The evolution of terrace housing in Bulgaria
This month we are presenting a retrospective of SGI’s work on the development of terrace housing in Sofia over the last decade.
Terrace housing in Sofia is a relatively new aspect of residential planning in the city. Ten years ago, there was not a real demand from developers to utilize terrace housing as a product in projects, mainly because three-story apartment buildings with the same density were tried and tested. Roll on 10 years and the terraced house product has become an essential part of urban development that offers improved lifestyle and affordable access to a higher standard of living in and close to the city.
Residential Park was the first major residential project that utilized a terraced house format, it did create a genuinely pleasant environment and unparalleled faculties and was inevitably very successful.
Roll on to 2006 and SGI was engaged to design the first major mixed-use scheme in the city. It was an evolution from what had worked well in Residential Park. We promoted terrace housing as a solution utilizing experience from successful projects in the UK and Germany and demonstrating that terrace housing can be an exceptionally efficient product offering better values to residents.
SGI continues the use of this format over various schemes and scale projects. We believe our team has a large part in developing this type of product in Sofia. Over the next few weeks, we will take you through six projects that demonstrate an engaging progression in terrace house design. You will see a series of built and unbuilt schemes that utilize varying approaches to different challenges.
We are starting with the well-known Garitage Park. Here we are showing one of the first master plans of the site showing our initial vision. This is an interesting study as below is the final masterplan. Purely from a place-making perspective, the initial vision is a better solution than the final result. It is more intimate and the use of small squares linking the different areas is an echo of a format that can be seen in traditional urban layouts enhancing a sense of community. Changes were made by the client where it is easier and more commercially viable to have all houses facing south, although this leads to more infrastructure and a more saleable individual product, it sacrifices some of the qualities that make a place special.
It is also interesting to see the development of the houses themselves. The floor plans are exceptionally efficient with very proportioned and pleasant internal space. Small details that help are the natural light that flows down the staircase on entry and the view through the open living space to the compact green areas beyond. These features stayed throughout the design process. The facades developed into a more contemporary design as the project developed incorporating the client’s vision.
Next week we will look at the area behind Ikea and Ring mall and look at our ideas about what a terraced house could be developed as the market matured.