Our proposal for the new center of Borovets is designed as a typological and landscape reinterpretation of Rila Monastery. In spite of the great differences of program, history, scale and environment, we think that Rila Monastery can be understood as a contemporary system.Surrounded by a spectacular natural landscape, Rila Monastery builds an interior ecosystem fully integrated into the surrounding environment. The main church of Rila Monastery is located in the center of a magnificent interior landscape surrounded by a four-story arcaded structure.
STEP 1. Inner forest.
If we travel across time and space, we can adapt Rila Monastery to the environment features of the “Golden Triangle” of Borovets. The first transformation is an inner courtyard formed by a forest of firs. In fact, Rila Monastery already has a small group of fir trees inside.
STEP 2. Trees protection.
In turn, all these trees require a protective distance to avoid being damaged by nearby buildings. With the aim of not cutting any tree that is in good status, the diameters of protection of the roots predetermine the geometry and shape of the courtyard.
STEP 3. Perimeter arcade.
The permeability of the inner arcade of Rila Monastery contrasts with the defensive nature of its exterior walls. The travel across time that we suggest forces us to open the building to the urban environment of Borovets. In this sense, we propose a permeable perimeter arcade, as a new urban covered space to enhance the life and activity of Borovets.
STEP 4. Fragmentation and evolution.
Although the perimeter arcade is continuous throughout the Golden Triangle, the building is fragmented into three volumes, located in those places where trees allow it. On the other hand, the arcade allows for phased construction while giving the whole environmental unit and formal coherence.
In terms of program and activity, we propose a flexible system able to adapt to future requirements and needs of Borovets. We give flexibility to architecture and landscape not only by different types of programs but also by their temporality, hybridization, evolution and useful surface. Temporary stalls build city as well as larger surface programs such as sports halls or conference rooms. The mixture of both ensures a vibrant urban life.
The viability of the New Center of Borovets relies upon different factors such as the ability to adapt to future requirements over time. Through the construction of a perimeter arcade it is possible to structure the apparent chaos of the current buildings in the Golden Triangle. This action is considered as an initial stage awaiting for the construction of future phases. Nevertheless, each phase is designed as an autonomous state.
Architecture and landscape have been synchronized with the seasonal changes. Our aim is to adapt to the different environmental conditions to enhance Borovets as an all year round tourist destination. The relationship between indoor and landscape activities has been established regarding the distance to different programs such as the porch, the squares, the playgrounds, the adventure zone and the inner walkways. Ground floor programs are delimited by circular squares towards landscape and by the arcade towards the urban environment. Thus, the activities take place between the landscape and the architecture, between circular squares and the equipped arcade. On the other hand, the perimeter construction together with the arcade and the interior trees, build an ecosystem isolated from the noise and activity of Borovets. Thus, there is a gradual transition between the bustling activity of the arcade and the tranquility of the interior squares.
Due to most trees are evergreen firs, the understory layer will show the greatest transformation between summer and winter. The meadow of wild plants and flowers will appear spontaneously in the spring, and its growth will be enhanced, as well as those endemic plants protected or at risk of extinction. All pavements located in the landscape are draining to allow rainwater filtration towards the roots and to avoid waterlogging. To promote biodiversity, we propose the construction of small nests for birds, as well as rock areas to favor the refuge of fauna.
In winter, ski resort takes a central role. We propose that skiers can enter the interior of Golden Triangle, as well as up to the middle of the street located on the northeast side. The squares located in the landscape are transformed into ice rinks or places to play with snow. Exterior spaces linked to interior programs are delimited by glass enclosures to allow their use in winter. On the one hand, the covered arcade enhance the development of activities despite the inclement weather and on the other hand, the elevated walkways allow the tour inside landscape despite the snow or rain.
In summer, the activities located in the landscape multiply and, in turn, the interior spaces open up towards natural environment. Ice rinks become roller skating areas and ski slopes become bike lanes. New activities appear such as adventure park, open-air cinema, botanical garden, recreation places, playgrounds, etc.
Although the organization of the program is flexible and adaptable to different requirements, it is proposed that stores and restaurants are located mainly on the ground floor and first floor, although they also arise on higher floors linked to other programs. There is an open exhibition area for tourist information or other purposes, in the widening of the perimeter arcade, while in the mezzanine level there is an interior exhibition area. Administrative areas and health services are located on upper floors. Sports areas and VIP accommodations are located on top floor.
The three buildings are linked not only by the ground floor through the arcade and the interior walkways, but also by elevated walkways located on the upper level of the arcade. These footbridges are also configured as recreational areas to enjoy the landscape.
Following diagram set up the potential activities able to develop according to surface, temporality, actitvity and degree of hybridization.
Covered public spaces. The arcade.
The perimeter arcade is designed as a vibrant urban space capable of hosting numerous activities and enhancing the life of Borovets. The arcade is adapted to the different situations along the Golden Triangle with the aim of generating new public spaces such as squares, temporary markets, exhibition areas, walkways, etc...
Temporary markets, exhibition areas, elevated walkway for building connection, square, arcade, probable future development of arcade.
Open public spaces.
The interior landscape of the Golden Triangle is set up around circular squares that host different activities such as playgrounds, open-air cinema, zip lines, ice rinks ... Some of these squares are located on the outer edge to allow for greater permeability towards the interior landscape.
In order to ensure universal accessibility we have limited the use of the car by enhancing pedestrian routes. In this sense, the arcade, walkways and squares together with other types of mobility systems such as skiers or bicycle lanes build a sustainable environment.
Programs are not only defined by their use but also by their temporality. Thus, fixed programs, expandable programs and temporary programs are proposed. The expandable programs allow optimizing outdoor spaces according to the seasons, whether summer or winter. While the temporary programs, like markets, allow other dynamics and rhythms of the life of Borovets.
The programmatic richness is followed by a wide range of sizes of usable areas. In this sense, we proposed programs ranging from 7 sqm, as temporary stalls, to multi-sport pavilions of 700 sqm. In order to ensure optimal operation of interior programs, the stairs, elevators, services and facilities are hosted in perimeter bands.
Due to the adaptability of the building to the trees position, not even 2% of trees in good condition have been felled. For this reason, a protection distance has been established according to the roots, drainage, brunches and treetops. Tree felled due to their poor condition, will be reused as construction material for playgrounds, pavements, railings and landscape design. Stumps of felled trees will be left as tracks.
The outcome is a hybrid project between the cultural and architectural tradition of Rila Monastery and Borovets with the natural environment of the fir forest. Our proposal is fully integrated in the Golden Triangle ecosystem and in the urban life of Borovets.
The building is formed by a structural system of laminated wooden beams and cross-laminated wooden slabs. The roof beam has a bigger section to hang the cantilever of the beams towards the landscape and not to affect the roots. The closest pillars to the trees are supported by reinforced concrete corbels connected to the reinforced concrete pile walls of the underground level. In this way, the structure moves away from the tree protection distance without the need of great structural boasts.
El sistema estructural está formado por la estructura de madera laminada del pórtico urbano y las vigas de canto también de madera laminada del resto del edificio sobre la que se apoyan forjados de madera contralaminada. La viga de la cubierta presenta un mayor canto para colgar los voladizos de las vigas hacia el paisaje y no afectar a las raíces. Los pilares más cercanos hacia el paisaje se apoyan en ménsulas de hormigón armado recibidas al muro de pilotes de hormigón armado del aparcamiento. De esta forma, la estructura se aleja de los 15 m. de protección de las raíces sin la necesidad de grandes alardes estructurales.
The double ventilated roof ensures that the snow stored on the top does not thaw due to the interior temperature of the building, while the double facade works as a solar collector or as a large ventilated air chamber depending on the orientation.
La doble cubierta ventilada garantiza que la nieve almacenada en la cubierta no se deshiele debido a la temperatura interior del edificio, mientras que la doble fachada dependiendo de la orientación funcionará como un captador solar o como una gran cámara de aire ventilada.
For the climate control of interior spaces, the installation of geothermal wells will be used.
Para la climatización de los espacios interiores se recurrirá a la instalación de pozos de geotermia.
The urban furniture located in the arcade is designed following the traditional system of wicker furniture, but made by flexible recycled polypropylene tubes braided to the pillars of the arcade to form bins, benches or exhibition panels.
El mobiliario urbano localizado en el pórtico se ejecuta siguiendo el sistema tradicional de los muebles de mimbre, pero realizado mediante tubos de polipropileno reciclado flexible trenzados a los pilares del pórtico para formar papeleras, bancos o paneles expositivos.