FT Ranks Bulgarian Building among World's 'Most Inhuman' Edifices

Society | October 17, 2015, Saturday // 13:31|  views

The National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. File photo (dated before the latest stage of repair works began in 2014), BGNES

The National Palace of Culture in Bulgaria's capital Sofia has been placed among the world's most "impractical" buildings, according to a Financial Times article.

A list of nine buildings, one that includes a short description of each, is complemented by a poll asking readers which of them is "most inhuman". (As of October 17, 13:30 EEST, it is last in voters' preferences having garnered just 2.6%).

FT puts the Communist-era building in its "shortlist" along with the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Mogamma in Cairo, and the J Edgar Hoover building in Washington, DC.

"Examples abound in most urban environments" of "desire lines" which "clearly show where the designer of a public space has failed to account for how people would wish to use it."

The National Palace of Culture has thus fallen into a group of buildings illustrating a top-down approach of "subordinating people to a wider vision" described at the beginning of the text.

"The nuclear reactor-like building may not appeal to everybody’s taste, but it is the only place where you can see all the layers of modern-day Bulgaria in a couple of hours — and have fun at the same time," the palace's description reads.

Exploring the 123 000 sq m "mammoth" whose construction was completed in the 1980s, under the Communist regime of late leader Todor Zhivkov, "can be a somewhat challenging task".

Finding one's way there, as the article points out, can "take some serious brainpower", and outside "perennial repair works" can be seen.

The full text is available here.

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Tags: Bulgaria, National Palace of Culture, communist, Todor Zhivkov, sofia, FT


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