Co-Bilitsa mixed-use building in Sofia by Iliyan Angelov


“Co-Bilitsa” is a proposal for revitalisation of a central residential zone in Sofia through a strong bonded dialogue between contemporary architectural design and centuries-old traditions and culture.
The project’s main goal is refinement of the social, building, and environmental conditions by intervention in the local context characterised by socialist architectural background.

The concept is formed as an antipode to this background and relies on the richness of customs and heritage for creating a building with a unique visual presence and strong impact on the city.Our folklore is in deep relationship with nature and inspires singers, poets, craftsmen, and so on to implement it in their work. “High, blue mountains, rivers and golden plains …” once the poet Mladen Isaev wrote.

An unusual curve of the cornice created by architect Master Kolyu Ficheto is known in the Bulgarian Renaissance architecture as “Fichevska kobilitsa”. The beautiful curves that outline the shape of the kobilitsa our people find in the drawing of hills and mountains. The kobilitsa is a metaphor for people’s way of life and relationship with the environment as well as a symbol for sustainability giving this project its shape and its name.

Residential, office, commercial and entertainment functions are integrated in a composition inspired by the traditional Bulgarian way of life with a unique visual presence and strong impact. It is highlighted by active recreational spaces. The solution is a metaphor for the uniquely rich nature – the blue mountains, rivers, and golden plains – with which we are endowed – an urban oasis.

The aim of the project is to create a place with a character that will give an initial start to the future development of this area of Sofia, as well as to create a new easily recognizable location. The building has a total of 25 floors: 4 underground and 21 above ground. Floors -2, -3, -4 are underground parking lots for the residents of the building, office employees and the visitors.

On these levels are located the technical and warehouse areas for building maintenance. Levels -1, 0, +1, +2 (podium) have public functions: shopping center with various shops, art gallery, children’s club, restaurant and wellness center with gym, beauty salon and spa. Above the podium, the building is divided into two compositional volumes: high and low.

The low volume has 5 floors with offices. The high volume has 18 floors with 64 apartments with various typologies: T1, T2, T3 and T4 bedrooms. The apartments of each typology vary in terms of area: for example, there are several varieties of apartment T1 – small, medium, and large.

This provides a wider choice in the real estate market and increases the possibility for a wider range of buyers. The high volume is composed of two composite parts (modules), which give it a human scale and integrate it into the urban fabric. Each first floor of the volumetric modules is a common social space for people. Source and images Courtesy of Iliyan Angelov.

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