The assignment for this single-family residential building in Sofia conceptually and poetically connected with our vision of contemporary architecture and is a direction that we consider architecturally exciting. The project examines the theme of the permeable boundary between urban and private spaces, between shared and individual areas inside the home, and seeks its own architectural answers to the functional questions of the assignment.

The challenges in this task were mainly two: on the one hand, the need to reconcile the rich housing program with the not very large property; and on the other hand, the desire of the owners for a singular aesthetic of the building, which is not predetermined and which moves away from the typical idea of ​​a house, permanently established within Bulgarian construction. An additional point of reference for the project, based on the assignment and location, is the old residential building within the property –  in poor physical condition but possessing the architectural merits of a representative of the anonymous architectural-building tradition in the area through the variety of materials and techniques used on the facades and floor finishes.



In response to these several aspects, our project works with spaces that are diverse in character and morphologically complex – ones that offer a new take on the property and its habitation. Inspired in part by museum architecture, the project adapts elements such as an interior ramp, a spacious entrance, double height spaces, etc., and introduces into the house the idea of ​​an architectural walk and a sought-after change of perspective in the course of movement through the spaces (parallax), all interpreted within the reduced residential scale. The three developed levels, nestled between the entrance and the ground floor backyard, allow for the gradual and almost cinematographic unveiling of the diverse interior scenes alongside the ramp. The two vertical interior voids help reinforce the various visual and conceptual connections between the two floors, creating a sense of openness and scale.



The main approach to the house yard is discreetly positioned on the side of the cars parked within the property, yet just outside the semi-permeable boundary of the concrete fence and metal gates set back from the street. In this fence, the abstract, almost raw look of the concrete was deliberately sought after, while behind it the materially richer facades (and inner life) of the house itself are revealed. The circular opening in the fence alludes to the peephole from the recent past, aligning with the desire for visual connectedness between spaces.

The facade structure is divided between a more restrained ground floor, finished with exposed concrete, and a second, more vibrant level, clad in mixed masonry, partly reusing materials from the old building on site. Incorporating the memory and character of the place into the new house is an essential aspect of the design, but one that is interpreted critically, without any direct borrowings.



The yard is divided into several parts – an external parking area, an intermediate front yard, and “pocket” terraces on one side of the house. The southern yard is both intimately secluded and distinctly “carved inwards” towards the house, creating an unusual sloped green space for play and art display.



A straight staircase stretches along the length of the house, leading to the accessible roof. The last steps are oriented towards the mountain, intentionally positioned to provide a view. The roof is richly landscaped and naturally flows down through the stairs to the lower levels and the yard.

Project lead:

Antonina Ilieva, Gergana Georgieva


Malinova Dolina, Sofia, Bulgaria

Project year: