THE DESIGN FOR THE CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL ST. JOSEPH IN SOFIA IS READY, newspaper Construction City, issue 20, May.2002
The Pope will inaugurate and bless the construction of the new Catholic cathedral during his visit to Sofia.
The municipal council of territorial planning recently approved the preliminary design, created by architects Konstantin Peev and Russi Rashkov from EKSA LTD, aided by Arch. G. Gujgulov. The design team has started the working phase of the project. The technical design will be approved before the Pope comes to Bulgaria.
During the creation of the preliminary project EKSA's architects have taken into account the major requirements of the National Institute of Listed Buildings, the most important of which was that the archeological artifacts remain outside the construction. The endeavor to combine elements from different styles - the Florentine Renaissance, the Gothic period, and modernistic elements presented a challenge to the designers, acclaimed for their substantial experience with restoration and reconstruction of listed buildings, and with religious temples architecture. This aesthetical approach characterizes post-modernist architecture, explained Arch. K. Peev - manager of EKSA LTD and leader of the design team. His professional biography includes projects with: conservation and restoration works of the East Gate of the medieval fortress "Serdika-Sredets"; conservation and display of the church "St. Spas", of the archaic ruins inside the building of Bulbank's central branch, of the "St. Sofia" church, and of the Sofia synagogue; partial conservation and restoration of the National Gallery of Art, a.k.a. the King's Palace; reconstruction and restoration of the Ministry of Agriculture, and of listed buildings such as those of PARIBA and the museum of Ivan Vasov; design for an orthodox church "Sveta Bogoroditsa" in Malashevtsi.
"Our team went through about 50 different versions to complete the final design of the 3-part group of buildings. The cathedral was to be situated on the site of the demolished church in the north-west part of the property, while the small square-piacetta had to open the crossing of the Alexandrov Blvd and Kniaz Boris Street. The specialized municipal council chose to turn it around. It is interesting that with Italian Renaissance elements, we are trying to introduce the spirit of the Italian religious tradition in Bulgaria. The clergy accepted enthusiastically the design. We chose this approach because of an almost complete absence of traditions in the construction of Catholic cathedrals here. The contemporary characteristics form a consonance with the explosive expansion of the western sections of Sofia," said Arch. Peev. The design stipulates the use of natural materials and modern construction technology. Interior, lighting, acoustics and landscape designs are yet to be developed.
Author: Natalia Semkova