Sofia.

The once-lost inner court is now elevated to connect to the surrounding streets creating a new cultural public space – an open air sculpture garden that can be used for art installations and special public events.

Museum complex circulation diagram
Museum complex circulation diagram

Museum complex circulation diagram

Clad in the much used in the city Vratza limestone, the new building tissue completes the massing of the complex while maintaining the volumetric hierarchy established by the nearby Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the roofline of the National Gallery for Foreign Art. Centered on important lines of sight, the renovated courtyard acts as an orientation device and a point of departure for the museum visitors.

Diagram
Diagram

A full spectrum of museum programs are organized around the open courtyard achieving optimum functional integration of art galleries, public spaces, administration offices, art storage and restoration labs. The new elevated ground plane acts as a horizon separating the public spaces and art galleries above from art storage and service spaces below.

Diagram
Diagram

Largely a project of adaptive building reuse, the National Museum Complex greatly reduces embodied energy through optimum site utilization, recycling and use of local materials. Ventilated facades and use of new materials produce a high-performance building envelope. Exterior shading and dynamic lighting control provide optimum viewing environment in the galleries, while minimizing energy consumption. Air supplied through a raised floor system maintains stable microclimate throughout the museum, while mixed-mode ventilation in the administration offices further optimizes energy use and improves comfort. Green roofs and drought resistant landscaping reduce the heat island effect as well as minimize water usage.

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov

Galleries’ roof exterior shading panels

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

Top lit galleries

Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

Sculpture galleries

© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects
Courtesy of Yanko Apostolov Architects

Green roof

© Assen Emilov
© Assen Emilov

The museum’s café terrace overlooking the city

Diagram
Diagram

CULTURAL RELEVANCE

The National Museum Complex contributes a valuable cultural venue to Sofia’s downtown. The project recovers a lost space in the public realm and charges it with new meaning - a place where art can start bringing new ideas into the daily lives of the citizens and visitors of Sofia.

Phase I and eventually Phase II (scheduled for construction in 2015) are two critical steps in a wider master plan to create a museum cluster that promotes synergy between the national collections and the historical city fabric.

View the complete gallery

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "National Museum Complex - Phase I / Yanko Apostolov Architects" 07 Feb 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/592331/national-museum-complex-phase-i-yanko-apostolov-architects/> ISSN 0719-8884

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.