“Ancient and eternal” – as these two touches sculpture the peerless city of Plovdiv, so are they imprint on the conceptual design proposal of “Recreation and Culture” Park. History and grandeur, along with culture and sustainability blend into one theme – Enlightenment of the Mind. How do these abstractions take shape in the design of the park and how are they enlightening? Behold the design process in the following lines.

Architect: Milen Neshev

Team Member:  Velislava Valcheva

Country: Bulgaria

Enlightenment of the Mind (1)
Enlightenment of the Mind (1)

Breathing New Life to Neglected Landscape

Being the second largest town in Bulgaria, Plovdiv comprises many park territories. What distinguishes “Recreation and Culture” Park from the other places, however, is the rowing canal attraction, the largest of its kind on the Balkans, which also makes the park most attended year-round.

The project’s main purpose is the design of a landscape architecture plan for development of the west area of the park, as it is the only territory which has yet to be developed and therefore remains passive and unappealing for the park’s visitors.

Enlightenment of the Mind (2)
Enlightenment of the Mind (2)

Environmental and Economic Sustainability

This objective is also the first fundamental line that finds expression in the environmental aspect of sustainability – to use the full potential of an undeveloped area by creating a public park, which would contribute to the preservation and development of the total green system of the city. Utilization of water resources and myriad of new plant species are the two most vital axes forming the ecological behavior of the park.

In economic perspective, new park territories would support a defined level of economic production by improving the life standard of the surrounding residential districts, and by accommodating relevant public amenities.

Enlightenment of the Mind (3)
Enlightenment of the Mind (3)

Social Sustainability

The third sustainability thread, namely the social one, meets the fundaments of the design concept. Inspired by the name of the park as well as the contiguous natural water resources, three underlying themes outline the landscape design – recreation, culture and water.  Shaping the morphology of the park, spaces pour from soft, liquid curves to surprising strong geometry.

Highest superiority is given to the reinterpretation of cultural flourishment. Abundance of sports facilities, educational gardens, amphitheatre, maze, optical illusion site, and chess playground are among the most appealing sites of cultural significance. Rich experience rises by discovering the variety of water features and animated or intimate recreational park rooms, divided and united by graceful topography.

Enlightenment of the Mind (4)
Enlightenment of the Mind (4)

Enlightenment of the Mind is Beauty of the Mind

New development, new shapes, and new emotions – so many changes brought to one of the oldest cities in Europe by one design concept. But doesn’t culture lead to enlightenment? And isn’t sustainability crucial to future?

As a European capital of culture and a symbol of history, Plovdiv’s landscape architecture should not be far behind other European capitals’ examples. The essence of the project lies in the synthesis of development, renovation and reservation of a park – a synthesis leading to the creation of illuminant design that embraces the spirit of Plovdiv – ancient and eternal, enlightened and beautiful.


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