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SGIcee a Diamond sponsor for the 5th BBBA Family Fun & Golf Day

We had the chance to celebrate the last days of the summer at the 5th BBBA Family Fun & Golf Day. The most awaited golf event for the year took part at the superior St. Sofia Golf Club & Spa in Ravno Pole. The tournament was attended by 200 guests of which 98 athletes competed in scramble format in teams of two.

While the players competed on the 18-hole golf course, their families had the opportunity to explore the amenities of the complex and had their first golf lesson. After the tournament, everybody gathered together around the porch and enjoyed a delicious barbeque and refreshing drinks. The youngest ones were entertained by Izzi Academy with interesting and educational arts and sports workshops. 

As a Diamond sponsor of the event, SGIcee presented a gallery of some of the best Competition projects our team designed trough the years. See here the full presentation of our Competition projects.

The British-Bulgarian Business Association organized the event for the fifth consecutive year and provided us with some great pictures of the event, which you can see below.

 

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We are hiring! …

We are hiring! …


18 September 2020

Stephen George International CEE is one of the leading architectural practices in the Central and Eastern European region, delivering firsts in different sectors and winning multiple awards along the way. As a company, we excel in the quality of service and have built long-term relationships with clients across a range of sectors, but especially in master planning and large scale mixed-use schemes. See our latest projects in the Design Book 2020.

As a part of the company’s progress, we are looking to hire a few talented architects and an experienced architect to join our office in Sofia. See below the job descriptions and apply by email at office.bg@stephengeorgeinternational.com

 

Experienced architect:

The perfect candidate for the position of an experienced architect would be a qualified professional with proven competences and experience in the architectural field. This candidate should have an in-depth knowledge of all steps related to project completion and diligently communicate with the necessary people to ensure timely execution. The candidate should also be able to conduct quality assurance checks on a frequent basis in order to ensure regulations are being followed. 

 

Responsibilities

  • Be responsible for the coordination of all project efforts;
  • Аssure the most efficient and cost-effective execution of assigned projects;
  • Serve as the primary client liaison to bring the schedule, budgets, and scope of work to completion to the client’s satisfaction;
  • Actively manage client budgets, schedule and programs, project communication and documentation;
  • Determine the scope of work, estimate fees, and prepare proposals for the clients;
  • Collaborate with the project team to prepare strategic plans for project success;
  • Develop details that are consistent with the design direction, and support the overall quality of the project.

 

Qualifications

  • 4-7 years of professional experience;
  • Master’s Degree in Architecture;
  • Knowledge of building regulations, standards, and structures;
  • Background in working with diverse clients, consultants, and vendors;
  • Experience in construction document preparation, and field observation;
  • Self-motivated, energetic, and organized, with strong graphic and communication skills;
  • Good computer skills including Archicad or Revit, AutoCAD, and Photoshop;
  • Fluent in Bulgarian and English.

 

Benefits

  • Attractive remuneration based on experience;
  • Multisport membership;
  • Bright and spacious working environment;
  • Being part of an amazing team of talented and skillful professionals;
  • Working on diverse and interesting projects of a different scale;
  • Gaining experience in one of the largest architectural companies in Bulgaria.

 

Architect:

SGIcee team is currently looking for talented architects to join our office in Sofia. The perfect candidates will be creative, proactive and qualified professionals with a good understanding of all aspects of the architectural field. They must present excellent interpersonal abilities, strong communication and organizational skills, and enjoy working in a team-oriented environment.

 

Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the project team to prepare strategic plans for project success;
  • Work with the team on conceptual designs, presentations and production;
  • Compile project data and research;
  • Resolve design issues with creative and practical solutions;
  • Communicate with consultants, fabricators, and vendors to meet overall project objectives.

 

Qualifications

  • 1-4 years of experience on architecture projects;
  • Master’s Degree in Architecture;
  • Understanding of materials and construction techniques;
  • Ability to problem solve both individually and as part of a project team;
  • Self-motivated, energetic, and organized, with strong graphic and communication skills;
  • Good computer skills including Archicad or Revit, AutoCAD, and Photoshop;
  • Fluent in Bulgarian and English.

 

Benefits

  • Remuneration based on experience;
  • Bright and spacious working environment;
  • Being part of an amazing team of talented and skillful professionals;
  • Working on diverse and interesting projects of a different scale;
  • Gaining experience in one of the largest architectural companies in Bulgaria.

 

If you are qualified and interested, please apply with your CV and portfolio at office.bg@stephengeorgeinternational.com
We will contact the most suitable candidates to be invited for an interview with us.

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SGI in partnership with TEDxVito …

Stephen George International is delighted to be in partnership with TEDx Vitosha for the upcoming event on the 8th of August. You will be presented with an exclusive screening of selected talks from TED2020: Uncharted as well as inspiring live speakers.
Some of the lecturers you will have the chance to hear are: Shantell Martin, Elizabeth Turtle, Refik Anadol, and Julia Watson presented by Stephen George International who will be talking on How ancient Indigenous technology can teach us to design with nature, instead of against it, when facing challenges.

The event would be held at one of the trendiest places in Sofia – Quartal Food Park, where you will find a big selection of treats and drinks. All guests at the event will enjoy specially prepared gifts and surprises.

Not to forget, the entrance is completely free of charge, but registration is mandatory at the official website of  TEDxVitosha.
The program starts at 10 am, make sure to be on time as the seats are limited.

The SGI team is exciTED to meet you there!

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SGI won the prestigious German D …

We are delighted to announce that SGI Bulgaria’s project Garitage Park has won the prestigious German Design Council Excellent Architecture Urban Space and Infrastructure Award!

The German Design Awards are awarded to projects that truly represent pioneering contributions to German and International design and we are delighted that Garitage Park has been recognised as an award – winning project by the international jury.

Garitage Park is the first project of its type and scale to combine residential buildings, offices, commercial areas, educational, sports and recreational facilities with a total footprint of 165,000 sqm.

A main part of the Garitage Park concept is sustainability in all its aspects. It is the first project in Central and Eastern Europe to undergo the BREEAM certification process and the first to receive BREEAM Communities Excellent rating outside of the UK.

Garitage Park, offers its residents the opportunity to take advantage of the immediate proximity to a park with a lake, as well as many shops – supermarket, sports center with a semi-Olympic swimming pool, restaurants, cafes, pharmacy, car wash, bank.

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SGI is nominated for the prestig …

One of our projects is nominated in the category Best Interior Design. We are among one of the three European nominations. The official awards ceremony will bring together the world’s best architecture and design companies on October 17 in London.

We compete in one of the 9 categories, together with names like FOSTER + PARTNERS, UK, MINISTRY OF DESIGN, Singapore and more. The project that wins us a place in the selection is the restaurant “Sharena Sol” in Sofia.

The concept of the restaurant is based on three main points – clean design, comfort and maximum natural environment. The Bulgarian Restaurant is one of only three projects in Europe nominated for “Best Interior Design” in the category “Leisure” – a reserved territory for innovative design of theaters, cinemas, hotels and restaurants around the world. The other impressive interior solutions are in China, USA, Hong Kong and Singapore.

SGI is the only Bulgarian company with the prestigious nomination this year.

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SGI office blitz: Alexander Daw …

Alexander Daw, Regional Director at SGI Bulgaria, shares his vision about our company, sustainable architecture and cities of the future. For him the most pleasant process is masterpaning because creates environment makes people’s lives better.

What is your superpower?
A: Working with people. I like to work with people.

Why you choose Bulgaria?
A: I came here with my fiance some time ago, we bought a house, as many Britons did then. Three years ago I worked with the Spanish architect Eduardo Rifa on a big project in Central Bulgaria, and then I decided to stay here. Three years ago, when my first child was born, it really was the breakpoint in which I said, “Okay, I’m here and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Which is your favorite building in Sofia?
A: I think it’s probably one of the Aries buildings of Cherni Vrah Blvd., which is an office building of SOT 161. It is a very nice building. I think the overall architecture is very well designed and probably my favorite because it’s simple and classy in terms of execution.

Why SGI?
A: When we are talking about the local market – if anything is in our capacity to draw on, the way we deliver our projects in every way. I would say that architecture isn’t just about design, it about how you deliver the products. And I would say that we have a lot of experience and maybe we have a little bit of an edge. If you’re talking about internationally, we have a good reputation outside Bulgaria because we bring a significant amount of expertise on the table and we can deliver it in a very cost-effective way because of our office here at local level and prices.

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We are hiring! …

We are hiring! …


18 June 2019

The SGI Sofia office is looking for talented, experienced professionals to join our team to the positions of:

▪️ Principal architect

▪️ Experienced electrical engineer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

▪️ Experienced structural engineer

▪️ Principal interior designer

▪️ Lead water supply and sprinkler engineer

If you meet the qualifications, please send us an email with your CV and portfolio:

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Arch. Tihomir Kazakov was guest  …

Arch. Tihomir Kazakov was guest lecturer at the inspiring SHARE Architects forum. This is the third edition of the prestigious event in Sofia, which brings together the best practices in the field of architecture.

✸ SHARE Architects gathered the architectural community in the National Palace of Culture to present outstanding practices and trends in Bulgaria and Europe. Over 350 participants from Bulgaria, USA, Turkey, Denmark, Poland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia attended.

✸ Arch. Tihomir Kazakov presented the large project for Kamenitsa Park. The complex is located in the central part of Plovdiv. It includes residential buildings, offices, commercial areas, sports facilities and a hotel. Luxury residential buildings meet the highest residential standards.


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SGI presented the project “ …

On 30th of May were announced Bulgarian Architectural Awards of the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria. On the event arch. Nikola Georgiev presented the nominated SGI project for the restaurant “Sharena Salt”. He also received a certificate of appreciation for supporting the main goal of SHARE forum – the idea of connecting people through architecture.

Bulgarian architectural awards promote the most valuable architectural projects in our country and distinguish the architects and the uniqueness of their idea, with an emphasis on the quality of architecture, aesthetics and innovations.

“Sharena Salt” is located in a newly-built building situated in one of the fastest growing areas in Sofia – Hladilnika. The building adds value to the surrounding environment, making it an important point for the future development of the capital.

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SGI office blitz: Tihomir Kazako …

Tihomir Kazakov together with Alexander Daw have started the adventure SGI and now he’s the managing director and a practicing architect in the company.

What people don’t know about architects?
T: In our profession there isn’t a beginning of the working day, there is no end too. Of course I don’t speak for the time frame, but for all other aspects: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Of course architects are not the only profession having that kind of work schedule, for example the ITs, the doctors experience work the same way.

Is architecture abstract?
T: Rather not… Abstract is the concept that will ultimately lead to a real product. The birth of a concept is a pretty abstract process, in most cases. Sometimes even for us like architects is hard to explain it to another mate and it gets pretty hard discussing it with someone not involved in architecture at all. All this makes architecture difficult to sell and merchandise. Because you have to find the right words to explain an abstract concept to a person who will not understand you.

What’s your superpower? 
T: My superpower is that I do not like losing control.

What do you dream to design?
T: Every next project.

I guess you’re now managing more. Do you miss the design?
T: Definitely! But I guess you mean the drafting itself. Because even in the management of an architectural, design, or engineering company, the design process is inevitable part of the management process. I rather feel nostalgic being a day or too by myself with the drawing board,  nowadays – a day the mouse and the screen. Then you enter into a kind of nirvana closest comparison I can think of is composing music – by your own, looking for the right sound. I miss that, yes.

What is the architecture for you?
T: It is actually my personal choice for a professional career. I consider as good fortune to have the chance, the will to go for it, and a bit of a luck to find my professional mission and work it as having fun. In other words if my live have went different for a reason I had should not do what I’ve wanted and this should have not been my choice anymore…

What would you do if there wasn’t architecture?
T: I could have been many various things. But that’s more like above the line of pure dreams, with the clear sense that such a desire is inapplicable. I actually wanted to be a jet fighter pilot. I also love music… but, pity for me, God have not meant to created me for this…

What’s the biggest challenge in SGI?
T: I do not know if there is a challenge in Stephen George International itself. I don’t think it’s a challenge to go to work with pleasure, and leaving at the end of the working day willing to get back the next day… then it is not a challenge… this is, besides work, a way of fun. The Challenge is every next project that we do.

Why SGI?
T: For us the art of architecture has never been self-directed. We always do our best to understand the needs of the client, his business case. Because, although the client may not have the particular architectural education, he has an driving vision, something he had seen, something he have been inspired by. There is no development driven by purely market commercialization only! There is always another inspirational layer that have initially pushed the investor towards that direction for investing.  Exactly that initial push, is what we are trying to figure it out at first as further on is much easier to consider the brief for the design development to get to the product that he wants, slightly directed by our professional paradigm – from what we have learned and continue learning through the years of practice. Which I thing is the most answer of the question. In addition we have young and proactive team balanced between the female and male emotional perception as the Yin and Yang is from a great importance. Because even as designers, a fellow man colleague or  a colleague woman are very different as an emotional attitude.

Function or design?
T: I think that even the pure functionality is a matter of some unique design. Self-design without function – definitely not. And the pure function without a drop of paint – it’s too Spartan. But the function is leading because in 99% of what you use, its purpose is its function. It is dictated to be developed for a specific purpose. I.e. , if it does not have the function, the design will not occur. Design is concomitant, but it is always good to go hand in hand and know that the function purpose is predominant.

Which qualities determine the potential of a good architect in SGI?
T: I do not know. I did not think about structuring any precise rules and criteria to check your questionnaire box. I will give an example. Back in the days in the army days we had a soldier relocated from another unit with perfect accreditation CV – all boxes were checked – so, so … his job was a radio mechanic. And then our commander said: “Come, turn the sheet and see what’s written at the back.”  It was the following epigraph : “Shouldn’t be allowed to work with any radio equipment.”  So, the criteria with the questionnaire box, in my opinion is never 100% relevant. The face to face conversation – to look into someone’s eyes, is there anything deeper than what he shows , how he looks at you, how he responds to a certain conversation, a certain situation, always creates a prerequisite to create a much more complex view than to read only one CV.

Is there an ultimate architectural quality? 
T: Apart from the purely professional skills that a colleague has subsequently acquired in their education and then following professional career, for us it’s very important, his ability to communicate with the rest of the team. We consider ourselves to be a family, and every member of the family must converse (of course this doesn’t work on 100 percent every time) with other people and look for a dialogue. Because if we do not gather behind a particular idea, it will be very difficult to develop it. When two people pull in different, too often it tears the string on two so everyone stays with his half and that’s it. If you have 40 different directions it is even more complicated. We strive to create a product and offer our customers a single product that is complete, not 40 separate units.

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CANTEEN “SHARENA SOL” …

In 2018 we worked and finished a lot of great projects that we can not wait to show you. The first one is the restaurant “Sharena Sol”. The main design concept is based on three important parts: clean and simple design, comfort and a good natural environment.

Here, the food is the most important element, it’s the color accent in the interior space, all the other part is with very clean design. The acoustic materials and all the natural plants inside brings a very good space comfort in it. The smell is absorbed from the plants and the special acoustic materials, which is one of the main design element in the canteen.

Sector: Interior Design

Type: Public Interior Design

Client: Actavis- Fair Play (FPI)

Parameters: 6500 m2

Location: SOFIA, BULGARIA

Status: Completed

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SGI office blitz: Maria Tankova …

Maria Tankova has been a construction engineer in SGI for three years. ▫️In the buildings and in life in general she prefers to see the beauty, although she can definitely very quickly list where the defects are.

Is teamwork important for you?
M: What I have learned is that when you work with young, positive and good people, things are getting easier and you enjoy the process. Because my colleagues are wonderful.

Which is your most successful project?
M: My most successful project in the last half year is ISO certification, which happened for a very short period of time and with very little paperwork.

What are you learning here in SGI?
M: Everyone here is very open, helpful and aware that ultimately the goal has to be achieved. Whoever has the opportunity and the time, is always asking: “Does anyone need help?” And since I’m a older than the others, I always tell them that they really have the incredible chance to work in this type of team from the very beginning in their professional career.

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SGI office blitz: Rayna Кarova …

Rayna Кarova is a construction engineer in SGI for two years. She has more than 19 years of experience in designing and delivering buildings and facilities structural projects for a different range of use – industrial, transportation, commercial, retail, leisure and mixed use.

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SGI for Capital: Why is it impor …

Architecture has an enormous impact on each one of us. But do we realize it?

In our last article in Capital the team of SGI discusses the theme “Why is it important to speak about architecture?”. Join the conversation with our architects Alexander Dow, Tihomir Kazakov, Vladislav Dechev, Vyara Zapreva, Denitsa Knyazhevich and Kalin Trachev.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/2OkzobR

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SGI OFFICE BLITZ: Vyara Zapreva …

Vyara Zapreva is an architect in SGI Bulgaria for six years. She has graduated University of Civil Engineering and Geodesy, in Sofia. Her main role in the company is managing all the Interior projects.

What is the most pleasant work process for you?
V: The most exciting parts, during all the project phases, are when the inspiration comes and you start feeling the project as your personal mission.

The project you learned the most from?
V: A restaurant in the center of Sofia and the office of Booking.com, again in Sofia. These projects were the ones that gave me the most knowledge. Every other project, after them, gave me a lot of additional knowledge, too. But I think that the first projects gave me more than any others.

Which was the most interesting project for you?
V: In my opinion every project is interesting in its own way and in every single project I’m trying to put all of my efforts and motivation. Maybe, the most interesting project is the project that goes in all its architectural phases- concept, technical and the final stage- construction process.

Which phase of the working process you prefer the most?
V: I prefer the first and the last on – the phase in which the concept comes and the construction phase – when you can touch all the ideas in the reality.

Can interior designers be architects?
V: Yes and no. All the architects can be interior designers, but the interior designers can’t be an architect. The building is an organism, which can’t be divided. In fact, if a building is designed in a wright way, the interior solutions can be a lot and all of them to be unique and with the same aesthetic value.

The project that you feel most proud of?
V: Two interior projects: Booking.com and Skyscanner, which we were designing in the last two years and the concept stage of a recreational building in Sofia Airport Center.

Tell us about a difficult problem that you solved as part of your work?
V: In every project you can find a lot of problems, because sometimes the clients take their decision too late in the process.

The biggest lesson you learned while at SGI?
V: When you are working alone, you are doing much more mistakes, because you don’t have someone, saying you:” Stop, it’s a mistake” or “ Yes, this is better than before”. So, the most important lesson is the “team work”.

The project that you wished you have done?
V: The project that I really want to design is an Architectural school or campus, situated in the nature – away from the town, connected with the nature. Because I really believe that architecture and nature are one organism. If I can design such a building it has to stay alone, without any other building.

The most beautiful building?
V: The most beautiful building for me is the contextual building. I will try to explain what I mean. When we are starting the design process, the most important thing is to implement the design in the surrounding itself. Even the most beautiful building, with the most expensive materials and the most unique internal space is not situated in the right way, in fact this is not a good architecture. One of the building which impress myself really much as a space and feeling inside is Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. I really think that it’s location and design works perfect. When you are there, you feel the space.

What is the future of architecture?
V: I want to believe that the future of the architecture will be positive. But, if I have to be a realist, I’m not so sure. Nowadays, one of the most important thing is the project budget and nobody is trying to implement all the important principles that I have mentioned before, like contextual building, like the way you feel there, like a whole experience. Our job is to think about all of these and trying to implement in every project. But, in the reality, you can’t do all the best, because of the budget. In every single day architecture is a business and the most important thing is the profit, in the end – not the sign that you leave after yourself.

What people don’t know about architecture?
V: People know almost nothing about architecture. One of the main things that they can’t see is how much energy, passion, efforts and knowledge are needed to start and finish every project.

What would the world look like without architecture? 
V: Here, I will answer with a smile. If we are going in the mountain, you can see how it looks.

Are architects rock stars or mad geniuses?
V: None of them. Architects are different type, they can’t be labeled as: “Rock stars”, even though “Crazy genius”. They are a mix between everything. Because, when you are an architect you need to have very complex knowledge. These are the rules. When you are designing a hospital, you have to lean all the functional processes, inside. When you are designing a Concert hall your mind goes in a very different way. So, the architects is a kind of unique.

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SGI for Capital: How Far is the  …

In the last issue of every month, specialists from Stephen George International will analyze important but rarely discussed topics for urban planning, design and architecture in a special column.

How new technologies change the architect’s profession? In the last issue of Capital Magazine our director – arch. Vladislav Dechev is asking: How Far is the First AI Architect? What do you think?

Read more on this topic in our column in Capital:
https://www.capital.bg/biznes/imoti/2018/12/21/3366049_dalech_li_e_purviiat_ai_arhitekt/

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SGI office blitz: Yavor Dimitrov …

Yavor Dimitrov has graduated the University of Architecture, construction and geodesy in 2013. He’s part of SGI 4 years now and his position at the moment is Principal Architect.

He is an expert in the technical aspects of a project and he’s working with a variety of software. He works on different BIM software. Yavor’s working on projects for both the UK office in Leicester and on local projects.

What is the most pleasant work process for you?
Y: The most enjoyable process is always when you start something new. When you can fully unleash your creativity. Afterward comes the more difficult part – the execution of the project. But the design is always the favorite part to everyone in the industry.

The project you learned the most from?
Y: The project from which I would say that I have learned the most is  the one we have just completed. It consisted of an office building – quite large, I would say, but there was also an additional multifunctional building designed to meet the needs of the entire office complex. The things I learned there were combining different functions. Starting from retail space, through sports halls, to high-quality offices that are certified by the LEED standard.

Which was the most interesting project?
Y: It is very difficult to determine which is the most interesting project I have been doing so far, as each project has its own specificity. And, accordingly, it awakens the interest in every specialist to determine and solve specific problems. So, perhaps the last one I’ve worked on, I’d say it’s the most interesting one. Because these are the latest examples of tasks I had to solve.

The project that you feel most proud about?
Y: Maybe it’s pretty repeated, but the project I’m most proud of in the office is Garitage Park. Because I started working on it in the very beginning – from the competition in which we participated only a selected number of architectural studios.

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SGI office blitz: Ralitsa Lazaro …

Ralitsa Lazarova graduated from Higher School of Civil Engineering “Luben Karavelov”. She is working in Stephen George International for two and a half years. Currently Ralitsa is a Principal architect and she is leading projects, coordinating with clients, engineers and construction companies, visiting construction site, drafting technical typical details and etc

Which is the most pleasant work process for you?
R: The most satisfying part of the work process is the team work. Without a good team, high quality work could not be executed right. The most important thing for us is working together to meet our deadlines on time, that gives the value of our product.

The most interesting project?
R: For me the most interesting project is Garitage Park. I have participated in all design stages of the project and I have worked on all the buildings. Currently I am part of the team drafting the work design and as build drawings.

Which is the project you feel most proud of?
R: I am proud to be an architect. I believe that I wouldn’t be shamed form my work. I want to be proud of all my projects, or to say with no regret, that I was part of the design team for that building. I hope I would be able to achieve that. For me you can be a true professional after 10, 15 or 20 years of hard work and at that point you are a real professional. So on this question I would be able to answer maybe in 15 years.

The biggest lesson you learned from SGI?
R: The most valuable thing in SGI is the team work. Our team is big, with all types of people with different ideas. The most valuable lesson I have learned and still learning is the lesson that people could teach you.

Tell us a about a difficult problem that you solved at your work?
R: Cases that we have on daily basis are how to design something that our client wants and how to make it real. Those cases are variable, depending on technical or legislative point of view. Each one is different and special for its own.

The project that you wish to do?
R: I dream to design and work on churches. It was my master degree thesis and I hope I would have the chance to work on one someday.

The most beautiful buildings?
R: The old buildings, from the beginning of the 20th century in Sofia city center are quite beautiful and interesting. They are not traditional for our culture, because they were designed by Austrian architects, but still I find them fascinating.

What is the future of architecture?
R: Architecture is type of art and as an art it has its own trends. So I guess architecture would further develop and with the time passing it would get more and more diverse and different. For me, future of the architecture depends on the future of human kind.

What people don’t know about architecture?
R: Architects in Bulgaria are not appreciated enough. Most of the people think that we are some part of bureaucratic structure. For me on the other hand, architecture is quite important. It is the shape where people are working, living; it is the surrounding environment, main part of everyday life.

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SGI with two awards at the prest …

The International Property Awards celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry.

In London Stephen George International – Bulgaria won a prize in the category Eurocity 2018 – a regional award for Europe for Best Mixed-use Architecture Bulgaria for Kamenitza Park. The team also won the Five Stars Award 2018 – a high-end prize giving the right to participate into the overall International Awards, which ultimately determine the world’s finest property companies.

For SGI these awards are honors and world-renowned mark of excellence.

Our team also attended the awards ceremony for European 2018 Award Winners at Royal Lancaster Hotel, London. SGI was represented by arch. Tihomir Kazakov – General Manager of SGI, Arch. Anton Antonov – Principal Architect and Tsvetoslav Pavlov – Project Manager of the Kamenitza Park project, Plovdiv.

The prizes are an assessment of the work quality, the innovative approach and talent of the Bulgarian architects.

 

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SGI office blitz: Zlatina Tsolov …

Zlatina graduated Architecture in UACG, Sofia in “History and theory” department.  She has been working in SGI since the autumn of 2014. She’s part of the outsource team, designing logistics buildings for UK.

Which is the most pleasant work process for you?
Z: The most enjoyable stage is the final result.

The project you learned the most from?
Z: I‘ve learned a lot from a project we have in Edinburgh. It is a factory which produced electricity from waste.

The biggest lesson you learned while at SGI?
Z: The most valuable lesson is communication with people from all around the world.

The project that you wished you have done?
Z: My dream is to design a museum.

The most beautiful building?
Z:For me it is a building which serves well and has attitude to the surrounding setting.

How do you see the relation between architecture and business?
Z: The business is making architecture to develop and improve itself. And make architect to look for new and interesting solutions.

What people don’t know about architecture?
Z: People don’t know how much time it takes to an architect to make himself ready for work and to design something proper.

What would the world look like without architecture?
Z: A world without architecture can’t exist.

Are architects rock stars or mad geniuses?
Z: The architects are rock stars and mad genius. They have to be mad to resist the psychical pressure and freaks of all people involved in design process. But you have to be rock-and-roll and adaptive and everything.

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Arch. Vyara Zapreva for Capital: …

Our environment has a direct economical impact on our life.

In the new article from our column in Capital arch. Vyara Zapreva is reviewing this interaction and the ways to use it to support our business goals.

Read more on:
https://www.capital.bg/biznes/imoti/2018/10/01/3319404_kak_prostranstvoto_vliiae_na_ikonomikata/

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SGI is among the winners in the  …

Stephen George International presented a modern solution for designing the exposition center of Veliko Tarnovo – the first building in the future city center, an urban development concept and spatial planning throughout the whole territory.

There were 62 conceptual projects from around the world that joined the competition, and a jury of 9 members decided  the winners. The first place in the competition was for the design of arch. Claudio Nardi from Italy, and the second was for the project of Arch. Diego Terna /Italy/. Our project is the only prize-winning Bulgarian development and we came third with a prize of 10,000 euros.

Read more about the competition here: www.velikotarnovocentre.com

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SGI OFFICE BLITZ: Denitsa Knyazh …

Denitsa is an architect at Stephen George International. She has graduated in 2014 at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG) in Sofia, specialty “Public Buildings”. By the end of 2015, she started working in Stephen George as an architect.

Which is the most pleasant work process for you?
D: The most pleasant process is always the development of a building. Whether it’s an imaginary or real project. We work on many concepts and competition projects, such as feasibility studies on the potential of a building in a property – how it could fit the plot, how it can develop, what parameters it can achieve. So, always “the first met” with the project and the first sketches are the most enjoyable process.

On the other hand, the most satisfying moment, maybe there’s a difference here, is when you’re starting to see how your project is being built. And, of course, the most beautiful moment is when you see it already finished, functioning, and you see the positive looks of the people who inhabit it.

The project you learned the most from?
D: The project I have learned the most, is for sure the Shopping Center I’m currently working on. As I mentioned, it’s a reconstruction and restoration of an existing building and this is a project in which every day we solve a myriad of cases. We encounter existing problems with future problems. You have to take into account many existing things, anticipate many future issues and master them in some way.

Tell us about a difficult problem that you solved as part of your work.
D: When I hear “difficulty”, the first thing that comes to my head is definitely the structure. Because every day we hear questions like: “Can we move these structural walls here? Can we cut the slab?” (in any impossible ways, in all sorts of places). This surely makes me shock every time I hear it.

The biggest lesson you learned while at SGI?
D: The most valuable lesson in SGI, I think we all agree here, that teamwork is something that is nowhere else. In none of the previous offices where I’ve worked, there is not such a collegiality and good collaboration. And the good thing here is that we are really a big family in which there are no big and little ones, everyone learns from each other and everyone helps the other. And all these projects are result of a mutual work of our entire team.

The project that you wished you have done?
D: I would like to design a museum. Always a museum is the emblem of a city. Perhaps the very idea that you will get involved with something like that is extremely responsible and extremely challenging.

The most beautiful building.
D: The most beautiful building for me is the New National Gallery in Berlin, which is the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This is a building that was built in the 1960s and to this day, when one sees it, it is scarcely adequate, terribly modern and contemporary on the background of all the other buildings not only in Berlin but in the world.

What is the future of architecture?
D: I think our future is in architecture. Because we do not actually work on just some beautiful visions and things that people just see and like. Here we are planning cities, anticipating the development of these cities. In general, we work to make people happy and to live in well-organized, functioning, and comfortable environments, buildings and spaces.

How do you see the relation between architecture and business?
D: Architecture and business are certainly two very closely related concepts. 90% of our work is communication: meeting with clients, meeting with investors, meeting with our subcontractors, with our partners.

What people don’t know about architecture?
D: People do not know anything about architecture. Very often my friends are saying: “You just draw some houses. What are you doing so much? Why are you working so late? What are you wasting your time with?” But the truth is, we’re not just drawing houses. We design the comfort of living, the comfort of not only houses, but also spaces, cities, as I have already mentioned. So, people definitely do not know anything about architecture.

Are architects rock stars or mad geniuses?
D: I think every architect could be classified as one of the two concepts. I think our office as a whole is more like a rock star team.

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SGI supports the exhibition for  …

The Foundation Vision for Science and Technology Growth, together with the State Agency Archives, has organized an exhibition dedicated to prof. Widen Tabakoff – the Bulgarian who was included in the team of Wernher von Braun, thus later contributing to the landing of Neil Armstrong on the Moon. The Foundation had transferred his documents from the University of Cincinnati, USA to the State Agency Archives, and had since worked on creating a scholarship fund for students in his name.

The exhibition opening will be held on September 14, 2018 in the exhibition hall of the State Agency Archives in Sofia, 5 Moskovska Street and will be exhibited until 07.10.2018.

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Alexander Daw for Capital: Betwe …

For any follower of the Architectural debate, the conventional narrative suggests that the Architects’ control over the end result of a project is being worn down by the specialisation of roles and the need for commercial efficiency. This is not necessarily a bad thing it is simply a shift in the way the industry sees the role of the design team, if a project is run well, the checks and balances that are put in place through the expansion of roles can only be a good thing.

The ideal of the Architect is to improve lives through the environments we create, . Architects by their nature are generally ethical, but our ability to carry this ideal through is often narrowed by commercial constraints. We are useful to the commercial world only when we succeed in creating a commercial success or when our name or signature style can be used to create value. Thus while the star-architect system is, on the one hand, a production of the architectural world and media, it is heavily bolstered by the needs of commerce.

In my own experience I have found that a successful project is dependent on the process that sits behind it, the passage of getting to the end result being more important than the end result itself. A good Architect like any good leader will have developed over time a critical approach to themselves through the constant need to collaborate and an erosion of the egocentric part of the process. In Architecture this erosion of ego should be especially pronounced, every day we need to listen to other points of view and value them in balance with our own ideas, hopefully leading to a lessening of attachment to our own opinion. Simply put, five brains are better than one if you can learn to listen.

Read more on:
https://www.capital.bg/biznes/imoti/2018/07/27/3288333_mejdu_arhitekturata_i_komersialnata_stoinost/

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Trends in the development of the …

Authors: Arch. Tihomir Kazakov, Regional Director, Arch. Stoimen Demerdzhiev, Director of Operations, SGI Bulgaria.

Like any other economic sector, the housing construction is subject to the market principles of supply and demand. Any architectural and engineering solution should be backed up by a good business plan and the investor’s interest.

When it comes to the modern dwelling and its sustainability, we should not talk only about the energy efficiency, shaping and building materials. We also need to discuss other topics such as the economic motivation, the lifestyle of modern urban citizen and the social and the idiosyncrasies and urban models that Bulgarian cities follow.

Demand

Over the past decade, it has become official that more than 50% of the world population lives in an urban environment and that by 2050 the rate will likely rise up to 75%. For a number of reasons mostly economic ones Bulgaria goes ahead of the global trend and the percentage of urban population is already over 70. Even more significant is the fact that the growth of urban centers and the demand for residential units which have to accommodate the newly settling urban residents are relatively constant every year.

Another factor justifying the growing demand for housing, especially in Sofia, is the relatively well-paid middle class which emerged during the past two decades. It is mainly generated by the IT sector, the outsourcing companies and the service sector that settled in Sofia after the European Union accession. We are talking about young, well-educated people looking for their own home, making up a large percentage of that urban influx, which is an indication for a mature domestic market with a small percentage of speculative demand.

There is also a demand from the already established population in the cities. To a large extent this is due to the logical and expected aging of a large part of the existing housing stock. If we just think of all prefab neighborhoods, we could easily imagine the urgency of the demand that the housing market should expect in case the average purchasing power of the population increases.

Supply

This search for housing units leads to an ever-increasing supply. But what is this supply? What are its implications for the urban environment and what norms for quality it meets? A positive phenomenon, partly due to the higher standard of living compared to the previous market boom, is that the investors are becoming more and more interested in the higher quality and luxury residential product. The days when the market was able to absorb any product at any location are gone. The buyer is now more informed about the quality of the product. The residential buildings holding certificates of sustainable design and construction meet the good construction practices and western standards in the industry are becoming more and more desirable. A recent example in the practice of architectural studio Stephen George International is Izgrev 132 building, which received the Green Building Award at the national competition Building of the Year 2017.

Sustainability

But what does “sustainable construction” actually mean? Many people confound the terms “sustainability” and “energy efficiency”, which is completely wrong. Energy efficiency is just a small part of the “sustainability” parameter in construction. When assessing the sustainability of a residential building regardless of the applied American (LEED), German (DGNB) or British (BREEAM) assessment standards, a number of factors are taken into account, such as carbon emissions footprint for the production and delivery of the construction materials, the building’s lifetime environmental footprint as well as the comfort and health of the living environment that the building provides, including but not limited to, noise pollution, light pollution and many more.

A good example of sustainable residential buildings designed by our architectural studio, which aim for a high BREEAM rating, are the residential buildings – part of the Garitage Park complex in Sofia.

The City

Speaking of housing construction, we cannot ignore the urban environment. It is no secret that the rapid development of Sofia, if we can use a Western term in urban planning – “like an oil stain”, is yet to shape the urban image of the capital, and there are already some foreseeable growth problems. The residential areas are overbuilt and in many places the engineering and road infrastructure are not adequate. There is no general plan and control of the aesthetic and ensemble character of the urban development. There is a lack of common language and vision, which is mainly the designers’ fault.

The architect nowadays is no longer that instrument for shaping the social, cultural and artistic environment, so important for the society that he used to be until the middle of the last century, and he should take into account a number of factors, including economic ones, so he could be to a maximum extent fulfilled in his professional endeavor. This is partly due to the concession of professional spheres to a number of engineering professions, and partly due to the industrialization of the construction and design process. With the previous lines, we would not like to exonerate the architectural professionals in any way, but rather to provide an objective explanation of what is happening in the residential environment.

The other factor to blame is the normative system – very adequate for some private cases, but it seems to miss the global picture. A short walk in almost every relatively new residential neighborhood in Sofia would be enough to visualize some of the most pressing problems. The street silhouettes stand out with extreme color diversity, each building presents its own reading of the architectural composition, in most cases – literally dictated by the normative system. The work of the Bulgarian architect often comes down to a practical architectural interpretation of urban norms, but that does not mean the postulates and the theory of the architectural science should be neglected.

Another aspect is the neighborhood streets blocked by the parked cars. Our laws’ requirement for a provision of parking space for each newly designed unit, without guaranteeing the respective use of this space is completely understandable. Therefore, we logically witness the following phenomenon: the underground garages make the construction and housing more expensive, as these garages often remain empty, while the parked cars block the neighborhood streets.

Closed Complexes

We should say a few words about another recent phenomenon on the Bulgarian market – the closed complexes – small private city quarters trying to create small utopias showing how a residential neighborhood with a common vision, architectural language and rules would look like.

The fact that closed complexes are the new phenomenon on the market and that they are so successful shows that the middle and upper middle class residents are looking for an alternative to the existing housing reality in the city.

At SGI Bulgaria we are proud of our rich experience in urban planning, and we aim to implement our British partners’ expertise in this country. One of our most recent projects, Garitage Park Sofia, aims to be the first Eastern Europe project to hold the British BREEAM standard.

The Dwelling

After the urban planning, the scale should be reduced and the attention should be focused on the dwelling itself. The rising real estate prices bring some logical consequences – reducing the average area and rationalizing the housing units. In fact the standard for design of residential projects in Bulgaria goes along a path well known in the Western markets. It reduces the percentage of partition walls in the dwelling by combining functionally similar spaces. The open space living room, the combined living, kitchen and dining areas are no longer exotic but a standard solution. The night zone is optimized but at the same time there are examples on the market going too far. The next step for optimizing the living space is to dispel the myth of the “unwanted en suite apartment” in order to eliminate the unnecessary corridors and to obtain a maximum percentage of usable areas.

Another interesting trend on the market concerns the level of completion of the apartments. More and more investors offer “package prices” with different levels of housing completion, which is very similar to the Western practices. The final customer loses flexibility on the ability to customize his home, but earns a much better final price.

The Future of Housing

The big challenge in the coming years will be to achieve an adequate reform of the legal framework by reviewing the urban development parameters which dictate the architectural shaping. It should be emphasized that this is not just an urban planning problem. A more modern and simplified legislation would lead to more rational housing construction with fewer common areas and more functional floor plans.

If the market trend continues, architects will inevitably have to design more and more innovative and rational homes without compromising the imperative of the utilitarian sufficiency of the different functional groups. We are hardly likely to be reduced to the living standards in France where the rooms dimension are on the brink of the nominal, we are not expected to follow the German models of Frankfurte Kueche and Existenzminimum, but if our economy seeks to catch up with the European economies, the market will lead to a natural selection based on functionality and rationality. Against the background of the possible global energy crisis, there is quite a logically widespread use of the popular new trend SMART HOME for implementation of intelligent energy consumption management technologies as well as the integration of system solutions for use of renewable energy and minimization of the carbon footprint of the dwelling and the building as a whole.

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Alexander Daw from SGI at “ …

On June 7 Alexander Daw the Regional Director of Stephen George International was a speaker at “Hotel and tourism investment forum” in Holiday Inn Sofia.

Because of our experience in sustainable construction, master planning and design he took part in the panel discussion “Green hotels: Are they worth investing?”

Read more on this topic: http://htif.eu/program/ 

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SGI OFFICE BLITZ: Mariya Mishine …

Mariya Mishineva has graduated at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG). She started working at SGI two years ago.

What makes your job special?
M: The unique part of my job is that besides designing buildings, I am in charge of BREEAM certification in the office – this is a system of assessing and certifying sustainable buildings.

Which is the most enjoyable process in your work?
M: The most pleasant part is always the begging of a project, when we work on concept design, because we have the biggest freedom. You can give freedom to your imagination, without any restriction – neither on part of the investor or just from the regulations in our country. But this is the enjoyable part, because the work is mostly creative and we are not burdened with a lot of technical tasks. The other satisfying moment is when you finish a project and you can see the design, that you have been working on for one or two years , completed and being used by the people. That is also very pleasant part of our job.

What was the biggest challenge for you at SGI?
М: It really depends on the investor in our field of work. Usually they start with a lot of great intentions, but not always possible to carry out financially. We had projects where people are very clear from the very beginning what they want. So then the concept design doesn’t differ a lot from the final result. But we also have projects where nice concept ideas can’t be realized and are getting simplified, so the project can be completed.

Which is the project you learned the most from?
M: The project, from which I’ve learned the most in our office, is Garitage Park, which is a multifunctional complex. I was working on one of the residential buildings and I was responsible for the BREEAM certification for the whole complex. In the certification process you can learn a lot of things, that are not considered during the architectural design.

And which is the most interesting project?
М: The most interesting project was a competition we’ve worked on for residential development beside Ring Mall. We won that one.It was very interesting, because it was the first time I worked on master-planing design. And I’ve learned a lot.Also it was a competition , so it gave us an opportunity to be really creative.

What are you most proud of?
М: Danaos Sofia Ring Park – that‘s the project I am most proud of. The end result for that competition was on really high level. And the fact that we won greatly delighted us in the office .

Which is the project you would like to have participated in?
М: My dream was and still is to design buildings from natural material. I’ve been quite interested in the subject and that’s also tied to passive building – another topic I am working on in the office. I have not yet done anything like that. In Bulgaria there are currently quite interesting projects in several places. There was a project in the region of Sofia that was entirely built from straw, from bales. There are several companies that develop and make such houses purely of natural materials. Overall, this is a trend that is developing аnd it is quite suitable in our conditions.

The most valuable lesson in SGI?
М: The most valuable lesson in SGI. In fact, since I have worked in quite a few companies before,here I first encountered projects of this magnitude we work with: whole complexes, urban planning of entire neighborhoods. And perhaps the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that you never have to think you know enough to make a project. Always in the design process you have to learn more and more. Not only for design, but also for any side effects that are affected in major projects.

Share a difficult case that you resolved in SGI.
М: The most difficult case is usually something about our investors, because we often try to convince them that something is good to do, although it’s a bit more expensive. They have their point of view on the matter. But usually the hardest thing to do is convince people against you that what you tell them is the best solution in this case.

Тhe most beautiful building for you?
М: The most beautiful building I’ve ever seen is a Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. It is extremely interesting and very impressive as you go to it because it is hidden behind a hill, and gradually, coming up, you see her coming out before you. And it’s very impressive to see live really.

What people do not know about architects?
М: People have the illusion that we just paint, make some nice pictures, and do not know how much knowledge we needed to acquire so that they can finally see a drawing that seems extremely simple to them. And that’s a pretty common clash in Bulgaria, where many people think they know everything. And you say, just draw it there, you do not need to think so much. But there are positive directions. Gradually, people realize that architecture is not very simple, and it really needs a lot of knowledge to be a good architect.

How would the world be without architecture look like?
М: A world without architecture, no architects would be pretty gray, I think. Without buildings – it may be something not so bad. I think that definitely without architecture would be quite boring and uniform. We even had at our university a professor of constructions who told us that they could without us because everyone could design a building. Anyone can design the most elementary building. But a building so that it is in the middle of it and really meets the needs of the people who will use it, I think is quite difficult to do. But to design a building that respond well to its surrounding and to its inhibitors needs, that’s something very difficult to do.

Rock stars or crazy geniuses are the architects?
М: Crazy – for sure. Rock stars – I would not say so. I do not imagine a rock star having to put on work clothes and boots and going to a muddy construction site. But definitely every colleague is a little mad on his own. And it is necessary to be – all creative people are somewhat … they are not quite ordinary, so to call them.

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Architect Tihomir Kazakov from S …

The second panel of the annual conference “Investment and construction of residential buildings” went under the theme of the housing market in 2018: demand, supply, prices. Leading architects and representatives of the technology industry presented their views on how modern housing architecture meets market demand – from residential buildings to residential environment and lifestyle.

The architects also presented international and local trends for 2018, and business representatives discussed the technological and innovative building solutions for a better residential environment that include comfort, safety, energy efficiency and sustainability over time. The advantages and challenges of imposing standards on the level of completion of newly built dwellings in Bulgaria as well as increasing the value of the residential product by applying a modern approach to interior design were also topics addressed in participants’ presentations.

The specialists in the second panel presented their views as it follows:

Architect Tihomir Kazakov, Regional Director of Stephen George International, architect Denitsa Drumeva by Ivo Petrov Architects, architect Zheniya Atanasova from AiA Architects, Anton Ivanov, Manager of Silico Ltd., Dr. Eng. Krassimir Delov, Chief Technologist of Baumit Bulgaria, architect Radko Todorov, Founder and Leader of RT Consult, Vassil Takev, Chief Sales Manager of LP & DM, ABB Bulgaria and Kosta Varbanov, Product Manager of Nemetschek Bulgaria presented their inovative ideas.

Read more information on this topic:
https://gradat.bg/news/2018/05/21/3182801_ot_jilishtni_sgradi_kum_jilishtna_sreda_i_nachin_na/

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SGI OFFICE BLITZ: Kalin Trachev …

Architect Kalin Trachev have studied in Sofia, University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy. He’s part of Stephen George from more than two years now.

What makes your job special?
K: During my time in the company I have developed myself to the position of a team leader. I am a head of the team that is running a big public project for more than a year – a shopping mall.

Which is the most enjoyable process in your work?
K: I think the most enjoyable part of our work is the beginning of every project. When you still don’t have borders, it’s conceptual and you can look at the project from a different perspective, a different scale.

Which is the project you learned the most from?
K: The project I’m learning most from is the one that I’m working on right now – a renovation of a trade center. During the process you are staring to become more confident in the communication with the other specialists and the client. You learn what’s the right way to present the information, to adapt to the situation and to take the right decisions. So during this process I’ve developed a lot of skills that gave me one solid base for the big projects that hopefully are coming.

What are you most proud of?
K: I’m mostly proud of the fact that during my time in SGI I’ve earned the trust to become a team leader, to be in charge of a team. This means that apart from the architectural aspect I am developing and showing my skills as a leader, which benefits the hierarchy and the structure the company is aiming for.

Which is the project you would like to have participated in?
K: I wouldn’t say I wanted to be the architect of a specific project. The architect should always aim for something better, for something that could take him to another level and so it should be. So the next project, the one in the future, is that one that I want to design.

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SGI for Capital: How to “b …

In the last issue of every month, specialists from Stephen George International will analyze important but rarely discussed topics for urban planning, design and architecture in a special column.

How much time do you spend in town and how much in nature? According to some studies, urban man spends an average of 90% of his life indoors. That is why the quality of our health is in direct relation to the quality of our home, office and environment.

Have you ever thought about the air quality in your home or office? We are already accustomed to the news that Sofia is one of Europe’s most polluted cities. Here is the time to break the myth that we are isolated or protected at home – the air in our homes may be several times more polluted than in the streets.”, shares Stoimen Demerdjiev.

Read more on this topic in our column in Capital:
https://www.capital.bg/biznes/imoti/2018/05/02/3169953_kak_da_postroim_zdrave/

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SGI office blitz : Nikola Georgi …

Nikola Georgiev is an architect at Stephen George International Bulgaria. He’s an Associate Architect and he’s responsible for the project management – communication with clients, subcontracting, structuring an internal teamwork for the project.

What is your superpower?
N: Superpower? Do I have to talk just about one? In principle, I have been developing myself as a balanced person. This is is very important for someone who should get an idea, get it from client’s head and turn it into something beautiful, truthful and real. Working with people – both your colleagues and outsiders. Finally, if I have to mention one superpower this would be the patience.

What do people do not know about architects?
N: Too often people have polarized opinions about architects. One part of people think architects are dealing with something very special and abstract, and they do not even want to be touched by this big and distant things. The other part of people just think we’re doing … nothing serious. The architect is the person who is the helper in the realization of dreams. The good architect is the one who takes your idea, understands your needs – yours or the society’s (whatever is the task) and embodies them into something real.

What do you dream of designing?
N: In the past, I’d say it’s a skyscraper – I’ve even said it. But now I have another opinion. I would say that I want to design something else … something like а space related to social interaction between people. This can be the opening of new square space in existing densely populated urban environment. This can also be a modern performance center, where people communicate not so much through direct dialogue but through self-expression. This is very relevant nowadays, and I think architecture needs to meet this demand, this need of contemporary people.

What is the biggest challenge in Stephen George International Bulgaria?
N: This is the dynamics of work, the dynamics of the teams we form according to the various scale projects we are working on. This is a daily challenge, but at the same time this is something that reloads you. And, going every day through these things, it forces you to want to achieve even more. It is both a challenge and a battery of energy for your work.

Why Stephen George International Bulgaria?
N: I would say Stephen George, because our motivation is very clear. We want to provide a quality living environment, a quality work environment, a quality recreation environment. And always in every project we strive to embed our internal principles as much as possible, whatever the assignment is.

Which of the buildings you designed would have lived or worked, or would something happen inside?
N: This would be the Fence House. House, where we a team of two worked a lot to discover a lot. And we’ve incorporated a lot of our thoughts into it. I believe that people who would live in it will feel that the spaces are rethought, their relationship with the terrain is well thought out. This, I am convinced, affects the everyday life of people and their lives.

What is the most important quality that each architect must possess?
N: Confidence first. But everything is related to a mix of qualities. The good thing about teamwork is that different individuals can be involved and everyone can contribute according to their own ability to achieve the end result.

And why confidence then?
N: Because our field of work is such that we work both creatively with clients and at the same time technically with subcontractors. You must always show confidence in yourself so that the people around you can get charged together with you.

What would you change in the urban environment if there was unlimited freedom and unlimited budget?
N: Maybe the main thing I think is to modernize the ways of transport, the wyas of communication in the urban environment. Today’s means seem to sacrifice the future of cities to solve their problems today. I would like to think wholeheartedly – humanity and architects, to resolve this issue: move on to sustainable, fully sustainable urban development.

What is an “antetka” (titleblock)?
N: Antetka (Titleblock) is a very strange word. Sometimes I wonder if I should use it at all. But, briefly, in order to know people, this is information in tabular form that every architect or engineer puts on each drawing to make it clear when it was issued, by whom it was issued, to whom it was intended, what it contained.

What is the last lesson, for example in the last year or the last week, what did you learn sooner?
N: That there is always something to learn. This is the lesson I keep learning. And in fact, before, I thought this might be a drawback, as I think now that’s a nice thing. For “in the way is the truth”, as this phrase is said. And one always has a lot to learn, and he always thinks he has little to have almost all knowledge. Taking this knowledge, he sees there is two times more knowledge ahead.

Sports?
N: Sports? My sport, this is swimming. And I think sport is generally very important to people. And especially, being a young father, I think I’m a good example of what they feed you with at the youth, that’s what you have for a lifetime. And so it is very important that we can provide our children with the right place, the right environment in which to exercise. Of course, without turning into fixation.

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Architect Vladislav Dechev from  …

As one of the participants in the conference “Industrial Buildings in 2018: New Projects and High-Tech Solutions”, architect Vladislav Dechev of Stephen George International – Bulgaria spoke about the need for the so-called ” cost manager or budgeting manager to be committed to budgeting the project to make a project successful.

Participants in the Industrial Construction and Investment Panel commented that the latest trend in the design phase is to produce a detailed model of the costs that would arise in the future operation of the buildings.

You can follow the link for more detailed information: https://gradat.bg/news/2018/02/02/3122809_industrialnite_sgradi_prez_2018_novi_proekti_i/

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SGI won “Building of the Y …

We are very happy and honoured to announce that we have just won “Building of the Year” award in the category “Green buildings” with our project – Izgrev 132.

This is the first residential building in Bulgaria that meets the BREEAM standard for sustainability and high-quality construction.

On the picture our regional director Tihomir Kazakov is on the stage accepting the award with the developer Martin Yanev from ACME (giving the speech).

Tomorrow (16th of December) the ceremony will be aired on Bulgarian National Television at 15.00 PM.

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SGI’s CEO shares new entre …

The main requirement of the new client is a meaningful functionality – optimal use of space in every room in the building. The facade should also not only be beautiful, but also have a function – for example, to be breathable, to be made of materials that are ageing well in time. These are the new requirements of entrepreneurs who come to our architectural bureau. They are aware that this product costs a little more, but it adds value to the building, explained architect Tihomir Kazakov, CEO Stephen George International.

For more detailed information on the topic, you can follow the link: https://gradat.bg/news/2017/11/09/3074389_balrec_2017_lipsvat_kachestveni_jilishta_za_noviia/

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SGI Bulgaria took participation  …

Our director Alexander Daw was one of the key speakers in the ‘Retail Buildings’ panel – a discussion about trends in design and redesign of contemporary retail buildings and interior design solutions for more attractive commercial areas.

You can check out the following link for more details about trends in design and redesign of contemporary retail

buildings: https://gradat.bg/news/2017/09/28/3049931_building_innovation_forum_2017_tendencii_pri/

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SGI participates in the First Na …

Our operational director and specialist in Industrial and logistical buildings Vladislav Dechev was one of the main speakers on the First National Conference for industrial real estates – BG Sklad, which took place this week in Plovdiv.

You can visit the following link for the video recording of the whole conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1903&v=HNp_qD0mTGo

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An Architects Perspective on the …

A large part of an Architects job is working up front with developers to help them structure their business case before land deals are executed and projects become live. We get a preview of trends across the board where the major decisions are being made that will affect the market over the coming months. Aside from a few exceptions, Architecture is not about creating the next iconic monument for a city, as much as we would all love to, it is a practical endeavor to create attractive environments and buildings by responding to both financial and physical constraints. Essentially, alongside the client and the management teams, we design physical businesses that will significantly influence the bottom line for our customers for years to come.

The Property Market: Over the last 13 years, we have seen the same trends as everyone else, from the chaotic pre-crisis bubble through the financial crisis to land where we are now. We have been involved in large scale projects in Bulgaria through all these periods and have seen the changes in how companies and individuals procure and deliver projects over that time. Although the period pre-recession invites criticism, there were some examples of best practice starting to emerge, the advent of the independent project manager, the appointment of professional cost management, sustainable design and assessment are just a few services that were beginning to become established alongside foreign investment. These appointments seem to have only partially returned. We and others would certainly welcome a more unified and common practice approach to building procurement. Despite that, 2017 is a very active period producing some great projects, the quality of the delivery across all the professions in the construction industry is on a significantly higher level than ever before, the marketplace is healthily competitive and bad projects and bad practices are becoming unsustainable, retail clients demand more which means you have to be at least proficient to be prosperous.

Masterplanning and Large Scale Projects: Good masterplanning creates the place and generates the value. The majority of our workload locally and internationally is on mixed-use masterplans incorporating environments, workplace facilities and residential communities. It is a sector where SGI has a long history allowing us to bring to bear a significant amount of expertise. Garitage Park is probably the most prominent in Bulgaria right now and is a good example of how conflicting uses can be organized in such a way that they complement each other’s function and create a valuable and desirable property product. When we started Garitage Park the client was exceptional in their vision and willingness to look at best practice and invest upfront in their design and sustainability aspirations. They understood the benefits of this in the market place and are currently reaping the rewards for a commitment to delivering above and beyond what was typical for the market at the time of inception. A large part of bringing this vision to bare was committing to International standards for sustainability methodology, in this case BREEAM Communities, an internationally recognised route to improving, measuring and certifying the sustainability of large-scale development plans and a great tool for giving a practical framework to a sector that is still in its infancy.

The Residential Sector appears to be motoring along nicely and although there is a lot of development, there is still a strong, domestically driven demand. Wages are increasing year on year, people are genuinely looking for a better standard of living, especially over time as generations’ trade places and old building stock does not meet the expectations of modern living. Competition is keeping the prices low all leading to what we see as a competitive, but stable situation. How can we create a better product? More sustainable design and more focus on energy efficiency certainly. Generally post-recession there has been more attention given to the quality of floor planning design and quality living spaces that work efficiently. In the city the technical quality of apartment buildings is refining all the time. There are still some poorly executed examples being delivered and it has been a disappointment to see some projects going up in some areas which deserve much better. I think moving forward competition should help drive out some of the more flagrant examples of shoddy design and construction. Not all bad buildings are because of the Architects it has to be said, often developers who throw up poor quality projects are making design decisions and cost efficiencies midway through the construction phase which can have very negative consequences. On the flip side there is some fantastic design and some very mature Architecture coming out of a number of local practices at the moment especially in apartment and single house design. The majority of the professional developers have improved their spending of investment capital through the application of better technical solutions and a better understanding of where and how to spend it. I think it is safe to say that the residential property situation in Sofia is distinctive and governed by its own rules, it can take some time to fully understand the idiosyncrasies that make up the local psyche when it comes to choosing a home and developers can sometimes get fixated on these market pointers to the detriment of the projects themselves. The gated community phenomenon that is currently so prevalent is often regarded by city planners as a reflection of society’s ills, accused of creating physical barriers within the social structure of a city and exasperating class divisions, it would certainly be nice to see more government attention to security in some areas, a more open, connected and socially outward looking approach to residential sites would enable better planning solutions for the city. Generally the sector is looking stable, there may be some adjustment in the output of projects over the next couple of years as absorption rates settle.

The Office Sector: Construction budgets are still constrained by rental returns and earnings are still fairly low and efficiency in design is the name of the game, obviously a very active sector over the last year or so with a significant amount coming to market at the back end of 2018, also again some very good examples of workplace design from some of the larger Architects with some good additions to the city planned over the next five years. The challenge for the market place is what will happen to the buildings that are left behind as leases end and companies pack up and move to shiny new facilities. In our practice we have been seeing for some time a reticence in developers to engage in new office development, preferring to change use where possible. We expect that by the end of 2019 the market will need to catch its breath and will probably pause for a period as demand catches up with supply.

Summary: Broadly speaking the property sector in Sofia and Bulgaria has the potential for several years of solid growth, on the other hand it is hard to fully understand the pace and intensity of that development, much will depend on government policy and the level of foreign investment in IT, manufacturing and relocation. Sofia and other cities in Bulgaria offer a great platform, but are often overlooked by International surveys for investment and play second fiddle to Bucharest, there are small things that government could do to make Bulgaria more attractive and with Brexit and the other issues regionally this would be a great time to take a closer look.

Alexander Daw
Regional Director

Stephen George International

Business Center Bellissimo, Block A, 10th floor
102 Bulgaria Blvd., Sofia 1618, Bulgaria

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STEPHEN GEORGE + PARTNERS TOOK P …

James Nicholls of Stephen George + Partners recently took part in a Savills/CoStar roundtable debate alongside representatives from SEGRO, M&G Real Estate, Garbe, Barratt London, Big Yellow Self-Storage and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to discuss how London’s industrial sector is responding to increased demand, rent rises and a scarcity of available land.

With such prominent industry figures around the table the debate made for a fascinating insight on the latest thinking in industrial led mixed-use as multi-storey industrial and ‘beds and sheds’ become a necessity. A summary of the debate was published by CoStar to coincide with the annual Shedmasters meeting at MIPIM in Cannes Savills.

You can read James Nicholls’ reflections on the Savills/CoStar debate and why Stephen George + Partners is confident that logistics and residential can mix in our latest blog post: Mixingit up: unlocking a mixed-use, multilayered future for logistics

 

 

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LOGISTICS: A QUESTION OF SCALE …

Not too long ago, the idea of sleek modern offices or residential sitting above a logistics centre would have been unthinkable. But times are definitely a-changing. A shortage of available land, the demand for high-density urban housing and the unprecedented rise in online shopping have forced a re-think on the shape, size and consolidation of uses for logistics buildings in urban locations.

The growth of e-commerce demands logistics buildings be sited in accessible locations of high population to meet ‘last mile’ delivery for major retailers’ ever-demanding customers. In our recent Property Week article, we argued that logistics should be treated as essential infrastructure in areas of urban expansion to meet the growth of online retail and consumer demand. Urban logistics, we argued, would ensure minimal impact to the local environment and greater supply-chain efficiencies for local communities and businesses.

Yet, whilst consumers now expect cost-effective and speedy same-day delivery, they may not be so keen on living near a logistics park. Tackling the perception that residential and logistics do not mix is a key design challenge. Considering scale in the design of inner-city logistics will make them more appropriate for residential developments and therefore easier to integrate into mixed and multi-use masterplans. Supplied by parcel centres on periphery sites, small-scale micro hubs can consolidate uses, such as click-and-collect or fulfilment centres, reducing the requirement for height as goods will not be stored for long periods.

To mitigate key environmental issues such as noise, air quality and congestion, logistics operators could switch to light commercial vehicles to complete the final-leg delivery or service click-and-collect stations located for consumer convenience. Vehicles could be electric – or at the very least, alternative fuel. This, in turn, will impact upon scale – smaller scale electric vans will not only be cleaner, but will take up far less space and you would no longer require spacious yards to cope with multiple HGV manoeuvres. Smaller scale logistics would also reduce the perceived need to provide expensive and land-hungry mitigation measures such as landscaping and bunding.

We recognise, of course, that land in urban locations will inevitably be expensive. A single, small-scale logistics facility – however attractive it might be to residents – will perhaps not always be the most cost-effective use of land, particularly in areas of high demand such as London and the South East. The advantage of small-scale urban logistics facilities is that they give you space to build above, maximising the value of the site for landowners, developers and landlords. So perhaps rather than thinking about logistics sitting side by side with residential, particularly in space-constrained inner-city sites, we need to start thinking about these buildings being multi-layered, with office space, PRS housing or student accommodation sitting above ground-floor urban logistics facilities.

There are, of course, other hurdles for the industry to overcome if we are to make this multi-use, multi-layered approach work – not least will be the ability of different funding parties to work together in joint venture and with different funding streams for each use element. A good example of this is at St Pancras Way in Camden where student accommodation provider UNITE secured planning consent in partnership with Travis Perkins for a 564-bed scheme over a new trading facility on the ground floor.

The other major hurdle is, of course, ensuring that there is an allocation of employment land close to or within areas of residential expansion, such as in London or the cities of the Northern Powerhouse. This can be done via the call for sites and LDF process. Local Authority land is also available and the ‘One Public Estate’ programme will assist in identifying the best use of sites in these portfolios.

At Stephen George + Partners we’ve already had major success in delivering logistics adjacent to residential where understanding residents’ concerns and addressing them with design solutions enabled us to deliver our clients’, stakeholders’ and the market’s aspirations. {click here to view Dunstable}. However, we need to further educate local authorities, not only on the importance of logistics to employment and the economy, but also on the demands of the 21st century consumer.

James Nicholls, Stephen George + Partners

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DC2 PROLOGIS PARK DUNSTABLE RATE …

We are delighted to have been informed that the 28,808 sqm (360,000 sqft) distribution centre at DC2 Prologis Park Dunstable has achieved BREEAM 2014 rating ‘outstanding’.

The building, which has been shortlisted for the BREEAM Awards 2017, is the first industrial building to be assessed ‘outstanding’ under the BREEAM 2014 guidelines and the accreditation confirms Prologis Park Dunstable as the first large-scale distribution park to be fully certified as BREEAM ‘outstanding’.

DC2’s success follows that of its sister building DC1 which achieved a BREEAM 2011 rating of ‘outstanding’ and was shortlisted for the BREEAM Awards in both 2015 and 2016.

More information can be found at: prologis.co.uk

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