The original structure was built in 1923 over dirt berms in the heart of “Knyaz Boris” Garden, the central park in Sofia, capital city of Bulgaria, as an Olympic type of stadium with running tracks around a green football field. The last substantial remodel was completed back in 1967.
Studio Name: Design Initiatives, LLC
Design Team: Vlado Valkof, Salma Nassar, Marwa Alhashimi, Sertan Saliev
Area: 30,000 m2
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Consultants: Jiwanjit Singh Palaha, Structural
Visualizations Credits: ArchiBIM
As per the new owner’s request, the new stadium is designed exclusively for football with stands close around the field, on top of the old running tracks so the fans have direct connection with the game. Design Initiatives’ proposal could be a prototype for any transformation, popular nowadays, from oval Olympic stadium with running tracks to exclusive football stadium around the rectangular field.
With a lot of empathy for the football fans, Design Initiatives analyzes football as a competition between two powers, two rivals, two teams, two fan groups (host and visitors)… Also as an emotional show for fun, relaxation and entertainment in the free time.
The design implements the Sofia planning code, the new stadium outline to fit inside the existing oval footprint of the old stadium. Design Initiatives’ project maximizes that usable space in a very pragmatic and efficient way, accommodating up to 25,000 seats with adjacent snack kiosks and toilets, plus VIP lounges and media boxes. The stands’ setup provides good visibility for each seat. The selected locations of the video- walls make use of the least attractive areas for the viewers at the stadium but in the same time provide good screening.
It is an interesting design approach for bigger fans’ stands behind the goals, on top of the curves of the old running tracks.
Very practically, the footballers go on the field straight from the lockers’ level without steps up and down.
At the ground level are planned services with direct access from the plaza around the stadium, such as cafe, restaurant, sport’s bar with screens for Trivia quizzes, gaming club, fens’ merchandising, sporting shop, hall of fame with memorabilia, rehab-wellness-spa center, gym, etc.
In the central part of Sofia there is a huge need of sporting and leisure facilities. Up to 30,000 m2 under the stadium stands could be utilized in compliance with the recreational zoning of “Knyaz Boris” Garden as sporting halls or indoor theme-park (with rides).
The entries for the football matches are independent and separated from the entries for the sporting halls / theme-park functions.
The stands are 100% covered with visor roof out of ETFE membrane. Because it is a lightweight material, the clear spans are bigger and the steel structure, respectively, is lighter and cheaper. The Teflon-coated membrane is durable and allows snow and rainwater to slide away quickly. Because that eco-friendly roof material is translucent, natural light can be used for the stands during daytime matches.
Design Initiatives is innovative, award-winning practice, founded in 1998 by Valkof.
Design Initiatives provides a full range of architectural, planning, interior, and furniture design services for complex commercial, institutional, mixed-use, and residential projects.
Design Initiatives adds extra design-value, without increasing the cost, by turning the issues into a special experience.
Design Initiatives’ target clients are private and public entities interested in inspired and unique environments.