аrtnewscafe, Plovdiv, 38 Otets Paisiy St.
moderator: Katrin Sarieva
CITY ARBOUR is an initiative of the Open Arts Foundation and artnewscafé started in 2012 in partnership with Studio 8 ½. It is a series of discussions on topics related to the city of Plovdiv.
Each discussion starts with a key-note presentation accompanied by extensive multimedia information (photographs, videos, urban plans, drawings, etc.) that aims to stimulate public debate and generate alternative ideas for urban development.
In its seminal year, the discussions, moderated by architect Vladislav Kostadinov of Studio 8½, focused on the following subjects: the Tobacco Warehouses, the Kapana Quarter, Bauhaus under the Hills, and Communist-Era Architecture. Based on these, the Open Arts Foundation and Studio 8 ½ created the Alternative Map of Plovdiv (2013), which includes two additional itineraries – Religions and Otets Paisiy St.
In 2015, the Open Arts Foundation is reopening CITY ARBOUR with the aim of drawing public attention to other typical but lesser known or neglected Plovdivian locations. A panel of guests will be invited to discuss each.
CITY ARBOUR TOPICS 2015
March – The Hadji Hassan Quarter
May – The Maritsa River: Modes of Inhabiting – Karshiyaka, Marasha and Stolipinovo Quarters
June – Social Life in Panel Block Residential Districts: the Trakiya District
December – Plovdiv’d Hills as Forms of Urban Life
The Hadji Hassan Quarter
With the participation of Nikola Venkov, Ph.D. student in Urban Studies, St. Clement of Ohrid University of Sofia
Special guest: Mr. Valery Kyorlensky, Executive Director, Plovdiv 2019 Municipal Foundation
Created in the 15th century, the Hadji Hassan quarter is located in the heart of modern-day Plovdiv, among landmark archeological and historical sites such as the Small Basilica, the Eastern Gate of the Roman city of Trimonzium, the Old Town, the St. Nedelya Church, and the bustle of the Monday Market and the Maria-Louisa and Iztochen boulevards. Asphalt roads coexist with cobbled streets and dirt-covered cul-de-sacs; modern apartment blocks with 19th century luxury homes and 20th/21st century shanties. An enclave where past, present and future spontaneously intermingle, the Hadji Hassan quarter is home to a variety of ethnic groups and their cultures.
The Maritsa River: Modes of Inhabiting – Karshiyaka, Marasha and Stolipinovo Quarters
Our second CITY ARBOUR for 2015 will focus on three old neighborhoods situated along the Maritsa river: Karshiyaka, Marasha and Stolipinovo. Although the river borders on all three, it falls short of providing a historical, economic, cultural and mental link between them. It is ever present but barely tamed and inhabited.
Karshiyaka, Marasha and Stolipinovo are all part of Plovdiv’s way of life and its dynamic demographics in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, of its hierarchy and values. Each has its own distinct character: Karshiyaka is a prestigious up-market residential area; Marasha – a calm, family-friendly neighborhood; and Stolipinovo – a Roma district that is a frequent subject of European Union integration programs.
Do we know these quarters well? What are the sources of their charm and paradoxes? Why are they important to Plovdiv? These are some of the questions we would like to address.
Our panel includes historians Vladimir Balchev and Katrin Sarieva, cultural scholar Krassimir Assenov, and Yana Kirova from One Architecture Week. Modern-day photography of the three neighborhoods will be provided by Atanas Dimitrov. Historical photography will be provided by Vladimir Balchev.
Social Life in Panel Block Residential Districts: the Trakiya District
Our discussion will start with a presentation by the young U.S. architect Megan Lueneburg who will share her personal and professional impressions from the Trakiya district after a nine-month residency there.
Started in 1973, the Trakiya district was one of the greatest architectural and social experiments of its time – when a vision for a new society based on industrialization and the collective spirit replaced the patriarchal values of the agricultural past.
A catalyst for the mass movement of rural residents to the city, the district’s pioneering architecture gradually became a standard in the late communist-era. But daily life often belied the grand ambitions of party functionaries and urban planners. Former villagers who had recently given up their patriarchal lifestyles in the country lived next door to old Plovdivian families who had been compensated with apartments after their houses were demolished. Co-habitation was not always peaceful and harmonious.
The situation worsened in the 1990s when communist-era production facilities were privatized, unemployment soared and many residents started their own small businesses. Entrances and apartments were reshaped to provide premises for these, advertisements of all shapes and sizes proliferated, while many sought to use public spaces for private ends. The great utopian vision for a collective way of life had failed.
Megan Lueneburg’s presentation will feature a documentary about the construction of the Trakiya district in the 1970s, interviews with its architects and residents, and a variety of photographic material.
CITY ARBOUR TOPICS 2015