Experimental Puppetry Art Center

Experimental Puppetry Art Center

Stara Zagora, Bulgaria


The proposed project aims primarily to be a link between old and new, to build a complete, working experimental theatre complex, where the focus is on the artist and their process. Placing the new building in context predisposes the use of simple volumes. The expressiveness is in the choice of materials and textures, which is dictated not only by the built environment (relief plaster) but also by the historical context – the Roman heritage (brick, concrete, stone). It is these materials that carry the timeless spirit that characterizes Stara Zagora.
The main public entrance is from the quieter Tsar Ivan Asen Street. This makes it possible to walk along the busy General Gurko Street to locate the loading entrances, and to achieve the feeling of a closed box in which the magic of the theater is built. Such closure is also a gesture towards the puppet theatre
building. On the other hand, the Pierrot International Festival and its accompanying workshops are an integral part of Stara Zagora’s theatrical identity and this predisposes the building to be as open as possible during festival periods through a portal from General Gurko Street, which transforms the building and the yard into a town square.
Volumetrically, the new building consists of a high and a low body. The high body is positioned tightly next to the existing theatre and contains all the off-stage spaces, thus achieving an easy connection to the theatre off-stage spaces. The high volume allows employees and artists to enjoy panoramic
views of Stara Zagora.
In the low body are the main hall and the foyer with their adjoining rooms. The spaces are connected by a soundproof folding partition. The foyer is glazed and under appropriate conditions becomes a common space with the yard.
The preservation of the tree vegetation is an important aspect of the design. It is complemented by a landscaped roof garden with a rainwater harvesting system, which is part of the sustainable proposals along with solar panels and a high efficiency ventilation system.

The project is a collaboration with AtoMore.

Competition website.