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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The development of my MSc. thesis has been an intensive adventure - graduating in Italy, with a research in Finland, for a project in my home country Bulgaria. Challenging, though satisfying has been the whole process. Thus, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of some amazing people I came across on the way. I am grateful to my main supervisor from Politecnico di Milano- Prof. Michele Roda for the dedicated cooperation and trust he had in me, letting me work from a distance and willing to supervise me online. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Prof. Aija Staffans from Aalto University, who has been so inspiring, full of energy, and bright that even when I was feeling down and preoccupied, she always managed to motivate me to overcome all my insecurity. She made me feel warmly welcome in the Aalto Land Use Planning and Urban Studies YTK Goup, where from the first day I had my own desk. I would like to thank also to Katri Pulkkinen- a PhD researcher in Aalto University, who invited me to take part in her class regarding systems thinking where I got some precious insights regarding my work. With the start of this thesis, one of my major goals was to manage to bridge theory and practice and to get a feeling of the work environment after I graduate. Thank you, “Transformatori”, for taking me as a part of your team under the project “Sofia Shared

Spaces” and letting me apply my theoretical knowledge in real life for the sake of Sofia’s creative environments and sustainable urban regeneration. Thank you also for letting me present my design work at an open public forum and thus gain some important insights about the further project development. Last but not least, I am grateful to Prof. Carolina Pacchi, who as well helped me with my project, mainly regarding some distant to me topics, such as: assessment of users’ needs, analyzing actors’ networks, and case study analysis methodology. Finally, a big thank you to my family and friends who have always believed in me and supported me in chasing my dreams.

TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Introduction ...1 II. The Problem ...3 III. Methodology ...4 • Theoretical Frame • Sofia Case Study • Design Task IV. Theoretical Frame ... 7 1. The idea of Sharing Economy ...7 2. Temporary Uses in the European Context..13 • Historical Development • Economic Context • Cultural Context • Legal Context • Trans European Halles Network • The Role of the Urban Pionee 3. Temporary Cultural Urban System ... 19 Appropriations of different scales (inspirations from Helsinki): • City Scale – temporary events • Urban Scale o Social Impact o Urban impact – influence on the Site o Networks of Clusters and the “City as a Loft” concept • Architectural Scale - Temporary Uses as micro-social bombs 4. Conclusions ... 29

V. Sofia Case Study ...33 1. Introduction ...33 • A Comparative Study between Helsinki and Sofia- Cultural Timelines • General introduction 2. Sofia in Numbers ...45 3. Urban Analysis ...45 • Territorial Systems • Relational Systems in the City 4. Cultural Infrastructure Analysis ...47 •Assessment of the Existing Cultural Infrastructure •Cartography of Derelict but Potential Cultural Infrastructure • Grassroots Movements in Sofia • Assessment of the potential temporary use locations • Relationship between actors and spaces • Conclusion 5. Systems Overlay ...61 • City Scale Strategy • Urban Scale Strategy • Master Plan 6. Definition of the Design Task VI. Design task ...69 VII. Bibliography ...81

ABSTRACT This thesis work investigates the possibility to utilize and redesign public spaces and city-owned property as well as misused or abandoned places for creative projects in Sofia’s urban setting. The project focuses on culture-led development and the importance of cultural clusters in urban regeneration. It takes advantage of already existing built up spaces and brownfields to give a sustainable temporary solution for urban growth with no additional footprint. The main research questions guiding the project are related to: the ways to apply the tools of sharing economy in the urban and architectural setting and how those concepts relate to the trend of temporary uses in culture-led urban development; the most favorable conditions for a temporary cluster development; and the ways to adapt those world acknowledged strategies to the Bulgarian setting. The thesis is divided in three main steps- a theoretical frame; an analysis of the current urban state and the potentials for temporary uses in the city of Sofia suggesting an urban regeneration strategy; and an architectural project showing the adaptation and reuse of an old tram hall as a temporary space.

SHARING CREATIVITY This thesis work would explore a new approach not only towards the adoption of public space, but also to the integration of city owned property into the urban environment for the creation of an open and shared system of public/private spaces that encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration.

INTRODUCTION Imagine a hotel room in a public square constructed around a famous statue. Sounds crazy, yet a reality now in Helsinki where hotel Manta- an installation of the famous Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi is currently erected to accommodate one of the most loved statues of Havis Amanda mermaid. The new structure gives one the possibility to sleep overnight in the middle of the market square and enjoy the beauty of the sculpture ( en_GB/hotel-manta-eng/). The case of Havis Amanda is only to show the impudent appropriation of urban spaces for commercial purposes in today’s reality. The idea of praising and in a way privatizing the public space is against its initial nature. Open space is to be shared among people, to encourage interaction and unexpected encounters, not to be enclosed and released against a set prize. According to architect Hella Hernberg (2012) “we have the right - and also the duty – to use urban spaces and to take responsibility for them”. This thesis work would explore a new approach not only towards the adoption of public space, but also to the integration of city owned property into the urban environment for the creation of an open and shared system of public/private spaces that encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration. The synergy between the urban and the architectural spaces is first introduced by the Dutch architect and Professor Kees Christiaanse who spoke about the “City as a Loft” strategy (Baum, Christiaanse 2012).


His concepts would be applied in the framework of culture-led urban development and would be used as a basis to go deeper in the topic of temporary spaces as triggers of regeneration. The approach used within the thesis project aims to recalibrate the old industrial infrastructure to the new needs of contemporary artists and the knowledge society in the city of Sofia reintegrating the north fringe area that now serves as a barrier for the city growth and resembles a dispersed and scattered space separating the lively area of the center with the peripheral residential neighborhoods to the north. The thesis work starts with a theoretical frame to outline the current trends in culture-led urban development and the role of temporary creative spaces as an emerging system in sustainable regeneration. Based on this more academic perspective in the next main chapter an analysis of the Sofia Case and its particularities is performed as a response to the third question. To conclude, in the final part of the project a design proposal – utilizing both the outcomes of the theoretical frame and the specifics of the Sofia case, would be suggested.


THE PROBLEM Investigating the possibility to utilize and redesign public spaces and city-owned property as well as misused or abandoned places for creative projects in Sofia’s urban setting –“City as a Loft”. The project focuses on culture-led development and the importance of cultural clusters in urban regeneration. It takes advantage of already existing built up spaces and brownfields to give a sustainable temporary solution for urban growth with no additional footprint.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. What are the ways to apply the tools of sharing economy in the urban and architectural setting and how those concepts relate to the trend of temporary uses in culture-led urban development? 2. What are the most favorable conditions for a temporary cluster development? 3. How to adapt the world acknowledged strategies to the Bulgarian setting?


METHODOLOGY This work is divided in three main steps- a theoretical frame; an analysis of the current urban state and the potentials for temporary uses in the city of Sofia suggesting an urban regeneration strategy; and an architectural project showing the adaptation and reuse of an old tram hall as a temporary space.

THEORETICAL FRAME The main goal of the theoretical frame would be to identify the necessary spatial conditions for a city to revitalize its derelict areas by utilizing city-owned infrastructure for creative purposes as well as to point out the successful spatial strategies for the development of a system of cultural clusters based on temporary uses of publicly owned city property in the city of Sofia. To understand better the world trends in the sphere of culture-led regeneration and the sharing of architectural spaces, a deeper look would be taken into: the policies suggested by sharing economy and the appropriation of temporary spaces as catalysts of endless opportunities and surprising uses, as well as the role of the urban pioneers as mediators between city officials and citizens to meet both the ideas of the municipality and the dreams of the grassroots movements for the future of the city. As a backbone of the research the work of architects like Panu Lehtovuori, Kees Christiaanse, Hella Hernberg, and Caterina Tiazzoldi would be used.


As a result of the theoretical frame, an assessment criteria of the places considered for appropriation in Sofia would be established and the best models of partnership between the municipality and the grassroots movements would be suggested.

SOFIA CASE STUDY The main inspiration of the thesis work are found in the new grassroots movements in one of the world’s most livable cities – Helsinki, where I had the opportunity to develop my thesis. Therefore, as an introduction to the Sofia case a time line comparison of the cultural urban development between both capital cities is presented. The aim of this historical overview is to estimate the extent to which Sofia could fallow the successful example of Helsinki’s cultural development patterns. Then, as a fallow up to the determinative factors outlined in the theoretical part an assessment of the Sofia context would be performed. For the realization of the “City as a Loft” (Baum, Christiaanse 2012) urban strategy a few steps are to be implemented and they are presented in this thesis work: an urban analysis of the city of Sofia looking at the currently existing activity spots and the emerging of potential cultural clusters using temporarily available neglected city owned property to fulfil the current cultural infrastructure.

Moreover, to relate the models suggested in the theoretical part to the urban setting in Sofia and to be able to match the already existing system of potential cultural infrastructure with the art and entrepreneurial communities a poll would be released to independent artists and cultural organizations in need of spaces to work, create, exhibit and perform. Having the users profiles and the cartography of available infrastructure matching them would be possible. This process would be enhanced in two ways – by creating a web-based platform where all the potential buildings would be presented and a “Speed Spacing” event where further insights on this relationship would be gained and a possibility to pick a location for the final design project would be given. Both activities would be performed under the project “Sofia Shared Spaces” of Transformatori Assossiation. The analysis process would conclude with a strategy that creates a network between those new spaces and places on two levels and scales. In terms of levels the network would be both physical and virtual and scalewise it would aim to brake the psychological barrier between architectural and urban environment by extending the idea of sharing beyond the public realm so that a constant flow of people, artists, creativity, ideas and collaboration is established. Both the theoretical framework and the urban analysis would be used to create the strategy for the development of cultural clusters in Sofia. An objective comparison between the potential areas for cultural cluster formation would be performed in order to make a knowledgeable choice of the most perspective for which a final design proposal would be suggested.

To be able to provide a realistic strategy the conclusions made in the theoretical framework would be calibrated according to the outcomes of the specific analysis of the Sofia case.

DESIGN TASK Development of a conceptual strategy for cultural cluster formation in potentially attractive locations in the city of Sofia based on a thorough urban research and on Sofia’s Cultural Strategy and General Master Plan. A representative set of schemes, drawings, renderings, and models that fully communicates the design of a combined urban-architectural system focusing on one of the potential cultural clusters. An expected range of the project is the revitalization and transformation of the area surrounding the metropolitan train station in Sofia, Bulgaria into a multi-functional, vibrant, interactive, and „smart” public space applying a new human-cantered, participatory approach in order to formulate a contemporary design proposal in compliance with the citizens’ objectives and the needs of the art and entrepreneurial communities in Sofia. The multi-scale project would examine all the issues discussed in the research paper in order to propose a sustainable and smart urban development of the area on focus. Finally, a detailed architectural proposal will be developed of one of the urban elements part of the Living Art & Innovation District as an example of the possibilities suggested by temporary uses.



THEORETICAL FRAME THE IDEA OF SHARING ECONOMY Looking at cities as real-time systems that need to be dynamically adjusted to citizens’ needs pauses a lot of challenges in front of today’s urban planners, architects, and decision makers. The more complex our environment gets the stronger the requirements for multidisciplinarity and participatory- based approaches in the creation and utilization of places becomes. The need to establish this synergy between top-down and bottom-up decision making has given a start to the idea of sharing economy. Benita Matofska, a chief sharer in the People Who Share blog defines sharing economy as “a socio-economic eco-system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations”. This system is meant to empower individuals, businesses, NGO’s and government with information, generated mostly by the new information and technology innovations, and thus enable sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services (Sundararajan, 2013, http://blogs. The collaborative consumption model is already applied by innovators on the market such as E-bay, AirBnB, KickStarter, and TaskRabbit. We are already

sharing our cities as well- streets, squares, parks, and infrastructure, even bikes, cars and most recently cabs. We easily share information and knowledge through the web. We share our lives through the social networks. Sharing resources means sharing responsibility but also sharing quality of life. Why not expand the sharing attitude fostered by the idea of open source to the urban and even architectural scale and thus reduce the negative environmental impact we have on our cities? Why not taking advantage of already existing built up spaces – old factories, abandoned buildings, and brownfields to give a sustainable temporary solution for urban growth with no additional footprint? Multiple projects in Europe have already started to give fruitful answers to those questions and are to prove that temporary uses of derelict places and areas under transformation could and do serve as catalysts for new ideas, creative expressions, art projects, and start up endeavours (Boix, 2010) According to the finish architect Panu Lehtovuori, who has done extensive studies in this field as part of the “Urban catalyst” project, temporary uses of abandoned buildings and old industrial sites are an underutilized resource of urban planning (2012). Temporary projects serve as “place makers” by empowering











the creative communities to give them a new identity and re-introduce them to the city.

TEMPORARY USES IN THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT Temporary spaces usually emerge in the time-gap between the collapse of a previous use and the beginning of a new commercial development of a built infrastructure. The Urban Catalyst research led by Philipp Lisselwitz, Philipp Oswalt, and Klaus Overmeyer (2012) suggests that this time-gap provides an opportunity for unexpected yet fruitful activity in those spaces by providing a cost-free access and hidden potential. Temporary uses are often considered a disruption of the normal course of urban development – re-plan, build over and occupy as soon as possible (Hernberg, 2008). However, a lot of contemporary examples are to show that such spaces could become extremely successful and innovative parts of todays’ urban culture.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT Historically, such environments appear informallyartists find abandoned or cheap places to establish their studios, to perform, and to exhibit their work (Evens, 2009). This is how squatting was born in the 19th century. Back then great artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, and Gertrude Stein had lived in squats in the Montmartre district in Paris. Currently, squatting is still perceived among artists as a creative and liberating mode of action. It is a demonstration of counter-culture and alternative lifestyle exceeding the official public policies and ownership rules to rely on self-organization, collective spirit and crea-

tive drive (Evens, 2009). People eager to create new human relations and cultural and social endeavors invade a place to appropriate it and bring it back to life. There are multiple examples that prove the beneficial impact of squatting on cultural success. One proof is the vivid transformation of the once neglected and run-down area of Shoreditch, London. Right after the squatters invaded the area, they opened it up by hosting art shows, theatre productions, spectacles, night events and made the localities appealing and inviting for external visitors. The economic success of the district is thus triggered as well as the business interests (Yiwei, 2010). In the recent years however, planned policies and development strategies are transforming the organic way cultural clusters evolve to give them a more rigid framework. Many are against this artificial manufacturing of creative environments, because as Butt (2008) implies “creativity is not generated, it emerges” and the more one tries to freeze it, the weaker it becomes. However, this approach does as well lead to fruitful outcomes. The City Fringe in London for example is an area of six creative clusters aiming to boost social inclusion and economic development (Bagwell, 2008). The residential part of the district was initially accommodating 58 percent minority ethnic groups and its appearance made a huge contrast with the prosperous business environment of the City Fringe. The fringe was always intended to work as a hub of creative industries and still six out of the nine clusters consist of creative sectors ( Fashion; Cultural Tourism; Product and Furniture design; ICT and Digital Media; Jewellery; Printing




In the current critical economic environment neither ambitious urban redevelopment projects nor simple squatting are seen as sustainable solution anymore and a compromise between bottom-up and top-down approaches has to be found to enable culture-led urban revitalization.


and Publishing). The success of the City Fringe district is to show that creative clusters serve as a tool for inner city regeneration. Although the organic development of cultural clusters seems to be preferred than a rigid planning, they both have their negative aspects. O’Coner points out that it is quite naive to think that purely adequate intelligence is enough to manage a complex creative cluster. Moreover, no matter the process at the end boosting real-estate prices leads to the eviction of the artist communities (2010). Many European examples, such as Sheffield’s Creative Industry or the Tacheles Building in Berlin are to show that non-intervention is no longer an acceptable alternative and ways to cultivate squatting in the name of culture have to be found. In the current critical economic environment neither ambitious urban redevelopment projects nor simple squatting are seen as sustainable solution anymore and a compromise between bottom-up and top-down approaches has to be found to enable culture-led urban revitalization. To be able to identify the suitable approaches towards creative cluster management as well as the appropriate types of interventions one should be well aware of the European context and its economic, cultural, and legal dimensions.



THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT ECONOMIC Living in a time of scarcity of economic and environmental resources and demographic expansion of contemporary cities suggests the need to provide better quality with less quantity. Using the spatial vacuum produced by the time-gap between a former and a future use of a certain space gives the opportunity of urban regeneration with no additional footprint. In economic terms creative temporary spaces serve as incubators of innovation and ideas and reposition the derelict territories on the market to be than gentrified. However, some establishments nowadays try to brake this model and form self-containing enterprises (Lehtovuori, 2003). Good examples could be found in Amsterdam looking at the successful reuse of the NDSM Shipyard transformed into an attractive spot through temporary culture use, and the new formation of four innovative cultural clusters in the historic environment of Westergasfabriek- the old gas factory (Gustafson, 2005). Paradoxically however, in booming economies such as the Netherlands temporary uses are well-supported by the government, but there is less infrastructure to be occupied by them, because investment interests are prevailing (Lehtovuori, 2003). On the other hand stagnating cities like Sofia have an abundance of spatial niches but temporary cultural endeavours get no funding from the local institutions.

CULTURAL Looking at the cultural impact temporary uses have on urban development the Urban Catalyst Project (2003) looked at five European examples – Berlin, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Naples, and Vienna. The research showed that temporary spaces encourage cultural production and entrepreneurial endeavours by providing a low-cost arena for work and expression. However, they are differently appreciated in a dissimilar historical context. Cities like Berlin and Amsterdam have always been open to alternative movements and sub-cultures and the phenomenon of temporary spaces has emerged naturally. In the case of Italy, those movements don’t have this strong presence but the Italian informality makes the acceptance of such initiatives easier. In cities such as Vienna and Helsinki, however, which are seen as historically more conservative are now opening up to temporary uses (“State of The Art”, EC, 2012) In the case of Sofia grassroots movements in the field have recently started to emerge, but to have the necessary impact on culture-led urban development a higher support by the local institutions and better communication are needed (Evans, 2009).





The research of Lehtovuori shows the lack of existing legal regulations on temporary uses Europe-wide and the need of changes in the planning and construction lows. He suggests that intermediate uses should be admitted in land use plans and building permissions to ease their legitimation and legalization.

As mentioned previously collaboration of different scales among all types of organisations has to be in place in order for successful clustering and beneficial temporary use to be created. Partnership at an international level is important, however local networks are vital as well (Hernberg, 2012).


In spite of the potential of areas in spatial vacuum and the creative drive of young entrepreneurs and artists a lot of fine locations are left unused due to the heavy bureaucracy. Lehtovuori argues that for this reason the role of a mediator specialized in temporary uses who understands the needs of both real estate owners- public and private, and the potential temporary users is vital. Designers in the Nordic capital are now starting to attempt to integrate with public bodies and work in cooperation towards better bureaucratic processes in dialog with citizens. (Hernberg, 2012)

The growing trend of temporary culture uses in Europe gave birth to the Trans European Halles Network of cultural clusters. The organization founded by citizens and artists is now connecting 50 multidisciplinary cultural centers and 20 friend organizations throughout Europe to encourage collaboration, exchange and constant flow of ideas among the creative industries. The members of Trans European Halles are a great source of inspiration and knowhow when it comes to transformation of abandoned industries into dynamic cultural hubs. They have developed some very successful professional schemes in this field and are open for consultancy and collaboration (http://www.teh. net). Creative firms are perceived as a source of innovation for the knowledge economy, contributing with fresh ideas across a variety of industries. Establishing a network between them and physically clustering them together enhances this process of exchange and thus gives companies a competitive advantage.

Such mediating organisations already exist in Western Europe. In Finland, a company named Hukkatila or Leftover Space aims to dive into the resource of unused spaces across Finland and mediate them to the right people since 2011. Another successful example of such an intermediary professional who links the needs of the creative and innovative industries with the visions of city officials for urban development could be observed again in




The feeling of cooperation, togetherness, and mutual involvement is central for the emerging sharing economy. Therefore, the role of the urban pioneer is so vital for the systemic change our society is going through .


Helsinki looking at the Kalasatama Temporary Project launched in 2009. The area is one of the Europe’s largest construction sites and used to serve as an important cargo port. Johanna Hyrkas- an architect and visual artist was hired by the city to coordinate temporary uses and cultural activities in the derelict harbour. She claims with pride that Kalasatama Temporary gives Helsinki citizens a chance to leave their trace in the city and for the last five years it gives expression to a variety of grassroots movements. As a mediator and consultant between the city authorities and the activists Hyrkas acknowledges the intention of the city officials to market Helsinki as a vibrant and creative city ran by its citizens. However, she admits that bureaucracy is still an issue and the experiment of Kalasatama Temporary is a way to gain important insights on the methods and tools needed to establish the synergy between city and residents intentions and dreams in the urban arena. (Hernberg, 2013) This feeling of cooperation, togetherness, and mutual involvement is central for the emerging sharing economy. Therefore, the role of the urban pioneer is so vital for the systemic change our society is going through (Pulkkinen, 2014). Once established, the collaboration between municipality and citizens leads to fruitful results of various dimensions in the field of temporary uses. Those appropriations could vary from city to cluster, and architectural scale.







TEMPORARY CULTURAL CLUSTERS APPROPRIATIONS OF DIFFERENT SCALE Architect and PhD researcher Katri –Liisa Pulkinen plants the idea of the avalanche effect of the urban pioneering movements and suggests that the laws of attraction are of vital importance for the creation of connections and thus for the establishment of a system. (Pulkkinen, 2014) This theory could be applied in relation to temporary uses and cultural clusters as well where this new system appears as complex and multi-scale. It engages all urban dimensions – city, neighborhood, and architectural artifact, to integrate within the city organism.

CITY SCALE Helsinki and its “urban dream management” as Hella Hernberg calls it (2008) is a proof that temporary events and uses could happen in every scale – from architectural facilities as co-working and creative hot spots to transformations regarding the total change of the whole city for a day. When talking about total appropriations of the largest scale, those usually have an event character and are of really short duration. Although such events lack the long-term physical and spatial impact on the environment, they trigger

a change in the citizen’s urban culture and perceptions (Pulkkinen, 2014). They have this effect for two reasons. Firstly, because they usually appear as bottom-up endeavours, and secondly due to their highly visible and immersive character. Examples of events like Restaurant Day and Cleaning Day in Helsinki are to show the impact of temporary city-scale appropriations on the new formation of the new cultural urban system.


Restaurant day is a result of the fruitful collaboration between municipality and citizens in the city of Helsinki. Since 2011, four times a year, everybody is able to open up their own restaurant, small café, or bicycle bar anywhere in the city - on the street, in the parks, even at their homes. The event initiated at first by a group of friends is now turning into an international festival. Strict food regulations and restaurant licencing are a major obstacle to such events everywhere. All types of food merchandising are strictly observed in Finland, however setting up a restaurant for a day is now allowed. Back when the project was started a journalist asked one of the organizers Olli Siren how she saw the future of the event. Her response four years ago is currently a reality- the onetime event has become an international trendsetter and now restaurant days are happening all over Europe four times a year.(




The major impact of Restaurant day and its growing popularity clearly shows the change in urban culture and the growing sharing attitude it fosters.


Another general temporary transformation at a city scale is Cleaning Day which happens twice a year since 2012. In those days the whole Helsinke turns into a second hand open market where everybody could sell or exchange things they don’t need any more and thus makes recycling easier. The motto of the project is “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. The initiators of Cleaning Day aim with this attitude to foster dynamic and responsible urban culture. Everybody can join- individuals, organisations, even companies. They can all share their locations at the cleaning day web map and advertise themselves using the brochure templates at the webpage. Cleaning day is not only to get rid of things one does not need, it’s about educating of recycling and sharing our belongings. It once more highlights the idea of creating a higher value with less resources and zero production. (https://heyhelsinki.


The city scale pop up transformations are exciting and attractive, and thus contribute to the urban systemic change pushed by temporary uses in a psychological sense. However, they lack a thorough physical impact on urban development. This layer of the system is pro-

vided by temporary transformations utilizing largescale existing infrastructure and single architectural artifacts. Urban professionals argue that temporary uses of such scale do not appear accidentally but as a result of specific conditions and rules. Moreover, they are usually formed in clusters. Those clusters represent a complex internal network with a strong synergy effect (Lehtovuori, 2012) between distinguished use profiles. This thesis project looks only at one aspect of those relationships –the re- appropriation of residual areas from the creative industries and individuals. Creative clusters as defined by UNESCO (2006) are geographic concentrations which “pool together resources into networks and partnerships to cross-stimulate activities, boost creativity and realise economies of scale.” This description brings not only the notion of physical proximity vital for networking, intercommunication and collaboration but also a feeling of a vibrant and complex environment, encouraging creativity and accumulation of ideas. To name a few examples such clusters are the RAW in Berlin, the Weltergasfabrik in Amsterdam, and the Kaapeli Cable Factory in Helsinki. Those successful European projects show the beneficial impact of creative environments on culture-led urban development from both social and urban perspectives.


TEMPORARY USES - SCENARIOS OF DEVELOPMENT STAND IN: with no lasting effect on location

IMPULSE: serving as a trigger for future development like in the case of the Kokos factory started as a cluster to be transformed into the Theatre Academy of Finland. CONSOLIDATION: serving as a trigger for future development like in the case of the Kokos factory started as a cluster to be transformed into the Theatre Academy of Finland. COEXISTENCE: when after a certain period part of the site is left to the creative industries while the rest is gentrified. This is the case of Yaam Club in Berlin.

PARASITE: cluster formation taking advantage of already successful permanent use offering some free space. PIONEER: when the temporary use is not an intermediate but first for the site. Such is the case with the Expo pavilions for example.

DISPLACEMENT: when a permanent use is moved to a different location for a certain period of time. (Lehtovuori, 2003)



The idea of the clustering comes with the notion of collaboration, interdisciplinary exchange, and synergy among activities which inevitably leads to the establishment of social networks and sense of community (European Creative Industries Alliance, 2013). The promotion of cultural workspaces, quarters, and urban clusters has gained momentum in the recent years (Evens, 2009). They are seen both as catalysts of ideas and talents and as triggers of free expression and diversity. One may argue that creative clustering benefits businesses as much if not more than industrial clustering and world famous examples are to prove this statement in the face of Hollywood in the US, the post-production area of Soho and the Dundee video game cluster in the UK.


Beyond the impact on people and creativity temporary uses affect their site as well. In a long-term perspective one can distinguish multiple development typologies. The variety of development scenarios calls for flexibility and adaptability, which on their turn require “weak planning” suggesting a line of possibilities but rigid solutions (Lehtovuori, 2003).


Due to their temporary character the future of creative clusters is usually uncertain, therefore scientists such as Lehtovuori (2003) suggest that those environments should be subjected to “weak” planning which allows for open margins of development and flexibility to adjust to the future scenarios. He suggests that the idea of the “concept city is too narrow and stiff

to encompass the complex urban reality”. It focuses solely on the visual and geometrical representation of a place. Lehtovuori suggests in his doctoral thesis a new experiential approach to the design of spaces considering their social meaning and possible everyday routine. The idea of “weak” planning closely relates to the concept of the “city as a loft”, which was primarily introduced by the Dutch architect and Professor Kees Christiaanse (2010). What the author of the term implies is that urban space could be seen as a large scale loft space appropriated with few but meaningful changes to compliantly accommodate different programs, lifestyles, and experimental activities. According to Christiaanse the future of urban residual areas is to guide a steady and open-ended development adaptable to changes. An example of this new way of design are temporary uses. They reinterpret already existing qualities of a site or a building to build on and give an additional value to them(Christiaanse, 2010). Lofts resemble light structures with wide spans, and high ceilings which predefine a flexible, adaptable, and interesting architectural space. Kees Christiaanse argues that regardless of the specifics of a building’s shape open space creates a strong “architectonic spatial unit that gives a site and a clear orientation and fixes it in the city” partly formal, partly available for occupation (2010). He suggests this idea to be physically communicated through the use of materials showing the contrast between old and new such as cobble stone, parts of railway tracks etc. The trend to separate functions has vanished to embrace the idea of mixing and sharing functions- both


























at an urban and systemic level down to the architectural scale- the place of collaboration and co-working (Christiaanse, 2012). It is not without a reason that Christiaanse makes the link between urban design and architecture in the “city as a loft” concept. Systemic links may exist not only at an urban scale but also between the urban and the architectural environment. Going back to the case of Havis Amanda and the shameless privatisation of public space, the “city as a loft” concept gives an alternative to this trend by expanding the sharing attitude beyond the public realm to embrace and incorporate the built up space. This thesis work would explore a new approach not only towards the adoption of public space, but also to the integration of city owned property into the urban environment for the creation of an open and shared system of public/private spaces that encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration. It calls for new “Yes in my Backyard Attitude” (YiMBY) and sense of belonging. It creates a new system combining the three scales of temporaneity in culture-led urban development.

ARCHITECTURAL SCALE TEMPORARY USES AS MICRO SOCIAL BOMBS The case studies presented below are representative of the powerful impact clustering has on culture-led urban development. They demonstrate how in a situation of economic stagnation and resource scarcity, temporary use of derelict sites relying on low-cost appropriation and programmatic experiments can trigger new life and opportunities. Thus even if they don’t turn into a permanent use, they generate inter-

est towards the site, make it more profitable in the future, reintegrate it into the city, and create prerequisites for gentrification. Professor and architect Caterina Tiazzoldi describes this type of positive effect with the term “micro social bomb”. Micro social bombs resemble minimal urban interventions causing a major transformation in all other city systems- infrastructural, environmental, economical, and social (Tiazzoldi, 2014). The important role of local authorities in the development of such “micro social bombs” has to be recognized as well. For a cluster to be successful, effective leadership and engagement of various levels of government, private and non-for-profit organizations needs to be in place. Responsive organizations need to replace traditional governing structures and serve as a mediator between artists, property owners, and municipality. The destiny of the 59 Rivoli Building in Paris gives one solution to those questions ( history.html). The place is located just behind the Louvre among a polished line of international retail stores one could find the past squat that has now been transformed into a legitimate artistic center. Its history as a hub of alternative culture starts in 1999 when the abandoned building was taken over by artists to exhibit their work and make shows. The initial reaction of the authorities to evict them suddenly changed when a research showed that the place had about 40000 visitors per year. Therefore, the city decided to appropriate the building and legitimise it as a cultural center encouraging freedom of expression and creativity ( Proekt Fabrika is the first attempt in Moscow to support non-commercial art relying on private capital




and a breakthrough for the cultural identity and the creative industry of the city (Belova, 2002).

TREATMENT OF SPACES Community, sharing, borrowing, togetherness, and open source, instead of buying and privatising. Those are the principles of the newly emerging sharing economy. The architectural appropriation of those concepts is reviled by the design of temporary use, flexible structures responding to the call for co-working and creative collaboration. Flexible structures were developed in the 50’s and are currently being reintroduced in the architectural agenda. They give a feasible solution to the design of temporary use spaces and shared collaborative environments. Back in the days flexible structures were largely applied by professionals such as Team X, the Methabolists, the Structuralists, and the Situationalists. However, due to the strong conceptual character of the works of those architects, they usually resulted in technically heavy systems. Today’s professionals have the advantage not only to learn from those mistakes but also to benefit from the new technological innovations in order to provide computer-aid flexible design, modularity, more organic growth, and a free flow within and in between structures. The design of co-working creative spaces requires an immense attention to the detail. A research done inrelation to The Cluster 2020 Project “Taking Co-working to the next Level” suggests some insights and criteria important for the development of a successful co-working creative cluster (2013).

MEGATREND SHARING Co-working spaces are just one expression of the sharing economies. Other examples are open source, AirBnB, and car sharing. They all aim to encourage collaboration togetherness, and creativity but also to acknowledge the fact that sharing resources in times of scarcity is vital for our sustainable future. STRONG LINK WITH THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES AND STARTUPS Endeavours – especially when such environments emerge as temporary uses, they offer flexibility and require minimal investment from creatives. They target a new generation of professionals open to collaboration and personal engagement. VARIETY OF SPACES Every user is different and has their specific needs. Unlike the design model suggested by open plan offices where all workstations are equivalent to prevent from a feeling of discrimination, the design of co-working spaces focuses on the individual user’s needs. This is due not only to the various needs each user has, but also to the fact that many co-workers prefer a different setting for a different occasion. A simple example could be given with seating - sitting in a niche, for example, provides a feeling of privacy in comparison to a free standing desk, but it is still more open than a cubical and gives an overview of the rest of the space. In relation to the type of work one has to do they may pick the right spot for them. ZONING A lot of examples of well-designed co-working spaces are to show that just a large room with tables and chairs is not




enough to invite the creative industries. It is a compilation of a variety of spaces with different atmosphere and requirements, which requires spatial and even sound insulation. The fallowing zones are most frequently found in co-working spaces: entrance area; more open and more enclosed working stations; conference rooms; event spaces; coffee spaces and bars; communal kitchen; spaces for community rituals of different kind; private phoning space; members’ notice board. (Martin’s report: PRICING Relying on city-owned property for the development of temporary facilities of such kind provides an economically feasible solution for young entrepreneurs and artists.

EXAMPLES A representative project that takes advantage of various types of lighting, transparency, range of materials and colors, as well as succession of volumes to achieve hybridation between the traditional office-like European architectural planning and the US model of open space is the Toolbox in Turin, Italy, designed by Caterina Tiazzoldi ( Aalto Venture Garage – both a co-working space and an incubator, especially open to encourage collaboration between students, researchers, and professors in a joint effort of innovation (European Creative Industries Alliance, 2013) . The place resembles a transformation of a plain indus-

trial hall building with the incorporation of shipping containers which creates an open plan and fluidity. The containers are used as meeting rooms and more quite workspaces among other more “public” spots such as couch areas and coffee tables. Shared work areas are arranged in the loft spaces on top of the containers. The Garage also provides larger and small stages for presentation as well as the finish benchmark the “Startup Sauna”. The threshold between precision and freedom is hard to define both in urban and in architectural scale. One of the challenges of this project is to suggest strategies in both scales which establish this balance in the city of Sofia.

CONCLUSION To conclude, the idea of temporary uses is gaining momentum in Europe for two main reasons. Firstly, because of its powerful influence on all three brunches of sustainable urban development - social, environmental, and economic; and secondly, due to its direct relationship with the mainstream trend of sharing economy. Looking at the sustainability trinity, the social benefits are related to the creation of a creative and vibrant urban space recognised by the wider public. Furthermore, temporary uses provide an affordable solution for creative businesses and start-ups, which support innovation and the knowledge economy, and bring commercial benefits. Moreover, such clusters encourage grassroots movements to develop the potentials of those areas with minimal investment. From an ur-


Community, sharing, borrowing, togetherness, and open source, instead of buying and privatising. Those are the principles of the newly emerging sharing economy. The architectural appropriation of those concepts is reviled by the design of temporary use, flexible structures responding to the call for co-working and creative collaboration.


ban and environmental perspective, cultural clusters give a sustainable future to neglected sites and artefacts under heritage protection. Inspired by the idea of sharing and open source the Trans European Halles network was established where good practices in the temporary uses and creative clusters development are shared among countries. Although this collaboration and overall awareness are important for one to be able to respond to the specific needs of a particular environment, they should study the local context in all of its dimensions- economic, cultural, and legal. Moreover, to overcome the beaurocratic discord the novel role of the urban pioneers should come into place to create the synergy between the top-down development strategies of the city and the dreams and visions of the citizens. As Hernberg says “In the end it is the back-and-forth between bottom-up initiatives and government structures that has the potential to make a difference” (2013). This difference could be realised in various scales when it comes to temporary uses - from total appropriations of a whole city to creative cluster development and the small but impactful micro-social bombs. The positive social and urban impact of temporary creative uses, especially when clustered in systems, is acknowledged by experts and in reality. Yet, due to their uncertain patterns of development a flexible – “weak” planning frame is to be established, which would allow for open margins and adaptability of the system. Lehtovuori’s future scenarios could serve as a base when figuring out the proper uses and the potentials of a certain cluster. They are also used as an assessment criteria when focusing on the Sofia case.

As implied by the concept of the “city as a loft”, merging functions, environments, and scales is vital for the establishment of a system and further enhances its flexible nature. On the other hand, looking from the architectural point of view, the synergy effect between urban, landscape, and architectural design leads to the opposite idea of architecture as urban landscape, visible in the Toolbox project by Caterina Tiazzoldi. ( ). The amalgamation of those two concepts leads to the physical demonstration of the sharing economy and togetherness. This idea would be planted when looking at the case of Sofia and such relationship would be envisioned with the final design task. Within the next chapter a deep study of the Sofia context is presented. It starts with a timeline comparison between the cultural development of the Finish and the Bulgarian capital cities, taking into consideration the points of overlap as a learning basis from Helsinki’s success. Further follows an assessment of Sofia in the lines of future plans according to strategic documents as well as a map-based research of the spatial and urban systems of the city, and an analysis of the actor’s needs. Based on this field research a cohesive strategy for the establishment of a system of cultural clusters is suggested. This new system aims to recalibrate the old industrial infrastructure to the new needs of contemporary artists and the knowledge society in the city of Sofia reintegrating the north fringe area that now serves as a barrier for the city growth and resembles a dispersed and scattered space separating the lively area of the centre with the peripheral residential neighbourhoods to the north.





As a nonconforming introduction to the Sofia case a timeline comparison between the cultural development of Sofia and Helsinki is presented below. Both similarities and differences are assessed, so that the successful example of the Finish capital could be used as a guideline when approaching the case of Sofia afterwards. As previously observed in the frame of the European cultural development context, history and traditions influence to a great extend the creative progress and citizens’ attitude towards the urban impact of culture. Bulgaria, like most of the countries in transition from Soviet influence and Socialist Dictatorship suffered from the psychological boundaries of previously imposed norms and rules for creative expression. However, from talks with people contemporaries of socialism one gets the impression that, although top-down operated, cultural life in Sofia was flourishing before 1989. Especially after the 70’s, despite the strong political relations with Russia, Bulgaria turned to be a venue where Soviet and Western cultures meet and events such as the World first Biennale of Architecture in Sofia in 1981 and the World Youth Forum in 1976 are to prove this fact. Dancing ensembles, artists, architects, and poets were the ones able to travel the

world and to bring fresh influences back. One might even argue that it is the times of censorship, when true cultural expression is born- rebellious theater plays, poems, and songs were spreading around. It was interesting to fallow and compare the time lines of the cultural urban development of the Finish and the Bulgarian capitals in order to establish a link between their histories and to see where the similarities and the differences are. This analysis gave basis for the development of an objective strategy for the future formation of temporary creative clusters and bottom up endeavours in Sofia learning from the achievements of the Finish capital.


Both Finland and Bulgaria were strongly influenced by the Soviet political system. Therefore the transformation of the urban cultures in Sofia and Helsinki started at approximately the same period. In Helsinki the first push was given by the Helsinki festival in 1968, while in Sofia the impulse was made by the First Music Festival in May 1970, followed by the establishment of the first studio for electronic music in 1973 (Tomova, 2011).


As previously stated, although the culture in the 80’s back home was top-down operated, it was thriving. This decade is also emblematic for the appearance of the first grassroots movements – hipsters, hard






rock, and metal subcultures. There were few urban locations, some of which still popular that were famous for the underground culture- “Patriarch Evtimii” Square, “The whole” close to the National Palace of Culture, and the space around “Petar Beron” Cinema, which was the first legal spot for listening to rock music (Tomova, 2011). In Helsinki as well those years were marked by the first temporary events and urban appropriations. The trendsetters at the urban stage were the alternative concert venue “Leppako” established in 1979 and the cultural center in the old Nokia cable factory in 1987. Slowly but surely through the 80’s Helsinki was transformed. New music venues and restaurants, urban magazines and radio stations, break dance and graffiti started to emerge followed by festivals of different kind and scale (Hernberg, 2008). In the Finish capital the 90’s are exemplary for the landing of the techno music wave with new urban happenings and the birth of new artist’s associations, whereas in Sofia apart from the electronic music, those were also the years of the first independent theatres and cultural centers (Hernberg, 2008).


The 90’s in Bulgaria were recognized as a period of political transition, high emigration, demographic decline, and economic stagnation. They led to a lack of sense of community, civic engagement and feeling of responsibility. The abundance of cultural infrastructure was left empty due to the death of the economy and the former strong censorship. It was harder for Sofia and its citizens to open up to cultural influences and urban development up until almost 2005. It’s only the first Sofia Film Festival in 1997, and single


rebellious manifestations such as graffiti and the underground R&B and rave lifestyles that could be considered more significant for the urban culture (Tomova,2011). As opposed to this picture Helsinki’s city center had expanded to fit and embrace the variety of new subcultures and to allocate them throughout its territory. As a consequence previously unattractive neighborhoods such as Kallio as well as old industrial and railway properties were converted into art studios and creative spaces. Small specialized stores started to pop up marketing new trendy lifestyles and outfits. Kallio, known today as the bohemian neighborhood of Helsinki used to be a pretty separated from the center working-class area. The history of the district is a real example of how culture and creativity could serve as an urban regeneration tool. The story stars in the 70’s when students, artists, freelancers, and young entrepreneurs started to appropriate Kallio’s streets opening their small workshops and studios due to the more affordable retail spaces on offer. Today, the area appears much more polished than before and definitely less sketchy combining artsy atmosphere, diversity and wide range of offerings. Does the ongoing gentrification mean, however, that artist should search for another place? And where would the next Kallio be? Urban farmers and artists are already invading new temporary places such as the old railway buildings in Pasila – the area around the central railways station as well as some spaces in the Kontula neighborhood (Hernberg. 2008). Fallowing the cultural development of both capital cities clearly shows that the situation in Helsinki ten years ago in terms of regulations concerning public

behavior and use of space was more or less the same as the current state in Sofia. The city rules were more than restrictive and creative endeavors were hardly realized through official channels. Bottom-up initiatives were neglected and only top-down planning and decision-making was guiding the urban development process. Actually, the first grassroots projects were rebellious squatting initiatives with a successful and happy end. Such is the case with the transformation of Nokia’s cable factory- Kaapelitehdas into one of the largest cultural factories in Europe. The project started in the 1990’s provoked by a newspaper ad “Workspaces rented for a year” that Ilonen came across. By the word of mouth the whole building was occupied for less than a month by artists who started intensively reshaping the core premises of the building to fit their needs. What happened though after their contracts ended? The new Helsinki Master plan considered the factory to be demolished. The ProKaapeli Movement was founded to argument against this and after half a year the municipality was convinced to cooperate with them and revive the place (Hernberg, 2013). Currently, the Cable Factory is living its new life accommodating artists’ studios, small-scale manufacturing, sports facilities, event spaces, and even small museums. The so called “SoHo phenomenon” was avoided.

through surprising transformations and could now serve as an example on how design may contribute to a better, more open city and citizens. (Hernberg, 2012). Helsinki was nominated for European Capital of Culture in the year 2000 which triggered a dynamic change in the perception of the relationship between culture, growth, and urban development. A lot of seminars and discussions were organized on the topic to finally conclude that those matters seem to be more related to attitude rather than to design. Therefore people should be enabled and encouraged to adjust the city according to their taste, to organize events, to make initiatives, and to take responsibility for the quality of urban life in their hometowns. David Bornstein says “It takes creative individuals with determination and indomitable will to propel the innovation that society needs to tackle its toughest problems” (Hernberg,2013). Helsinki’s bid for European Cultural Capital made the city officials reconsider participatory practices and grassroots initiatives.

After the success of the project other cultural locations were founded in Helsinki fallowing the same regeneration model. Examples are Helsinki’s old power plants and tram halls.

From the timeline comparison of events is evident that eleven years later in 2011 - when Sofia was nominated for Cultural Capital the same processes of culture-led urban development were generated and the first bottom up efforts started to evolve. National researches show that although the creative industries and the citizen’s interest towards culture in Sofia has dropped substantially in the years 2003-2007, since then the dynamics of the cultural life has been triggered.



In the past few years the reserved Nordic city passed

Helsinki was also picked as World Design Capital in




2012 which led to further innovations and investments in culture and regeneration through design practices. Currently, a lot of urban examples in the city are to show that derelict places and areas under transformation could and do serve as catalysts for new ideas, creative expressions, art projects, and start up endeavours. Nowadays, that the seeds of this new proactive urban attitude are planted Helsinki is going through some very impactful and inspiring urban projects. Their case study are presented in the appendix chapter of the book and were used as a reference for the Sofia case. As far as Sofia is concerned, years were needed for the country to open up to Western influence, especially in the creative sphere. It is only in the recent years that the shell starts to break and new grassroots movements are leading their way through the cultural scene (Tomova, 2011).


Sofia and the South-west region entered the competition for European Capital of Culture in 2011 under the motto “Share Sofia” acknowledging the vital impact of sharing and collaboration for creativity, innovation, interaction, and trust. From the timeline one could easily fallow the outburst of creative endeavors after this date and the enormous impact of the campaign on the cultural development and the quality of life in the city. Some emblematic projects, some of which are still in development are: UnderGara, Zona Cultura, and Fabrika 126 – temporary use clusters; Derida dance center, SOHO and Betahaus – creative co-working spaces; as

well as NeFest and Water Tower Festival- venues for urban culture. Although Sofia did not win the completion, the seeds of shared economy and collaboration are already planted in the mindset of city-officials and professionals. The Vision of Sofia as a Creative Capital City foresees its future as an innovative and creative metropolitan of opportunities, an urban arena of active citizens’ participation in cultural life and integration with the cultural heritage. An idealistic goal set by Sofia’s Cultural Strategy is everybody to have access to culture and a chance for creative expression. The tools of shared economy at an urban scale are suggesting a sustainable solution to fulfil this aim (Sofia Vision, 2011) The development of temporary cultural clusters in the city would not only give a creative milieu for emerging cultural endeavors and startups, but it would suggest a way to utilize old industrial buildings with heritage status for creative purposes, revitalize the areas, raise their environmental quality and invite visitors to the derelict territories (National Strategy for Cluster Development, 2006).


Recognizing the positive impact of shared economies on culture-led urban development gives one a reason to explore the potential development of a system of cultural clusters, predominantly formed by the transformation of already existing buildings bordering the periphery of the city center, which would strengthen the physical links between them and thus create cohesion in the dispersed urban tissue and trigger interests towards those areas.








Solving this problem would connect the network flows, recalibrate the network nodes and reprogram the network itself to fit the specific needs of citizens, art, and entrepreneurial communities. It will set the beginning of a natural transformation process that would start with no additional footprint and would suggest a strategic further development of the area. Moreover, this culture-led urban development would encourage alternative cultural and artistic expressions and stimulate active participation. The case study starts with a general introduction to the Sofia context. It then looks more closely at the existing cultural infrastructure and analyzes the current cultural agglomerations and hotspots in the city based on the project “”. As a next step, a map of the potential spaces for temporary cultural uses is offered, founded on a thorough research of the online database of city owned assets, newspaper articles, and conversations with private investors interested in sharing their property. Then, those buildings are classified, using a set of urban and architectural criteria. The selection of conditions is based on the research performed in the theoretical frame. At an urban scale the buildings are assessed looking at the possibilities of realizing the “city as a loft” strategy and Lehtovuori’s scenarios of development, whereas zooming into the architectural scale Tiazzoldi’s idea, of spatial flexibility and architecture as an urban landscape, is taken as a leading standpoint.

related to the assessment of actor’s needs. For the project to be able to respond to those needs, a poll is released to a 100 creative organisations and individuals in Sofia. The main objective of the poll is not only to acknowledge the spatial conditions artists want, but also the favourable locations and necessary infrastructure they wish for. As a result of this three step spatial analysis – by criteria and by poll, a map classifying the previously suggested places is presented. Looking at the possibilities of integrating a new system of cultural clusters within the city organism calls for an analysis of the existing urban systems as well. Such map based study is performed subsequently. Finally, the existing and the perspective cultural hotspots identified in the spatial analysis are overlapped and engaged within the city organism. As a result a fully compliant with Sofia’s particularities urban strategy is presented. The idea is based on the concept of the “city as a loft” suggested by Christiaanse, and thus aims to be responsive to future externalities (typical for temporary uses) and at the same time resilient in time.

Sharing and flexibility, especially when it comes to physical assets and working environments are strongly


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SOFIA IN NUMBERS Sofia is the biggest city in Bulgaria and the 13th in size in the European Union. The Capital city is the main administrative, industrial and transport hub in the country. It accommodates 1 285 616 people which accounts for about 17.5% of Bulgaria’s population. It holds 1/5 of the work force in the country. With its most than 20 universities of different sizes and its 22 art and cultural academic institutions it brings youngsters from all over the country. It comes naturally that 58% of the creative industries are situated in Sofia and they account for 6.7% of the working force (Sofia Strategy for Culture development 20122020). In 2011 a cartography of the cultural and creative industries in Sofia was performed and the statistics show that 25% of the theatres in the country are based in the capital city. CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE MUSEUMS THEATRES GALLERIES CINEMAS PUBLISHING AGENCIES CULTURAL CENTERS ART ACADEMIES UNIVERSITIES

NUMBER 28 32 >60 31 130 112 22 20

The young spirit of Sofia has managed in the last decade to wake up the urban culture and calls for more and better opportunities for creative expression and artistic venues. Temporary uses could be a sustainable solution to this

problem, which gives an affordable option for work and expression of artists, revitalizes abandoned areas, and starts with a zero footprint. To be able to create a system out of those potential cultural hotspots, they should be mapped, assessed, and linked to the concrete desires of the creative industries in the capital city. But prior to this analysis, a large scale study of the existing urban systems is performed to better understand the local urban context and its problems (Sofia Strategy for Culture development 2012-2020). This part of the case study finishes with a reading of the territory aimed for transformation from a purely urban perspective.

URBAN ANALYSIS Sofia District is situated in the valley between the Balkan and Vitosha Mountains, which serve as geographical margins to the territory. From both the map of the green system and the one of the water system is visible that the green system penetrates in the city from the south, while the water system spreads from the north with the feeders of the Iskar River. Sofia is the biggest transport hub in the country, through which major international corridors are passing as well. From the timeline following the urban growth of the city in history, one could see that the trend of expansion is going southwards towards Vitosha Mountain. A barrier to the city urban development to the north is the railway road- once bordering the city, yet cur-









rently fringing the urban core.


Sofia, as an old fortress city, grows radially in time. It has a definitive central core – a hub of activities and a meeting point for the major streets serving the city and linking the centre with the periphery. This central development of the transport system is broken by the line of the railway road, which is currently cutting through it, causing multiple problems with transport and pedestrian connectivity and leading to a dispersion of the city fabric. Sofia’s Agency of urban Planning has done a lot of research regarding that matter. The two main approaches they see are elevating or submerging the railway so that its physical presence is no longer an obstacle for urban expansion and connectivity. However both of those methods are costly and would never be turned into a reality. Therefore a softer approach, with a suggestive character, flexible and able to be modified in time is required. As far as the public transportation is concerned. Although the railroad still serves as an obstacle, the expansion of the metro system in the recent years, made the area more approachable. The bicycle system in Sofia is less than developed. It is fractured which makes it hard for a cyclist to follow a rout. A link which would potentially engage all of the existing bicycle paths into a cohesive system could be a ring-road following the trace of the old railway, bordering the core of the city. Such a ring would also be a vital pedestrian connection to all of the major parks in the city.

Sofia’s green system is established based on the proximity of the city with the mountains. The way the city was planned aimed at allowing the nature to penetrated deep in the urban core, and thus creating a rich system of recreational outdoor spaces and letting the metropolitan breath. However, most of those green rays coming from the south are now treated as brownfields and are not taken care of. This gives one yet another reason to search for a better link among those spaces and engaging them into a unified green system.

CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE ANALYSIS The following cultural infrastructure analysis is separated in three main points – an assessment of existing cultural infrastructure; a cartography and analysis of derelict but potential for temporary use buildings founded on the, the integrated plan of urban development, and Sofia’s Cultural strategy – maps of the existing cultural activity agglomerations and hotspots are presented. It concludes with a writing on top of the urban reading performed in the previous chapter which leads to the project’s strategy and master plan.


The spatial analysis of existing cultural activities and agglomerations is based on a research done for the project – a map-based desktop application. The project resembles a thorough database of geo-localized cultural buildings and their cartography. It identifies cultural buildings of different kind in all








The spatial a based on a r desktop app localized cul buildings of

The cultural In the activit relevant one infrastructur

Based on the cultural acti the spread o makes it visi expansion to activities.

Sofia’s Cultu infrastructur

SOFIA D concert halls cinemas cultural centers theaters cultural institutes galleries interests’ clubs interests museums others


bars and restaurants universities shopping

READING OF CULTURAL FLOWS Existing cultural & WiFi Hotspots Triangulations of pedestrian flows among existing hotspots






of Sofia’s 24 regions. The cultural infrastructure in the database is separated in different categories. In the activities map presented in this case study are shown only the most relevant ones excluding open public spaces, sports facilities, and engineering infrastructure ( Based on the proximity of points on the map a drawing visualizing the current cultural activity agglomerations is generated. This new map is to show that the spread of cultural knots in the city fallows its urban growth. Moreover, it makes it visible that the railway line which is a physical barrier for city expansion to the north also serves as a limit to the urban range of creative activities. Sofia’s Cultural strategy as well outlines the need of more cultural infrastructure, especially in the north fringe areas bordering the urban centre. Map (#) is to show the existing peripheral urban centres and the decentralization strategy of the city for the next years. A main goal of the policy is to cross the barrier of the railway and let decentralization expand beyond it. One way to overcome an obstacle is to assimilate it. In the case of Sofia this process could be stimulated by the establishment of strong links between already existing cultural hotspots and the potential ones and thus creating a system. Those hotspots are shown in a separate map, based on an assessment of the urban nodes related to culture and their magnetic effect for other creative industries and activities. The importance of those clusters in relation to the integrated growth of the urban cultural system is intensified by a new layer in Sofia’s infrastructural system-

the free WiFi . Sofia has a leading position among the European cities in terms of Wi-Fi coverage in public spaces and parks. Although not physically present this new connective tissue is important for the creation of a system of cultural points and serves as yet another layer in it. Moreover, WiFi coverage is essential when it comes to temporary uses and the sharing economy, because it serves as an enabler of easy communication, collaboration, and social network construction. Proceeding with the special analysis a reading of the pedestrian triangulations among those existing hotspots is performed and visualized on map (#) which would then give basis for slow mobility links with the temporary use clusters.

CARTOGRAPHY OF DERILICT BUT POTENTIAL CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE This part of the case study is devoted to the assessment of possibilities of temporary use formation. The urban locations are firstly divided in two main scalesareal and architectural. At a territorial scale, the focus is on old industrial sites and highlights the areas considered for regeneration within the framework of Sofia’s Strategy 2020. As far as the architectural artefacts are concerned, firstly a cartography of the buildings suitable to adopt temporary uses is made, based on the online database of city owned assets as well as different articles and experts’ opinions.

Old Industrial Sites

In the years 1950-1990 26 large industrial sites were developed along Sofia’s railroad and highways. However, due to both the new technological advancements






5 6 7 9

8 20


24 25



19 18






14 15

11 13






and the economic stagnation, those areas are now derelict. 20% of those facilities are in a close proximity to the city center which creates vast disruption of the urban fabric and leads to the desire of city officials to redevelop those areas. Regeneration of six of them is suggested according to Sofia’s Master Plan. ( While top-down gentrification is already intentioned for some of the territories, others are stuck in the threshold between past and future uses and temporary cultural activities could potentially fill this time gap and propose new paths of development relying on bottom-up practices.

Built Assets

Sofia Municipality has an existing set of city owned property that is left inefficiently used or totally neglected. On the other hand artists and cultural organizations have a strong need of places to work and express themselves. This statement is supported both from a poll released to the creative industries and interviews with city representatives. The city officials admit that there is a lack of thorough database of the potential spaces. In order to identify all of the prospective temporary use properties, a research of the online database of city owned assets is performed. Additional suggestions are taken from articles on the topic of temporary creative uses. For the specific location with a linked picture, representative of the current state of the buildings, one may refer to map 2.2. The map includes only buildings located in the city core and its immediate surroundings, because according to the performed theoretical

research and its case studies, those are the more beneficial areas for temporary uses development. All of the buildings on the map are assessed based on certain criteria, defined as an outcome of the theoretical frame. Those factors are separated in two main groups according to the scale they operate in- urban and architectural and are hereby described. The table below presents the assessment of potential places for cultural cluster development.

Artists’ vision

To be able to provide facilities and spaces in compliance with the needs of the creative communities, the wishes of the artists are to be assessed as well. Therefore, a poll regarding those matters was released to the cultural sector in Sofia. The study was made as a part of the project “Sofia Shared Spaces, in which I am working with “Transformers” Association and Center for Non-Formal Education and Cultural Activities (ALOS). The poll was released and filled in on-line. To maximize the representativeness of the study, were selected various target groups: NGOs, government, business and funders folk centers, informal groups and individual artists. Their selection was made based on the following criteria: activity and frequency of performances and organized events; received funding for project management in the field of culture and arts in the period 2009 – 2013. For participation in the survey were asked:




• All non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in activities in the field of culture and art (source: Central Register of non-profit organizations under the Ministry of Justice) • All cultural organizations performing activities on the territory of Sofia city (source: Register of cultural organizations of the Ministry of Culture) • Organizations funded in the period 2009 - 2012 d ‘program “Culture” and “Europe” of Sofia Municipality and the program “public” and “Debuts” National Fund “Culture” • Individual artists and informal groups • Commercial and government organizations In the enquiry took part a total number of 32 organisations and artists: 2 commercial organisations, 19 NGOs, one informal group, 9 individual artists, and one financial organization. A summary of the inquiry’s results are outlined below with the intention to then be used in assessing and categorizing the available public property and pick the one to be designed. Moreover, it would give basis for identification of the functional programming the design should provide.


A general overview of the poll’s results shows that the highest participation was realized by organisations and artists in the fields of fine and applied arts, performing arts and music. In terms of the need of organisations to physically share their workspace with other professional groups on regular basis 43% of the respondents answered positively; 21% would like to share their daily activities 2-3 times a week); 12% - only occasionally, and

another 12% would use the it only for events or temporary uses. As far as the parameters of the desired workspace are concerned 68% of the respondents indicate that they would like to work in a close proximity to the city core, but not in the urban centre. Of paramount importance in the selection of the desired location are convenient connections by public transport (96%), concentration of artists and organizations with similar activities (36%), concentration of various organizations, institutions and services supporting / complementary activities of organizations (14% ), green areas nearby, safety and adequate social protection (11%), possibility of parking, access and bicycle parking (7%).

Functional Programming

A detailed reference to the preferences of organisations in terms of functionality of the premises is presented to serve as a basis when structuring the design requirements. Out of those typologies there are few combinations which are most commonly encountered ant those are: • Workshops / studios, administrative offices, offices, kitchen, bathroom / WC, exhibition spaces, and a meeting room; • Workshops / studios, machinery room, bathroom / WC, exhibition spaces, and warehouses; • Workshops / studios, kitchen, bathroom WC, performance halls (for theatre, dance, music, etc.), exhibition spaces, storage rooms, and a meeting room.




Specific requirements

For all of the above mentioned premises artists have their specific requirements as well. Their preferences are assessed percentagewise, based on the amount of responses in favour of a certain criteria.

CATEGORIES Based on this general assessment related to the above described criteria and the needs of the artists’ communities in Sofia are depicted five main typologies of buildings – existing cultural centres able to host other activities; buildings considered too small to offer flexibility of indoor spaces; buildings with favourable location and spatial characteristics able to be engaged in a cultural path; buildings with optimal location and spatial conditions with no possibility of clustering; and buildings which already host some cultural activities.

1. Existing cultural centres able to host other activities Other than the general spatial conditions and the relationship with the urban system, this category is mainly associated with Lehtovuori’s scenarios for temporary uses development. The temporary uses able to be developed in those buildings are “parasites” or cluster formations taking advantage of already successful permanent uses- in this case other cultural centres, which offer some free space. This type of buildings are quite dispersed in the urban fabric and do not give the possibility of clustering. Moreover, since the facilities are functioning, there is a certain interest already existing towards them. In general the areas they are positioned in are not der-

elict or don’t need regeneration. Furthermore, those buildings don’t offer the desired for temporary uses spatial flexibility and are not preferred from the creative communities. For all of the above mentioned reasons, facilities falling in this category could be only considered as supportive to the main system of cultural clusters.

2. Buildings considered too small to offer flexibility of indoor spaces Some of the buildings on the map are abandoned publicly owned assets within a good range to the city centre. They are also well connected to the existing infrastructure and most of them are in a structurally good condition. However, those buildings are too small to offer flexibility and variety of uses. They don’t allow for the desired in temporary uses open margins and loft construction. Moreover, they can’t fit a high range of creative activities and wouldn’t be able to offer inter-disciplinary exchange. Therefore, they are not preferred among artists. Last but not least, such buildings could never turn into hotspots and lack significance at an urban scale, which in terms of their future perspectives means that they would most likely stay in the “standin” zone and will not have a regenerative impact.

3. Buildings with favourable location and spatial characteristics able to be engaged in a cultural path This category of buildings gets optimal assessment in

both architectural and urban criteria. The structures are well connected to the city core, available, and




large. They offer good potentials in terms of spatial variety and flexibility of uses. Their industrial character is seen as charming among the creative individuals and they have promising perspectives in terms of Lehtovuori’s scenarios. All of the buildings in this category allow for the possibility to be connected in a cultural line of development which could trigger an accumulative effect and in this way lead to a system changing movement (Pulkkinen, 2014). The impact of this new cultural system is of a great importance for Sofia’s urban development, because all of the structures are situated along the railway road. The intensification of cultural uses in those hotspots and their physical connection with a slow mobility path, would turn the traces of the railroad from a barrier to a threshold.

5. Buildings which already host some cultural activities There are already present attempts to utilize existing property- predominantly private but derelict industrial buildings, for creative purposes in the city. It is interesting to acknowledge the accumulating power of those trends, because the projects that are currently developed carrying this idea are all happening in close proximity to each other and the informal formation of a cultural cluster in the area along the rails between the Central Railway Station and Sofia’s Stock Railway Station has already started.

As a result, even if they don’t go into “consolidation” phase and they don’t succeed into a permanent use, they would serve as an “impulse” for regeneration or would potentially start “co-existing” with new programs.

4. Buildings with optimal location and spatial conditions but no possibility of clustering Those buildings differ from the above described category only in terms of their geo-location. There is no opportunity for them to be engaged in a cluster and therefore they can’t lead to the desired systemic change and the disappearance of the railway as a barrier.



CONCLUSION Based on both the comparative study of the overall cultural development of Sofia and Helsinki as well as the more focused analysis of grassroots projects in the last decade in the Bulgarian capital, one may assume that the city is leading its way towards culture-led urban development. Moreover, first attempts in temporary uses and creative cluster formation are already initiated. However, the lack of a cohesive integrated vision for the progress of this cluster and its integration with the surrounding environment turn to be an issue.

As a final outcome, a cultural master plan which recalibrates the old industrial infrastructure relying on temporary uses to fit the needs of contemporary artists and the knowledge society in the city of Sofia is proposed. From an urban perspective, it aims at reintegrating the north fringe area that now serves as a barrier for the city growth and resembles a dispersed and scattered space separating the lively area of the centre with the peripheral residential neighbourhoods to the north.

To conclude, out of the above described categories, a connection between the buildings in the third and the fifth group should be established. Based on Pulkkinen’s theory, a strong link between those potential and existing temporary uses could affect the larger cultural system in the city. This movement should be triggered as an open and adaptive system with a suggestive character, due to the uncertain future of all of the emerging temporary cultural hotspots. Therefore, using as a foundation the “city as a loft” concept, as a follow up to the urban and spatial analysis, a strategy for this connection is proposed. Christiaanse’s idea fits well the objectives of the project and the specifics of the Sofia case, because it propels the idea of flexibility and adaptability and thus helps the resilience of the new system in time.










SYSTEM OVERLAY The deep study of Sofia’s potentials for culture-led urban development as well as the analysis of the opportunities and disadvantages which the current relational systems in the city suggest, led to the realisation of a city scale strategy engaging the fringe area bordering the urban core. The new system follows the trace of the old railway


The project strategy is based on the urban reading, the overlap of the existing cultural system and its potential growth, as well as on the links between all of the other urban relational systems. As it is visible from the analysis of the contemporary urban cultural processes, there is currently a momentum in the initiation of temporary uses. Although their future is uncertain, this trend should be used to strengthen the accumulative effect of the strategy. The laws of attraction are of vital importance for the creation of connections and thus for the establishment of a complex network system with synergy effect The strategy has three main objectives: to recalibrate the old industrial infrastructure to the human scale; to reintegrate the north fringe area of the city; and to establish a new open, shared, and flexible soft relational system that engages both public and private spaces. The strategy relies on a novel approach based on the “city as a loft” theoretical frame to establish a network that allows for the expansion of the existing cultural mesh.

Due to the hazardous prospect of the temporary uses sites, the future of the new system is uncertain. Therefore it calls for a “weak” planning, which allows for open margins of development and flexibility to adjust to the possible future scenarios.


The most complex area of the large territory which the strategy encompasses is the north fringe area bordering the urban core. The space is interesting for two main reasons. Firstly, due to its complex urban nature characterised by vast void spaces and brownfields of old industrial sites, and the functioning part of the railway, which serves as a barrier for the city growth and produces dispersed and scattered space alongside it as well. Thus it separates the vivid urban core and the peripheral residential neighbourhoods to the north. The second reason this area is attention-grabbing is related to the fact that there are clustered the most potential for cultural appropriation buildings. The urban reading of the area reveals its strong pedestrian relation to the city and the opportunity to turn the derelict infrastructure into a system of cultural hotspots. The strategy for the north fringe initiates a change in the current urban relational system and establishes rehabilitation of the urban space with a staged process of attraction, enclosure, and densification. It creates unity of the disrupted space by swapping the line of the railway barrier with another human scale relational system.




The structural backbone of the new system is the pedestrian path which is elevated on top of the railway and follows its course. Along its way this backbone engages all of the potential cultural hotspots and depending on their development in time the system reveals further physical guidelines, which lead to regeneration of the surrounding urban space. Due to the system’s flexibility and scalability it is subjected to further changes in the future, expanding with additional guidelines (paths) until the complete gentrification of the urban space and the total prevalence of the new soft relational system to the railway infrastructure. The ring-path creates a linear link between all of the potential cultural buildings, the green spaces, and the old industrial brownfields. This peripheral to the city core link causes external expansion of the cultural mesh and its further growth to the residential neighbourhoods. The ring-path works as a suggestive line of development, flexible to change and to grow towards any new hot spot. Based on the system thinking theories the enclosure of cultural points along the ring-path would trigger their further densification which would establish the system’s resilience in time (Polkkinen, 2014).


Matching the user profiles and their aspirations with the cartography of available infrastructure, gives a foundation for the further programming of the master plan and finally for the design proposal as well. The master plan envisions the urban space as a largescale loft space appropriated with a few but meaningful changes, to compliantly accommodate different

programmes, life styles, and experimental activities. As stated in the theoretical frame temporary uses could be realised in various scales and this master plan benefits from such a programming that utilises all of them. It engages all urban dimensions- city, neighbourhood, and architectural artefact to integrate the new relational system in the city organism. City scale appropriations are linked to the designed public spaces for pop up events and prototyping activities as well as to a system of rolling pavilions using the old rail infrastructure to be moved from place to place with the same purposes. Those activities of event character would push the interest of the citizens towards the site and would be a powerful tool to study the needs of Sofia’s communities. The urban scale design of the master plan focuses on the north fringe area of the city defining two main types of spaces- fluid use spaces and static use spaces. The fluid space is resembled by the pedestrian path that turns into a bridge on top of the railway to allow for multiple inclinations of the main walking course, which are not initially predefined and could emerge in the process. The fluid space uses include: slow mobility promenade, fast walking electrical lanes, viewing platforms, cultural pockets, relax areas, vertical communications (stairs, ramps, and elevators). Whereas the static spaces require more relaxed manner of use and serve as: recreational areas, prototyping spaces, pop up uses, urban farms, farmer’s markets, open stage, exhibition area, bio swales for soil regeneration later replaced with agricultural testing fields and bio labs. The objective is merging architecture and urban space













into an uninterrupted landscape which allows for constant flow of people, creativity, ideas, and collaboration. The master plan is designed so as to encourage collaboration, creativity, and temporary culture endeavours and not only operates in multiple scales, but also in two levels- not only physical through the slow mobility path, but also virtual which leads to the establishment of a sense of community and networking. Virtually the strategy for the area is enhanced by the creation of a social web platform, where all property owners, city officials, and artists could interact. The platform aims not only to speed up the process of urban regeneration by fostering online connection between the different actors in the network, but also would trigger collaboration and creative exchange among artists.

MASTER PLAN FEASIBILITY Sofia as most of the metropolitan cities worldwide suffers through times of scarcity of both economic and environmental resources, yet it is subjected to demographic expansion. Stagnating cities like Sofia have an abundance of spatial niches to be utilized and this master plan takes advantage of the most perspective of them. The North Fringe Master Plan gives a sustainable solution for urban growth and regeneration without an additional footprint by utilizing old industrial infrastructure owned by the city. The master plan includes predominantly public property, because those are considered more resilient in time and could be “consolidated” as permanent cre-

ative environments (Lehtovuori, 2006). Moreover, the Sofia municipality is interested in cooperating for temporary uses and they are willing to invest in such initiatives. Furthermore, due to the rising public interest and to the growing need of artists and startups of spaces for creative expression, the city officials have expanded the funding opportunities under the “Europe” programme, giving competitive advantage specifically to such projects. On the other hand the business environment is strongly dependent on the economic interest of the private property owners and once he or she sees the growing interest of the citizens towards their site, they push the artists away and start realizing other more profitable entrepreneurial endeavours. This way the temporary cultural uses would only serve as an “impulse” for other successful uses in the future. Although thus a positive urban impact would be accomplished, it wouldn’t be sustainable in terms of its social impact and reflection on the creative industries. In economic terms, the territory of the north fringe would become an incubator of innovation and ideas, repositioning the area on the market and boosting business opportunities. It invites artists and young entrepreneurs with visionary ideas but modest financial resources to experiment and bring innovation, but also to trigger the public interest to those derelict areas. The master plan is feasible in legal terms as well. A multidisciplinary team of experts- a cultural manager, an urbanist, a lawyer, an architect, and an economist were all working together within the frame of the “Sofia Shared Spaces” project to create a workable model of regeneration and place-making of the given










spaces, which are here linked into a cohesive master plan. This methods were subjected to a public debate in which the city officials also took part and declared that they are willing to cooperate in the process of change of the planning and construction regulations as well as to support the temporary cluster endeavours emerging in the city. The resilience of the new system is achieved through a couple of methods. Firstly, it works on different scales establishing collaboration of all types of organisations. The project relies firstly on a virtual platform that links all the stakeholders and allows for free communication, openness, transparency, and collaboration. It also contributes to the emerging sense of community.

Secondly, for the efficient management of the new system a specialist in temporary uses is to be hired, who will mediate the processes related to the sites redevelopment, and their uses, but would also link the citizens’ urban dreams with the visions of the city officials. Because in the end, as Hernberg says, it’s the back and forth between the bottom-up and the top-down initiatives that could make the difference.





PROTOTYPE SPACE City scale appropriations are linked to the designed public spaces for pop up events and prototyping activities as well as to a system of rolling pavilions using the old rail infrastructure to be moved from place to place with the same purposes. Those activities of event character would push the interest of the citizens towards the site and would be a powerful tool to study the needs of Sofia’s communities.


STATIC USE SPACES - URBAN DETAILS BIO LABS AND URBAN AGRUCULTURE The master plan focuses not only on the regeneration of public space and nature along the trace of the old railway line, but also the built infrastructure. The area of the old sugar factory - an industrial herritage complex, is here turned into an urban productive landscape, bio labs, and open market.






“The design is an investigative tool of the project, the arrangement of things and the hierarchy of problems in space” (Gregotti, 2013). Following the maxima of the famous Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti, I have applied the gained knowledge from both the theoretical part of my research as well as from the focused analysis of the Sofia case to develop a design proposal for one of the architectural facilities part oof the North Fringe Master Plan. The building subjected to be redesigned as a case study to my thesis is the one looked at as most potential from all: the municipal actors, the creative industries, and the architectural community. This became clear at a public debate initiated by “Transformatori” Assossiation, in which I got the chance to present part of my research, as well as my final design and to get insights on its feasibility, functional programming, and general approach to the site. The design elaborates on the main aspects of the sustainability trinity – architectural, environmental, and social. It aims at: creating a vibrant, creative co-working space recognised by the wider public; regenerating the site and the soil; providing a new life style pattern by introducing bio labs, farmers markets, and urban farming; and last but not least expanding the slow mobility network, coming from the city to penetrate both the site and the structure and to serve as an entrance to the cultural pedestrian promenadebackbone of the new fringe cultural system in Sofia. The project works in two scales – site and architectural. Regarding the site, a strategic move could be

considered the submergence of one of the main traffic streets and the following priority given to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as to the green system. A green buffer is introduced to sound isolate and regenerate the site and to separate the new park from the railroad. However, pedestrian links are still leading to the promenade above the sea of trees. The building itself, as mentioned in the beginning is meant as an entrance to the new cultural territory. Its middle corpus is fully glazed passage working as an indoor street as well as a depot for the prototyping pavilions, moving along the whole city, letting citizens’ urban dreams come true. The structural interventions on the building are kept minimal, since it is a part of a heritage ensemble. The new loft spaces and “box-workstations” are to humanise the scale, however the old tram hall is used only as a shell that accommodates them, otherwise they are supported by a different structural system. Functionally, the space works as an incubator of creative endeavours and start-ups – a co-working space, enabling collaboration and interaction. Its flexible layout offers not only the working opportunity, but also the possibility of performing alternative theatre plays, exhibitions, presentations, parties, etc. To give a more elegant and contemporary look to the facades and again not to compromise them by any mean a perforated brick façade is used as a unifying screen, behind which is readable the real silhouette of the building.











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обновлението” - Глава 12 от “Иновациите- Европейски, национални и регионални политики” - Фондация “ Приложни изследвания и комуникации” ARC FUND 11. Култуурна политика в България - Доклад на Европейски експертен екип - Чарлз Ландри, 1996 (Charles Landry, 1996)

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Sharing Creativity  

Creative Spaces and Their Impact on Culture-led Urban Development - the Case of Sofia, Bulgaria MSc. Thesis in Sustainable Architecture of M...

Sharing Creativity  

Creative Spaces and Their Impact on Culture-led Urban Development - the Case of Sofia, Bulgaria MSc. Thesis in Sustainable Architecture of M...