Collider Activity Center: Sofia Architecture

Collider Activity Center in Sofia, Bulgarian Design Competition Images, Architect

Collider Activity Center, Sofia : Bulgarian Architecture Competition

Architectural Contest design by Archi+ Architecture Studio

15 Mar 2013

Collider Activity Center in Sofia

Design: Archi+ Architecture Studio, Malta

Location: Sofia, central Bulgaria

Competition entry for the Collider Activity Center in Sofia, Bulgaria

Regarding the building:

From the given brief, it was easy to observe that the driving notion behind the set objectives for the project was to empower the ‘active man’; almost as if to say that being physically active brings the interested person in a state where success is perceived as being held in increasingly reachable places. An idea then derived to amplify this notion in such a way to conceive a wavelength of physical activity that breaches onto a spiritual level; a ‘temple’ for the active man. It seems to instigate a solemn facet to being a physically active person.

Collider Activity Center in Sofia Collider Activity Center in Bulgaria Collider Activity Center in Sofia Bulgaria Competition entry Collider Activity Center in Sofia Bulgaria Competition design
images from architects

The building composes itself by distributing its footprint on a 7 meter thick, 22 meter high wall which forms an extended ‘C’ shape along the site. The different functions and spaces are then either integrated directly within this wall or found in white-meshed volumes which puncture this wall at different points.

This wall can then be called the ‘spinal chord’ of the building; as it not only sustains it physically but also functionally; feeding it by providing accesses to its different parts. Within this same wall, other large rectangular holes are found. Such lacuna’s hold shaded terrace spaces for all the areas of the project, often containing patches of greenery which offer brisk contrast to the rest of the building language.

At ground level, a ‘yard space’ is included on the inner part of the mentioned ‘C’ space. This is where the swimming pools are found, surrounded by a sandy area. The soft undulating sand then further breaks through the concrete wall, flowing directly onto the external park behind the main building.

Collider Activity Center in Sofia Collider Activity Center in Bulgaria Collider Activity Center in Sofia Bulgaria Competition entry Collider Activity Center in Sofia Bulgaria Competition design
images from architects

The park itself finds its spaces divided by an elevated 4 meter pathway which rises up to a 7 meter height through gentle ramps, taking the casual visitor on a walk overlooking the different park activities beneath them; to then gently arrive back at ground level through equally easy ramps. Among such activities, one finds the external performing stage, the Ropetopia, with due concept design ideas, the greenhouse and a sparse series of sandy areas; each of which can hold the boulders forming a fragmented boulder park.

Back to the main building, another important thought resides in the way the different functions are distributed around the complex. An intrinsic sense of adventure is woven in the way the building leads every one of its users through differently enclosed spaces to reach their destination; continuously blurring the definition of ‘enclosure’ by a spatial narrative that gently switches between completely enclosed, shaded by thick concrete walls with thin slits, shaded by a light white steel mesh, shaded by trees; flanked by digitally controlled water curtains (showing writings/announcements and interacting with the public); and other spatial boundaries; strategically planned to better define the journey towards being completely exposed in the open.

The way the building distributes its functions together with the nature of the translucent ‘mesh volumes’ furthermore holds the advantage of having something of the sort of a constant ‘exploded’ view of the different functions of the building; enabling its users to have a constant overview of what is happening in the different parts of the building; showcasing the variety of activities happening at the same time within the complex.

Energy matters were held high in the design approach priorities through an array of concepts which enabled the different parts of the building to ‘aid’ one another in terms of energy production and consumption. An example of such concept is our proposal to use the Integrated Concentrating (IC) Solar Façade System (or any other similar system) technology being developed by the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology to effectively integrate solar-gaining infrastructure within the large amounts of glazing needed for the high 600 square-meter greenhouse volume.

Collider Activity Center in Sofia Collider Activity Center in Bulgaria Collider Activity Center in Sofia Bulgaria Competition entry
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Such concept helps power the similarly large external recreational swimming pool to be adequately heated. Additionally, other solar panels have been designed into the building roof with the strong hope that the pool be completely solar powered. This proposal deals with instilling in its users a serene and peaceful state of being within the active framework which the building is meant to portray.

Archi+ Studio, Malta (MT)

Collider Activity Center in Sofia images / information from Archi+ Architecture Studio from the island of Malta

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria, southeastern Europe

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