Knyazhevo Retail Park offers a new vision and opportunities to the neighbourhood in Sofia's southwest, between the King Boris III and Nikola Petkov boulevards and Gorna Banya district.
The King Boris III that passes through provides access to Pernik and is a connection to the Struma motorway. The houses in eastern Knyazhevo climb the slopes of the Vitosha while the neighbourhood's western part is on the slope of the Lyulin mountain.
Knyazhevo is a place predominantly of detached houses and small blocks of flats. In the past couple of years the neighbourhood became a preferred place for living and the number of its residents increased significantly. Today, they need a large retail compound that can satisfy their everyday needs and can bring new life in the neighbourhood. The fast connection to Sofia's centre via King Boris III Boulevard is an opportunity for even more visitors.
In this part of Sofia there is a lack of office, sport or other buildings with shopping or entertainment facilities. The current project provides an urban accent and is a good start for the area's future development.
Concept and challenges
The busy modern lifestyle increasingly pushes people towards large retail areas where they can find a variety of choices and shopping options. Many of these suffered financially during the pandemic when they were forced to close. Some retail chains adopted a more conservative approach and limited their investments.
On the market thrived retail complexes of separate stores with shared parking space and distinctive brand authenticity. This concept is in the foundation of Knyazhevo Retail Park.
The project's aim to inspire people to spend as much time as possible there required the design of a three-storey compound. At the same time, each store should be accessed independently. The established aesthetics of each store, the individual requirements for functional planning and facade treatment of the separate sites should be united in a single vision and ambiance of the building.
Project functional solution
The project is for a three-storey building with U-shape layout that stands freely in the plot. It is located far from the boulevard, thus leaving space for a south yard with parking lots for visitors. It is divided in three blocks, united by shared open passages on two levels. Thus, each store has its separate entrance.
Each passage begins with an open staircase and a lift that starts from the boulevard's sidewalk. This makes access for Knyazhevo residents easier as they can visit the retail centre without a car.
For visitors with cars there are two double outside escalators from the outdoor parking to the second level passage.
The compound's main staircase will be in the central part of the middle block. It will have two passenger lifts and will serve all levels of the building and an underground parking.
The variety of stores, such as supermarkets for food and home appliances, fashion shops, a drug and a pet store offers to the visitors a rich choice and comfortable shopping experience. It will get richer as there will be a café and bar, a pizza place, a large gym and a hall for aerobics, Callanetics, yoga and more on the compound's third floor.
On this floor the open passage flows into open air terraces with tables that will serve the cafés and restaurants. The denivelation of the floor's terrain and the low surrounding buildings provide a wonderful vista to the mountain to the south.
Facade architecture solution
The used materials as a combination of red and black Etalbond and clinker brick coating bring a shared aesthetic to the compound, uniting all blocks with retail spaces with individual design, each with an outstanding and memorable composition. The building's design is defined by austere shapes and strong accents. The central staircase is a tower labelled with the compound's logo.
The overall dynamic, achieved with the horizontal pedestrian passages and the clearly defined vertical communication between the levels, creates a distinctive atmosphere.
Another strong unifying element is the horizontal board of the second and third level passages. All retail chains liked the black colour of its plaster.
Everything in the finished project's exterior and functional layout follows one main idea, achieved with the use of all possible means for the best results.
Design by: ASA Ltd., architect Professor Kalin Tiholov, PhD, and IES Project-2008 Ltd., architects Assistant professor Elitsa Ivanova, PhD, and Radi Zahariev
Investor: Knyazhevo Project Ltd.
Developer: LIT STROY Ltd.
Plot: 7,376 sq m
Built area: 2,950 sq m
Total built area: 9,635 sq m
Opening: end of 2023
For contact: architect Assistant professor Elitsa M Ivanova, PhD, (+359) 0888 615 143, email@example.com