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The Architectural Project

In 2007, when working on the cultural heritage area in the Master Plan of Plovdiv Municipality, our team (T. Krestev – team leader, D. Kostov, D. Georgieva, V. Kolarova) suggests a new strategy for solving the problem of the urban archaeology. The plan intends realisation by stages of a system of public underground spaces – an “Underground Museum of Philippopolis”, which provides a thorough exposure of the urban archaeology in combination with an implementation of attractive public functions. The Ancient Stadium as a significant part of this system can be the first stage of its realisation. That is the exact aim of the Preliminary Project for Revitalization of the Ancient Stadium, developed in 2008 by a team of the Association for Cultural Tourism (T. Krestev – team leader, D. Georgieva, M. Velkov, V. Kolarova).

The project provides preservation and thorough exposure of the cultural value of the Stadium; esurience of its vitality by implementing attractive functions and provision of access for disadvantaged people. It is suggested that the existing heavy concrete frames, blocking the archaeology are to be disassembled in order to reveal the archaeology to the public by the means of a new geometry of the openings and contemporary urban design, plastic remodelling and landscaping, architectural lighting and visual communication. For the first time multimedia technologies are applied, through which virtual relations with the archaeological findings preserved on the site or exhibited at the Regional Archaeological Museum is established, 3D models of the stadium, etc.

The project BG 0041 “The Ancient Stadium of Philippopolis – Preservation, Rehabilitation and Urban Renewal” is created on the bases of the philosophy of the Preliminary project.

In 2010 the Preliminary project is updated (with the participation of arch. R. Projkova) in keeping with the last archaeological findings. The new suggestions foresee a gradual decrease in the level of the northern part of the square where the fortification wall is, a wider uncovering of the ancient drainage system, etc. On that bases in 2010 is executed the Executive project by the team “Pliska Consulting - Archika” (T. Krestev – methodological leader, R. Projkova – lead architect, M. Velkov, Zh. Tashkov, D. Mushtanova, N. Stoyanov – conservation, B. Georgiev, Zh. Dzhugalanova, archaeologist M. Martinova-Kjutova and a complex team of technical specialists in engineering).

The Executive project is entirely consistent with the ideas, principles and suggestions made by the Preliminary project, as it evolves and elaborates them providing special note of the conservation of the archaeological property in its intact authenticity.  The project exceeds the current possibility of realisation to a certain degree. For example, it suggests a showcase of an audio-visual spectacle “Sound and Light” – a trip through time with a light show and multimedia translations of images and text on LED screens and LCD monitor above the lift. The complete realisation of the idea will be possible after some future finance aid, but at this stage the necessary for this purpose infrastructure is already executed. A following stage of the development of the project is intended: (on the middle level) launching of an information centre “Ancient Philippopolis” with an open terrace, overlooking the stadium; development of a multimedia system along Knyaz Alexander I Str.; and in the future – construction of an underground street on an archaeological level which will be connected directly to the fragments of the stadium found in the underground levels of the shops and will be included in the archaeological space under Dzhumaya Square. Consequently, we should consider this project as a constantly evolving one.

For the entire team, the working process on the project was a difficult, but inspiring professional challenge, which for us has another more emotional aspect – this was our last adventure together with Vera Kolarova – one of the founders of the Bulgarian conservation school and also a kind, humble and devoted friend.

Prof. arch. Todor Krestev DSc

Project for the Presentation center of the Ancient Stadium / Association for Cultural Tourism