The deadline for submitting questions is extended till 14 May 2018


This document presents the competition program for conducting an architectural competition for ideas and concepts for the construction of Secondary City Center, Central Train Station Zone, City of Sofia.

Competitive projects should be titled:

The architectural competition is open and one-staged.
All Bulgarian architects and urban planners, working in Bulgaria and abroad and holding a master’s degree, are entitled to participate.
Competitive projects will be evaluated by an international jury.

Deadline for submitting competitive projects is 31 May 2018.
This document includes a program, conditions for conducting the competition, requirements for the volume and content of the competitive projects and enclosures.



The objective of the presented competition program is to consider the future development of Sofia as a European capital city. For this purpose, together with the problems of developing the city center, the issues of developing the potential secondary city centers, appear of particular relevance.

The area around the Central Train Station is a transport communicative, public and urban node that has the potential to be developed as a Secondary City Center. It covers the territories between Opalchenska Street, Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard, Central Bus Station, Predgarov Square, Central Train Station, the adjacent railway area and the territories situated to the north in close proximity to it.

The competition aims to facilitate the launching of new ideas, functions and structure, character and functional development of this potential Secondary Center. The focus is on the most contact and undeveloped part of the zone in question: the territory between Hristo Botev Boulevard, Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard and the Predgarov Square, whose spatial potential remains unused.

The project proposals should take into account the ideas of the Master Plan of Sofia Municipality and plan the construction of the territory as part of the harmonious future development of Sofia.


The territory subject to this program, is located in the central city part of Sofia, Serdika Region, Sofia Municipality. The project proposals should be developed within the following scope:

  1. Mandatory scope: Districts 79, 91, 93 and part of district 92 according to the plan of the Main City Center - Zone B-15 area, Serdika Region, Sofia Municipality, separated by: Hristo Botev Boulevard, Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard, Struga Street, Bratya Miladinovi Street and Hilendar Street;
  2. Recommended scope including the contact territory of ​​the mandatory scope, separated by: Sofroniy Vrachanski Street, Central Train Station and adjacent railway area, Istoriya Slavyanovulgarska Boulevard to the extension of Georgi S. Rakovski Street, Kozloduy Street, Veslets Street and Slivnitsa Boulevard.



The history of the urban space assigned to the function of a railway transport node in Sofia started in 1888. The train station was then out of town, about a kilometer away from the Sharen Most (Motley Bridge) – called at the time Lomsko Shose (Lom Road). At the beginning of the 20th century, the population of Sofia grew rapidly and soon the city touched its station. The city area surrounding the then-existing train station building is characterized by a park environment and excellent communication with the city center.

During the 1950s, while the industrialization of the economy took place, the Bulgarian State Railways had experienced an upsurge. This also necessitated the construction of a new reception building for the metropolitan train station, which was realized in 1974. Since the city has long passed the station and has actually made it a Central Station, the trams that have previously stopped right next to the building, have already been moved from their old route and set farther from the new station, in the middle of the new Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard. The then existing park was replaced by a subway in front of the station and a Rotonda with an accent placed on the Mother Bulgaria sculpture.

In 2003, the space in front of the station underwent a refreshing repair, but serious repair works have not been done for 40 years. In 2016, after a prolonged repair works, the renovated building of the train station was opened.

Nowadays, the Central Train Station has become the largest transport node in the country - almost all forms of public transportation moving around the country meet there: trains, metro, trams, buses, private cars, bicycles and pedestrians. The public transport stops, which are named Central Train Station, are seven - five tram stops, three bus stops and one metro station.

The location is extremely communicative and has the advantage of being the starting point for many public transport links. The lack of a specific plan of what is happening with transport and public spaces at this node is the main problem: fragmented stops, difficult access, illogical distribution of space in front of the station creates the feeling that people are not welcome there.

2. Existing situation

The area under consideration is a transport node where the crossing of several types of transport infrastructure is concentrated: streets of II and III class, Central Train Station, Serdika Bus Station, Central Bus Station. Hristo Botev Boulevard and Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard are also used by the mass city bus and rail electric transport, including a metro path in east-west direction under Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard.

The territory in question falls within the boundaries of the Central City Area of Sofia (CCA) according to article 9, paragraph 1 of the Law for Structure and Construction of the Metropolitan Municipality, in the Zone of the Old City Center (C2) according to item 10 of the Enclosure to article 3, paragraph 2 of the same law and the provisions of the Master Plan of Sofia Municipality, approved by Decision No. 960/16.12.2009 of the Council of Ministers.

The Master Plan provides for optimization of the north-western part of the Central City Area by preserving the existing housing function and absorbing undeveloped territories by building with higher indicators. On the front of the city boulevards of zone C2 (Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard) the following admissible building regulations are indicated:

  • building density: 80%
  • intensity of building: 5
  • required green area: not less than 20%

In Zone C2, it is permissible to build:

  • administrative and business buildings;
  • buildings for social, educational, cultural, religious and other social activities;
  • commercial and other service buildings and complexes;
  • residential buildings, incl. mixed use;
  • hotels and restaurants for dining and entertainment;
  • gas station, overground and underground garages and car parks;
  • buildings, networks and facilities of the technical infrastructure.

There are no declared sites – immovable cultural property within the mandatory scope. In the immediate vicinity of the territory are located the following immovable cultural properties and objects related to the city memory:

  • Southeast: landscaping alongside Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard - declared as a monument of the garden-park art;
  • South: educational, hospital and administrative building of the Ministry of Health, former Mother’s Home - declared as an architectural monument of local importance;
  • Southeast, north and southwest: Knyaginya Maria Luiza and Hristo Botev boulevards are part of protected territories of open public cultural and historical spaces;
  • Southwest: The Algiers and Mother’s Home gardens are part of the Green Memory of Sofia Theme Park.

Full details of the Master Plan provisions can be found at : and

According to the provisions of the project Integrated Plan for Urban Regeneration and Development of the City of Sofia for the Period 2014-2020, approved by Decision № 722/19.12.2013 of the Sofia Municipal Council, the territory falls within the Zone for Public Functions with High Public Significance 01 Center.

The Integrated Plan for Urban Regeneration and Development of the City of Sofia for the Period 2014-2020 characterizes the areas around the Central Train Station as a point urban generator with a potential for a secondary city center. The plan envisages realization of the following project ideas:

  • • within the territory concerned:
    • reconstruction and rehabilitation of street network - pavements, pedestrian alleys and sidewalks, creating an accessible environment: Struga Street, between Opalchenska Street and Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard; Hristo Botev Boulevard between Struga Street and Slivnitsa Boulevard;
    • complete renovation of the engineering infrastructure on Struga Street between Opalchenska Street and Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard;
    • designing and building a new breakthrough under the railway lines as a continuation of Hristo Botev Boulevard;
    • (completed) renovation and implementation of energy efficiency measures, equipment and furnishing of administrative buildings located in the area of the Central Train Station
  • в непосредствена близост до разглежданата територията:
    • complete renovation of the engineering infrastructure of Hristo Botev Boulevard between Struga Street and Slivnitsa Boulevard;
    • introduction of energy-saving street lighting on Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard from Predgarov Square to Ekzarh Yosif Street;
    • renovation and reconstruction of Algeria and Mother’s Home gardens and the children's playgrounds located within their areas;
    • renovation and implementation of energy efficiency measures for multifamily residential buildings, framing Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard;
    • renovation and implementation of measures for energy efficiency of the Sofia Municipality building - Serdika Region;
    • renovation and implementation of energy efficiency measures for the Urban Mobility Center building;
    • reorganization of Klokotnitsa tram depot into a center for youth activities

Full information about the provisions of the Integrated Plan for Urban Regeneration and Development of the City of Sofia for the Period 2014-2020 can be found at:

Construction and regulation plans are approved for the territory under consideration, but they do not offer the full potential for realization of the ideas set out in the Master Plan of the Sofia Municipality as a complex service center. This calls for search of a new solution that offers not only the development of the territory under consideration, but also the possibilities for its full and conflict-free connection with the surrounding territories and their parallel development.

3.Project objectives

The architectural idea completion aims to give architects the freedom to propose their own vision for the future development of the area around the Central Train Station and its establishment as a Secondary City Center.

Objectives include:

  • clarification of the overall strategy on the formation, content and profiling of individual secondary city centers;
  • proposal for structure, volume and spatial construction and functional content of the Secondary City Center - Central Train Station;
  • clarification of new, additional opportunities for transport-communication access, including pedestrian and bicycle;
  • clarification of the possibilities for gradual construction of the sites in the area;
  • clarification of possible funding models (public-private partnerships, public lending, etc.), including a possible model for compensating private property owners falling within the mandatory scope

With a view to achieving the objectives described, each participant may present and defend specific indicators for planning and construction for the area under consideration, subject to the provisions of the Master Plan.

The functional allocation within the territory under consideration should be in line with the capabilities for Zone C2, as the percentage ratio between the individual functions remaining the choice of the author.


This program defines the basic requirements for the project documentation. It should be borne in mind that the program covers only a part of the constraints imposed by the size, location and ownership of the territory and does not restrict the project team in the process of defining and assessing the functional needs of future inhabitants, as well as the search of a comprehensive and perspective solution. This means that the design process should seek a comprehensive solution to the problems arising from the condition of the area under consideration and not only cover the main points mentioned in this terms of reference.

The project proposal, subject to this terms of reference, should indicate possibilities for achieving a publicly accessible, healthy and safe environment by presenting a development concept that will create conditions for interaction between the different groups of current and future inhabitants of the territory.

The development concept should include:

  • • A volume and spatial study to show possible scenarios for functional allocation, horizontally and vertically, in line with the Master Plan’s provisions. The study should:
    • propose variant (s) for a complete and conflict-free connection of the site Predgradov Square Rotunda, situated in Regulated Land Property I - for commerce and parking, district 92, to the territory located south of Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard, by presenting a summarized functional and spatial solution for changing the way in which the existing spaces are used in long term;
    • propose variant (s) for inclusion of the considered territory in the existing public and business, social and cultural, recreational, residential and communal as well as transport and engineering-technical infrastructures by presenting a summarized functional and spatial solution for the individual building sites, including variant (s) for their outlines and volumes so as to comply with the legally permissible measures, distances and density of construction, with a maximum permissible height of up to 75 m;
    • propose a generalized design of the surrounding area of the envisaged building sites within the territory;
    • assess the existing passages to the site and propose a new concept for pedestrian, bicycle and car accessibility, including to and from the territories located to the north of the railway area;
    • suggest a generalized solution of the engineering networks within the territory if this is essential for the functional solution.

  • Concept of realization and management of building sites from the proposed functional allocation, which may include a proposal for phased implementation.

It is advisable for the development concept to propose more than two basic functions in the functional allocation to help create a comprehensive, multifunctional and lively environment throughout the day. Proposals should look for such a combination of horizontal and vertically distributed functions that contribute to a permanent human presence in the considered territory.

It is important to take into account the nearby Algiers and Mother’s Home gardens and the opportunities for short stay and recreation they provide. Attention should also be paid to the opportunities for development of the commercial areas of the Predgarod Square - Rotunda and the ways in which the development of the Secondary City Center can be functionally completed.

It is advisable to build new and strengthen the existing pedestrian links to and from the area under consideration in order to increase accessibility and active use of existing and newly planned public spaces. Priority should be given to the possible pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard in order to ensure better connectivity of the Secondary City Center with the public spaces of the Main City Center. It is advisable to consider the possibility of building additional buffer parking lots within the recommended scope, including by using the existing local lanes on Knyaginya Maria Luiza Boulevard.

The development concept should comply with:

  • The forthcoming realization of the site Design and Construction of a New Breakthrough under the Railway Lines as a Continuation of Hristo Botev Boulevard;
  • Existing infrastructure;
  • The concept provided for in the Master Plan of Sofia Municipality for spatial continuity of the system of open and covered public spaces, which is expressed in the requirement for landscaping of public access spaces in an area of not less than 10% of the built-up area in each plot within zone C2.

The analysis of the existing situation should be an integral part of the design process and of the project proposals and should serve to make informed decisions about the subsequent planning and development of the Secondary City Center.

Competition proposals should be developed taking into account the provisions of the master plan and creating favourable conditions for future investment projects.


1. The competition information in .pdf
2. DWG documentation and others in .zip archive
2.1. Floor plans of Rotonda - added on 20.04.2018
3. Board technical requirements in .zip archive
4. Photos

The following materials are provided for the work of the participants within the recommended scope:

  • excerpt from current regulation and building plans, dwg* file;
  • excerpt from a groundwater pipeline and facilities plan, dwg* file;
  • orthophoto plan, jpg* file;
  • excerpt of the cadastral map, including information about the type of land ownership, dwg and pdf files;
  • Instructions for graphic design of the competition boards.

Note: *Extracts are collected in a single file. All files in dwg format are in BGS 2005 Geodesic Coordinate System. Files are available on the Organizer’s website and on this link.

Additional information:



Competition developments must be placed on a maximum of 3 (three) boards in format 70/100 cm - printed on a 5 mm thick foam board.
The board orientation must be vertical.
All boards must include a linear scale.
Board No. 1 must include the following

Situational solution for the mandatory scope - on an excerpt of the cadastral map - scale M 1:1000 or 1:500.

All other materials, prepared by the participant, such as plans, incisions, silhouettes, schemes, perspective views, photomontages, etc., can be placed at his/her choice on the boards.

The design of the competition boards must follow the instructions and schemes provided by the Organizer.

Explanatory texts to the project should be printed on the boards and not provided separately.
Additional boards and other materials (models, videos, animations, etc.) are not allowed.


The official languages of the competition are Bulgarian and English.
The explanatory text and all letterings in the drawings must be in Bulgarian and English language for the purposes of the jury and publication of the projects.
Project proposals should be developed and submitted in the International System of Measurement Units (SI)..



VIZAR Foundation

Address: Sofia 1527, 11 P. Volov Street

phone: 00359 2 944 18 01

GSM: 00359 887 49 53 93

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contact person: arch. Gergana Kocheva

The competition is organized with the assistance of Architecture and Urban Development Directorate within Sofia Municipality.


  1. The competition is one-staged.
  2. The competition is open.
  3. The competition is organized as part of the European Architecture Awards VIZAR 2018.
  4. Awards:
    1. First premium - BGN 10 000 (ten thousand Bulgarian levs)
    2. Second premium – BGN 5 000 (five thousand Bulgarian levs)
    3. Third premium - BGN 3 000 (three thousand Bulgarian levs)
  5. The copyrights of the not awarded projects shall remain property of the competitors.
  6. The copyrights of the awarded projects shall become full property of the Organizers. The Organizers may transfer the copyrights of the awarded projects to third parties without the author’s consent.
  7. Upon completion of the exhibition, within 10 (ten) working days, unremunerated participants may receive their boards back from the Organizer at the address indicated by the later. Upon expiration of this period, unclaimed boards remain in Organizer's possession.
  8. The boards may only be received back by the participants at the address specified by the Organizer.
  9. The Organizer is not bound by returning the boards through courier services.


All Bulgarian architects and urban planners, working in Bulgaria and abroad and holding a master’s degree, are entitled to participate

Each participant has the right to take part in the competition with only 1 (one) project.


1. The start of the competition is 30 March 2018
2. Deadline for submitting questions is 14 May 2018.
3. Deadline for providing answers to the questions is 18 May 2018.
4. Deadline for registration is 22 May 2018.
5. Deadline for submitting competition projects is 31 May 2018.
6. Exhibition of the projects - 5/6 - 10 June 2018.
7. Evaluation by the jury of the submitted projects - 8 and 9 June 2018.
8. Awards Ceremony – 9 June 2018


  1. The registration is done electronically.
  2. It is necessary to send a request to participate by filling in a form, which can be found at the Competition’s website.
  3. Received registrations will be confirmed with a reverse email containing the participant’s entry number.
  4. Those who have not received an e-mail confirmation within three business days, may use the contact details provided by the Organizer to receive additional information.


  1. Questions can be sent to the Competition’s e-mail address no later than 12 April 2018.
  2. Questions sent through other communication channels will not be accepted, except for the ones related to registration of participants.
  3. All answers to the questions received will be publicly available on the Competition’s website.


  1. Projects should be submitted on a 5 mm foam board;
  2. Each participant has the right to no more than 3 (three) boards with dimensions 70/100 cm - vertically oriented.
  3. When submitting the projects, 1 (one) digital media (CD) shall be handed over as well. It shall contain the following information:
    1. Competition boards in files with .tiff format, in real dimensions 70/100 cm, with a resolution of 300 dpi - up to 3 (three) pcs.;
    2. Competition boards in files with .jpg format for the purposes of on-line (web publishing), with a file size of no more than 500 kb, with a resolution of 72 dpi - up to 3 (three) pcs;
  4. The projects must be submitted no later than 4 p.m. on 31 May 2018, at:

VIZAR Foundation

Address: Sofia 1527, 11 P. Volov Street

phone: 00359 2 944 18 01

GSM: 00359 887 49 53 93

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contact person: arch. Gergana Kocheva

for VIZAR 2018

When submitting the project, the participant will receive the corresponding confirmation.
Receipt by courier is possible only upon delivery of the projects to the address specified by the Organizer, within the specified delivery period.


The official languages of the competition are Bulgarian and English.


The names of the authors must be present on all boards.
The Organizers specify the exact schemes for placement of information labels and logos of the Competition.


The composition of the international jury will be presented by the Organizer and publicly announced on the Competition’s website.


Exhibition dates from 5 to 10 June 2018.
All projects will be publicly exhibited at the National Art Gallery, Alexander I Square, Sofia.
The Organizer reserves the right to publish the competition projects and results.