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Cultural and architectural heritage of Sofia to be demolished

An old piece of property, unique in style, an architectural gem, an example of true cultural and architectural heritage of the days of yore is on the road to being demolished and given way to yet another "modern" construction - the type of construction that is appearing all over Bulgaria like a bad skin disease.This particular monument of culture is a house in the centre of Sofia, at 38 Shipka Str, which is going to be designated as a site for "investment and development purposes", as indicated by a decision released by the current owner of the property, Bulgarian Construction House. The Sofia borough of Sredets received the document suggesting the impending doom of the building on November 18 2008, Sredets mayor, the engineer Margarita Gouteva, said, as reported by Stroitelstvo Gradut on January 26 2009.This article was something of a follow-up to a similar story published in the daily Gradski Vestnik in December 2008. Both Stroitelstvo Gradut and Gradski Vestnik are part of the Economedia group.According to Gouteva, article 134, section 2, point 6 of the country's Spatial Development Act allows for the property to undergo redevelopment - which ultimately means that the historic house could be demolished and make way for something "contemporary".A plan has been contemplated whereby the building could be expanded - a new wing incorporated within the old structure, or the entire house-monument amalgamated within a larger construction design and thus have its cultural heritage irreversibly destroyed."There is the intention for a new building to be build incorporating the old house within it," Gouteva told Stroitelstvo Gradut. Such examples exist in Western Europe, for instance, where historic buildings have been successfully preserved while being incorporated within the modern look of the environment around them, according to Vili Lilkov, municipal advisor from Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria. The building on 38 Shipka Str is not of pressing national importance; however, it is of local significance with its architectural uniqueness and cultural heritage and it must be preserved, Lilkov said.The historic building was erected in 1906/08 as a single family house by the engineer Georgi Fingov, and it often served as a gathering place for Sofia's intellectual and artistic high life, according to Gradski Vestnik. The face adorning the entry column was created by the sculptor Andrei Nikolov.Other beautiful renaissance buildings in Sofia of Fingov's pencil are the villa in the Vrana Estate, designed and built in 1903/06, and the building on the corner of Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard and Georgi Benkovski Street. Alongside architect Kiro Marichkov, he also build the house of Vera Drenkova on 6 San Stefano Str, the Botev family house on 23 Shipka Str, and the house of the German entrepreneur Adolf Fung on the corner of Dondoukov and Vassil Levski boulevards.Elsewhere, while not designed by Fingov, the historic buildings at 13 and 13a Moskovska Str in Sofia are also threatened with being reworked to meet investor preferences.