ACTION! Towards a neighbourhood practice

One Architecture Week celebrates its ninth edition this October with a strongly built program and diverse formats, some of which will remain as a permanent intervention after the end of the event. The international festival dedicated to architecture and urban environment follows the practice from the previous two years, in which the main theme is focused on a certain place – Kapana (2014.) and the River (2015.).  The director of OAW Ljubo Georgiev decided in 2016 to concentrate the program in the third largest district in the country – Trakiya, Plovdiv. The Romanian studioBASAR is the curatorial team. The preliminary preparation of the event included site-specific research and non-formal conversations with the residents of the neighbourhood about their views and needs, extensive studies on historical facts related to “panelki” and the involvement of the local people in cultivation of their personal and public spaces as a shared responsibility and revealing the potential of architecture as an activator for a more comfortable, intelligent and beautiful way of living.

The program is targeted to support the motto ACTION! Towards a neighbourhood practice and is quite diverse and interesting; here we select a few suggestions not to miss while in Plovdiv and Trakiya neighbourhood:

— the exhibition LIVING SPACES;

<<30% of the population of Bulgaria lives in panelki. Constructed en masse, the concrete residences gained a reputation for monotony and lifelessness. The neighbourhood of Trakiya, designed in the 1970s, attempted to differentiate. The architects experimented based on their ideas of social living, stepping the blocks, and placing them in organic configurations  to create contrast and a sense of individuality. The inhabitants moved in eagerly, carrying with them their own ideas of living. The small apartment boxes were quickly filled, and the transformations seeped beyond their walls. The balconies pushed out and were glazed in, becoming kitchens, kids rooms and bedrooms, layering them with sun blocking fabrics, foils, lace, solar panels and parasols. The facades started reading like a patchwork, as the people living within expressed themselves. Around the blocks, neighbours planted gardens together and built structures for gathering with any materials they could find. Led by ideas of ownership, individuality and the changing needs of everyday life they created, and continue to create their own living spaces.>>

permanent interventions: one of the best side-effects of organising the event in Trakiya neighbourhood is the chance of approaching its people and engaging them into the creation of playgrounds or common places to gather and relax; the permanent structures were designed by several international studios after a brief based on numerous conversations with the locals and their needs;

— the book Almanac of Prefab Trakiya

— the interactive map 30 Locations in Trakiya

— for the first time in the festival’s history a documentary has been shot featuring a conversation between some of the architects who were working on the building of Trakiya – Do You Know the Architects?

forum: even though each one of the invited speakers has certainly an inspiring story to share, it is Momoyo Kaijima(Atelier Bow-Wow) and Jan Gehl who are the most prominent and well-known stars.

One Architecture Week has all the prerequisites to be a most formidable and meaningful event.

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