"We shape our buildings, therefore they shape us," said Winston Churchill and although he was a politician and not an architect, we only have to look around to realise that he was right.
The cities are full with examples for planning and architecture that are a true document of the period of their creation: the scale of Roman construction imposes the might of the empire, and the light proportions of the Renaissance convey the idea of man as the measure of everything. Today, experiment with shape and materials combines with clear understanding of the environment's functionality and energy efficiency, in accordance with the public opinion towards greener living, comfort and interest in bold architectural solutions.
In Bulgaria, after a period when new construction was rather chaotic and was defined completely by the whims of the investors, a group of developers and architects appeared and made a name of people for whom aesthetics and responsible attitude toward the environment are not empty words, but one of the main goals of their investments and professional work.
During the design process Studio А & А Architects (Sofia, Mladost 4, Business Park Sofia, Building 1-А, fl. 3, phone: +359 2 489 9999, www.aaa.bg) pays special attention to the care for the environment. "When we talk about sustainability of the buildings, besides aspects of preservation of the environment like lower energy consumption, better energy efficiency, use of recyclable materials, etc., we need to have in mind also the attitude of the buildings to the urban environment, their long-term exploitation, the options for easy future transformation and a longer life cycle of the investment," says architect Angel Zahariev, manager of А & А Architects. For him, contemporary requirements should not be omitted during work on a project. "Construction is a long process, particularly in large projects, and the world around us is rapidly changing," explains architect Zahariev. "That is why in design we always have to look further into the future and to aim at applying innovations. In every project we need to find particular innovative solutions to serve as project's advantages without making it more expensive." How the studio finds the balance between the architect's and the client's creative, aesthetic and ethical views on the building? "In our work we aim to build a strong relationship with the clients and to be their partners in the process of investment realisation from the initial ideas to time of its operation," says architect Zahariev. "We try to understand the real goals of the client and to recreate them in the best possible shape and function for the particular task, but in consistency with the location, the context of the environment, the new trends in architecture. In design we always ask ourselves how, protecting the investor's interests, our projects will positively change the environment and will develop the city, the country, and the region. We believe that this strategy works, because we already have several very positive examples: Business Park Sofia, Muzeiko, Capital Fort," adds architect Zahariev.
The good architect realises his responsibility to shaping the urban environment and stands up to his principles and vision, while taking in consideration the investor's requirements. This is the only way for the appearance of projects with individuality and character, where it is a pleasure to live, work, and relax, or simply to pass by.
LP Group: Architecture as a passion
Strong desire for the best: this is what unites the clients of LP Group architecture studio (Sofia, 12-16 Dragan Tsankov Blvd, phone: +359 2 816 30 70, www.lpconsult.info, www.lpgroup.bg). What tells them apart are the specific projects. Blocks of flats, gated communities, office buildings, hotels, malls: LP Group covers all genres of civil architecture and for its almost 30 years of activity has built a reputation for an organisation that doesn't compromise with its ambitions, and which loves challenges and overcoming them. LP Group and its founder, architect Atanas Panov, have several Building of the Year and Architect of the Year awards. The projects with their trademark are among the most recognisable buildings in Sofia and Bulgaria (like Ellipse Center, The Needle, Holiday Inn Hotel). However, architect Panov's philosophy for tight connection between location, functionality and aesthetics lies as well in the foundations of a number of apartment buildings and family houses, which might lack grand names, but create in their inhabitants the rare and desired feel of comfort and tranquility.
According to the European Commission's data, buildings make up to 40 percent of the energy consumption in the EU, and are the reason for 36 percent of the total CO2 emissions. In times when climate change is about to become irreversible, the improvement of energy efficiency of new and old buildings is an important priority. The technologies, which are able to make this possible, are developing quickly and on the market are already excellent solutions that don't make compromise between energy efficiency and comfort of inhabitation.
Passive Houses by DIDPROEKT: The homes of future
Times are changing, technologies are getting better and our views on how a building should look and how much energy it should consume evolve – the era of passive construction is at our doorstep. Its advantages are many: it provides optimal comfort to the inhabitants without the need of heating and cooling installations, thus reducing the utility bills and the impact on the environment. That is why it is expected that from 2020 onwards passive buildings will be introduced as a norm in the EU. To stay ahead of the future, create your new, green, comfortable and economy home with the help of DIDPROEKT (phone: +359 88 899 4447, www.didproekt.net). The studio is a member of the International Passive House Association, and its owner architect Ivan Ivanov is a certified designer of passive houses from the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, Germany. The specialists in DIDPROEKT design passive buildings following the Passive House standard and offer modification of older buildings into passive ones after the EnerPHit standard. The company offers as well help in all stages of investment design, preliminary study and consulting, preparation of conceptual, technical and operational project documentation of residential, public and industrial buildings.
Even the best constructed building, however, will remain an empty shell without any significance, if there are no people in it. The aim of the aesthetic, functional and modern interior is to be the live connection between the human and the building. Achieving such interior, however, is not that easy. Trends and fashions in interior change more rapidly than ones in urban planning and architecture due to the shorter periods for their implementation. Here comes the role of the interior architect and designer – the professionals in the field are capable to create interior spaces that are simultaneously comfortable, with good allocation, and reflecting the individuality of their inhabitants.
Studio Aprime: Discovering the soul of the building
Architecture and interior design are much more than putting beautiful pieces of furniture and accessories in functional spaces. Designing of buildings and designing of interiors are connected with links that can be noticed, made sense of and used for achieving better functionality and more options for possible solutions only by a skilled, competent architect. Architect Bogdan Bekov's Studio Aprime (phone: +359 887 885 740, www.aprime.bg) has established itself throughout the years as a place where a team of highly-qualified architects and engineers help the clients not only to turn their ideas into a reality, but to end up with interiors and exteriors that fit the highest requirements of aesthetics, functionality, modernity. The studio offers complete services' portfolio – from exterior projects and design of private houses to full interior solutions. For achieving a one-of-a-kind and absolutely individual result for each client, Aprime collaborates with established manufacturers, designers and artists.
ATM Studio: From A to a Finished Project
When your desire to renovate the interior of your home or office, or to create an entirely new space for your family or business is strong, but you lack ideas, choose ATM Studio (Sofia, 3 Tsanko Tserkovski St, phones: 359 2 866 11 18, 359 2 866 10 77, www.studioatm.com). The studio's team is with you from the birth of the idea to the conscious artistic and architectural and functional search, and the achievement of the effect you are looking for. The professionals at ATM Studio aim to use natural materials in spaces and volumes to create comfort that is simultaneously close to the human and the nature. The architectural solutions and the organisation of the different functional and programme requirements is in the direction of maximum mobility and options for achieving diverse solutions in the same contour, regardless of whether the project in question is on urban or residential space, an administrative, industrial, sport or public building. To make you feel confident in the end result, ATM Studio offers the full range of services: preliminary survey, architecture design, complex design, consultation, schematic design, and construction administration.
There is no building, house, public space that looks good and is truly functional, sustainable and energy efficient if it is not made with the best materials. Every compromise during construction guarantees future exploitation and aesthetic problems. The care for the tiniest detail reveals a responsible attitude from the developer to the environment and its inhabitants. Which brings us back to Churchill's words – the well constructed and realised buildings will shape calm and responsible citizens and inhabitants, and vice versa.
ALUKÖNIGSTAHL: The highest standards in construction
Not a single architectural project can be complete if the best quality materials are not used in its implementation. ALUKÖNIGSTAHL (Sofia, 3 Okolovrasten Pat St, floor 2, phone: 02 81 71 920, 0887 248 599, www.alukoenigstahl.bg) is one of the leading companies in the field of trade with construction and technical materials, whose main partners are Schüco и Jansen. The AluKönigStahl programme is targeted towards the highest requirements in the field of construction. The company offers aluminium profile systems; façade glazing technologies, windows, doors, winter gardens, and roof constructions; steel constructions. Depending on the requirements and the needs of the client, AluKönigStahl offers individual solutions for fire protection, smoke control system, robbery and bulletproof protection, access control. The company can be of help as well with its specialised software, technical consultancies and training at each stage of the project's fulfilment: from the planning to the finalisation of the site.
New Garden: New life for your garden
Regardless of whether we are in our home, in the office or on a vacation, life is better when we are surrounded by greenery and flowers. There are dozens of ways to have more greenery in our everyday life: potted plants, interior and exterior gardens, roof terraces, bouquets, vertical walls, etc. The solutions for all of these, however, are in one place: New Garden (Sofia, 113A Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd, phone: 0893/66 10 21, www.newgarden.eu). Established in 2002, the company will help you to create the garden of your dreams and to maintain it in a such way that it will become a sanctuary and a place for quiet happiness. New Garden offers a wide range of options for landscaping with a variety of plants, and solutions for the lawn, the water effects, the pavements, the watering systems. The maintenance services of green areas cover all the needs, from classical to roof garden to vertical wall, and New Garden's landscape architects will help you to create a garden that reflexes best your ideas. New Garden takes care the beauty of plants to be a part even of the lives of garden-less people: the company's three boutiques offer marvellous bouquets, arrangements and decorations of flowers.