Subject: Studio Sofia Railways
Date: 08 March 2022
This year UACEG marks eighty years of its existence. To mark this occasion, the Department of Architecture embarked on a joint endeavor to create a setting where various chairs closely collaborate on the same topic. This common setting took the form of Pre-Diploma Studio, in which you all participate. With the letter, we would like to welcome you to this innovative and exciting collaboration and congratulate you on your willingness to experiment and rethink existing processes.
The ground for this intersection of various domains of knowledge, methodologies, and disciplines is part of the railway infrastructure of the City of Sofia, more precisely, the areas of Stochna Gara (Goods Station) and Poduyane railway yard. The railway was developed in the 1920s as part of the growing railway infrastructure of trading goods along the Orient Express Route. With the ring railway and the declining role of railway logistics in the context of Sofia, the railway infrastructure and the adjacent buildings are heavily underused. Moreover, In the postwar period, peripheral railway infrastructure networks became areas separating residential and industrial areas of the city. The southern and central parts of the city remain relatively integrated and interconnected. In contrast, the northern and southern parts of the city, separated by the rail lines, are economically, socially, and culturally imbalanced.
The city of Sofia has recognized the need to deal with former industrial terrains and aims to develop an approach towards the areas of Stochna Gara and Poduyane railway yard. However, the sites are owned by the national railway companies, which means that the project is about building collective ground for action towards adaptation of public spaces for the common good. Precisely, this condition makes the area a fertile ground to understand and rethink adaptive infrastructures.
We invite you to explore the topic with a sense of curiosity and experimentation, focusing not on concrete solutions but on tracing potentials, sensing tensions, and introducing new values. To start this exercise, we depart from specific guidelines, such as - using what is already there, developing multiple programs, activating specific sites, paying attention to landscape elements. Instead of individual projects, we will create a common objective based on various perspectives and knowledge. We will conduct this exploration collectively.
This collective project will materialize in a physical environment on-site – the unused Stochna Gara building. Instead of presenting individual panels, we will transform the empty spaces of the former railway station into a lively playground of ideas, thoughts, and curiosities. This process will serve to find relations between the individual perspectives and to visualize and communicate those relations to various stakeholders. We framed this space as “The Room of Entanglements” - an experimental process that could inspire us and others to breathe life in this fascinating infrastructural area.
On behalf of UACEG Aneta Vasileva, Donika Georgieva, Milena Tasheva, Evgenia Dimova - Alexandrova, Martin Georgiev, Rositsa Bratkova, Tzvetelina Daskalova, Nikolay Davidkov, Angel Burov, Maria Daskalova, Milla Yolova, Sava Kiskliakov
On behalf of GRADOSCOPE Pavel Yanchev, Teodora Stefanova, Georgi Nikolov
On behalf of NEWROPE Ina Valkanova