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2014 – The Plovdiv Monoliths _ Plovdiv Bulgaria

Project Layout of Central Square that includes archeological vestiges
Floor area 50 530 m2
Place Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Team Eric Cassar, Elena Varela, Veneta Vladimirova, Francine Rizzon
Light SNAIK – Atelier Yann Kersalé

General principles

We organize, delimit and define the space of Plovdiv place mainly thanks to a singular architecture language using monoliths. Monoliths arrangements create sequences that will unify and identify the spaces. Those sequences stimulate visitor awareness and encourage a sensory discovery of the place through time and space. They suggest new spaces apprehension: view, sound, texture, light and shadow games etc.

The intervention mainly consists in :

- The implementation of the monoliths around the place and in the squares around to create an interactive promenade that shows off the historic archeological vestiges and unifies the excavated zones.
- The monoliths include physical and virtual windows. Under the promenade footbridge which act both as a rain and sun protection cover, the archeological ruins becomes an open air museum.
- The construction of a cafe-restaurant next to the fountain animates and circumscribes the space of the south place. It is linked to a huge stair that acts as stands and hides the parking of the hotel on the other side….


Monoliths are made of 2 sides with red edges. The outside one is covered with steel : stainless steel (mirror that reflect the environment) or other steel finishing depending on the monolith position. The inside one changes depending on the atmosphere. It is covered with metal, concrete, plastic or wood. Most of them includes light.
There are 6 models of monoliths dealing with the 6 hills around Plovdiv. Those models can be implemented on several ways from vertical to horizontal through obliques. Those monoliths are similar to letters. This alphabet allows a lot of configurations.

Monoliths arrangements are the words of the language. They generate unique space and light sequences. Monoliths sequences are the sentences of the language. They have to be experimented both from the inside or from the outside. They create special atmospheres dealing with the 5 senses, and act as a view framework on the archeological site. Thanks to screens, they connect all the squares together, offering glimpses of the place activities.


This place remains a big mineral void in order to receive special events. We preserve the existing stone on the ground which is just rehabilitated.
To enter this main place from the Alexander I street, visitors go through moving “open air doors”. These doors are special moving monoliths. They act as the curtain of a scene announcing an event. Coming from the Alexander I street (pedestrian street) visitors are invited to discover.


The parking of the hotel is partly covered by a terrace with vegetation. The access is by a wide stair that acts as stands opened to the interactive promenade and to the archeological site. On the west side of the hotel in relation with the main place, we design a cafe and a restaurant next to the existing fountain and open to the place with a terrace over it.


As an optional adding, we include a vertical sign in the distance. It is a tower open to a promenade implemented on the post office roof. Including accessible horizontal monoliths, this terrace plunges visitors in the sky and invites them to discover the far landscape.


Light, at night, reinforces the vision of this great urban sculpture. Lines with varitions of color, assert the oblique presence of the monoliths in the night. Light reveals the material aspect of the monoliths together with the ruins under a new dawn, creating a dialogue between past and present, sun light and artificial light.
The walk on the monolith footbridge is punctuated with light ‘focus’ that enable a detailed sight of some ruins. Functional light integrates itself within this large urban landscape and communicates with the architectures.


LEVEL 1: FUTURE – View: Public space spread into the hight

On top of the post office, there is a promenade in the sky in relation with the landscape in the distance. The monoliths are used horizontally. It is a sign in the distance announcing the place and creating a dialogue with the hills.

LEVEL 0: PRESENT – Activities / Sensorial experiences

The main ground level includes the huge mineral place, the closed sequences in the squares and the open sequences mainly a sensorial promenade around the post office and partly over the archeological ruins.

LEVEL-1: PAST – History and Memory

The archeological level deals with past history and includes an open air museum and a children playground.


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