Club of the Poet
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About

Writers Coffee Shop, Sofia, Bulgaria
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Historical analysis and approach This place in Sofia, Bulgaria, has aninteresting, yet sad history. Shortly, 20 years ago there was a Writer’s CoffeeShop at the corner, an ordinary building, but with a very strong social meaning. It was a cultural hotspot visited by generations of writers, painters,teachers and architects. It was also, a place for debate, philosophical andpolitical. 20 years ago, the communist government declared the building‘dissident’ and destroyed it over night. My father said, on the next morning,there was already grass on the place. Anyway, nowadays the site is a beautiful  small, city garden, and the citizens love it. Actually,nobody wants any building to replace the garden, although the site is meant tobe build-up. The task of designing the new “Club of the Poet” was getting complicated,fighting against public opinion, and more - the new building had to be placedin a very aggressive environment, between a church and classical building. Ithad to be something calm, neutral, part of the existing environment and at thesame time to preserve the memory of the place. My concept was to design a sculptural building,a monument, which integrates the actual Coffee Shop, and to cover the edge ofthe crossroad to achieve an adequate urban street silhouette. 
Morphology Using the mentioned corner, defined by twowalls, I replicated an ancient Roman Forum, or Greek Agora, a stage forperformers, rhetoricians and public speakers - a very importantfunction of the old Writer’s Coffee Shop.  The existing landscape was converted to anamphitheater. The so-called “stage” was emphasized by a sun-spot - a highlightcreated from the hole in the roof. The actual Coffee Shop  is closed between the amphitheater and the toppart of the monument, with direct view to the church. Imho, one of the benefits of the solution is, that although re-designed,the existing green part of the city, is to be preserved and enhanced with avery important social function of being a gathering place for all kinds ofintellectual performances - a scene, that our city is missing, but desperatelycraving for.