Sofia, Bulgaria / Build Systems
During the last 25 years Sofia has almost doubled its population from 1.2 MIL in 1990 to about 2 MIL using the city on a daily basis today. In that context the city parks have become crowded and the number and quality of the sports facilities totally insufficient. The courts in the Zaimov Park, one of the central city parks, were in a poor condition, left unmaintained since their construction in the 90`s. The sports facility has been entirely closed to the park and therefore invisible from the outside. It only took from the park`s area without really being a part of it. The main issue of the project was to reconnect the park and the courts. Preserving the existing layout of the courts and the building, two more entrances were added and all three are offset to the inside in-between the courts. Between the courts is a café and a restaurant facing the main alley of the park. All of the existing trees remain floating in the wooden decking. The decking covers the entire area between the courts and inside the building as well. Thus, there is no place in the complex where the inside and outside are rigidly separated. As the courts are situated between two alleys in the park, it was of
importance for the new design to create the possibility of continuously seeing the park through the sports facilities. As the nets of the courts remain transparent the building’s facades are covered with white glass panels. One of the courts is covered by a vinyl membrane upon the steel rods structure which stops at the height of the wooden roof of the building. So there is a unifying horizontal line running below the roof level. The cantilevered wooden roof of the building which hides the installations of the restaurant and kitchen seems to hover above the building in the way the white vinyl levitates above the court. Another wooden roof is suspended above the café between two of the courts. Three of the trees pass through the roofs stressing again on the idea of avoiding interruption or discontinuity within the surrounding park. Though the space is functionally divided the aim of the project was to turn it into an organic entity along with the park, transparent and penetrable, thus creating a Continuous Park interior in the center of the city.