Historically an important crossroads, Sveta Nedelya Square is considered the physical and symbolic centre of Sofia. Slicing through the layers of history in a bold contemporary archaeological statement, we designed a public square that served contemporary needs and connected Sofia’s people with their past.
The legibility and integrity of the Sveta Nedelya Square had been lost amongst the pressures of contemporary life, particularly car/tram traffic and a need for vehicular access and parking. Buried below this infrastructure laid layers of Sofia’s history, only revealed in fragments of archaeology. As part of an international competition, Cracknell, in a consortium with global multidisciplinary firm One Works and Italian architects Maofficina, was shortlisted by the Sofia Municiplity to reimagine and restore the Square’s identity thereby driving economic growth.
‘The Slice’ was devised as a contemporary means to reveal historical layers below ground whilst also unifying the spaces of the Square at ground level. Here, the public spaces were reorganised to accommodate a vibrant array of functions, activities and temporary events. Designed as a spatial sequence, the square’s distinct character ran as a thread through archaeological gardens, viewing platforms and plazas. Embracing the Bulgarians love of the arts , flexibility in the space and programming of activation throughout the year was critical to the design strategy of the scheme.
‘The Slice’ saw Sveta Nedelya once again becoming a place for people, made safe and comfortable by pedestrianisation. The city’s relationship with its landmarks and heritage was restored bringing renewed dignity and sense of place – a place with a captivating story to tell.