Старата печатница

Narrow, treeless and surrounded by high, impersonal, and ill-maintained facades, Carnegie Street is located in the very center of Sofia, but it seems to have come out of an old movie about the suburbs… up until recently, when the owner of one of the buildings turned to the architects from L6 studio and entrusted them with its reconstruction. His decision is impressive and respectworthy—this is an industrial building erected in the 1930s as a two-storey tobacco warehouse. In the socialist times it accommodated the Septemvri Printing House, where the postcards with views from all over Bulgaria originated from. Over the years, the building have been upgraded several times and has been “overgrown” with annexes—a dozen small rooms with their own roofs, which occupied a large part of the yard. The task of the architects was a complex one—turning this conglomerate of facades—patched over the years, with added chimneys, air conditioners and bricked-up openings—into a modern office building, while also freeing up enough space in the backyard for outdoor recreation of the employees. “We restored the original face of the building using one preserved internal facade with pilasters as a model, brought out a complete cornice along the entire perimeter of the building, and demolished the outbuildings, clearing the main volume. The blue-green window frames – from the 1990s, when the printing house was acquired by its current owner—was left by his request, thus predetermining the choice of colors for the facades. One of the floors, left empty after the printing equipment was moved to a new space in the city’s industrial area, was converted into an office. We found room for an additional floor with inward-looking windows within the 5.50 m height of the garage. The removal of all the redundant outbuildings at the back of the structure freed space for a lovely courtyard with BBQ and seating – a communal living space much needed for the central parts of Sofia. This is an example of the new life that’s possible for the old industrial buildings that already fall within the boundaries of cities’ central areas. They don’t need to be architectural monuments in order to be treated properly in terms of their restoration, that adds value to the existing neighborhoods.” Today, Carnegie Street looks different, drawing the attention of passers-by to its dignified “industrial minimalism”, as described by the authoritative Bulgarian architecture blog WhATA, which included the printing house in its nominations for Building of the Year. (text: MD)

Architecture: L6 studio (Ivaylo Zahariev, Adriana Dimitrova)
Stage of implementation: completed 2017
Basic characteristics: reconstruction of an old printing house
Location: Sofia
Investor: Rezon Media Group