The Expo Centre is located on the North East corner of the Old Military School site of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, in between the old city centre and new business district. Its position offers wonderful conditions and opportunities, not only through the steep slope in its terrain but also through its fragmented surrounding urban fabric. The design aims to both provide in large event hall with the capacity for various events and at the same time position itself in relation to its immediate context.

The main space, the large hall, is situated in the heart of the building while the lobby and supporting spaces are wrapped around. By faceting the perimeter of the building, the footprint is minimised, the form responds to the neighbouring buildings and a constantly changing interior, between the faceted perimeter and rectangular hall, is created. The lobby steps down from the highest level of the terrain on the South West side to the lowest level of the terrain on the North side and connects to the adjacent network of streets, roads and squares and the surrounding landscape and river by means of three different entrances.

The main hall distinguishes itself with a material palette composed of dark wainscoting and red velvet lining; a festive interior. A large window visually connects the interior of this impressive space to the courtyard and also allows for the possibility of natural light into the hall. A system of folding curtains, that drop from the ceiling, can divide the main hall in six separate halls. Access to each of the separate halls is provided via six different entrances through the space in between the curtains that at the same time create a double acoustic barrier.

The lobby space is materialised as a continuation of the surrounding network of public spaces and continues the materiality of the building’s facade which is clad in brick, as if sculpted from the landscape. Large openings in the facade provide wonderful views over the city and allows for passersby to get a glimpse of the activities in the building.

The lay-out of the plan allows for operational independence with separate entrances and provides both in separate exhibition spaces and functionals areas, as well as possibilities for mutual use by the carefully placement of vertical circulation zones. The basement levels provide in service and logistics areas while the administration area is located around the courtyard and overlooking the main square of the New Urban Centre.

Location: Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Client: Veliko Tarnovo Municipality
Program: Event hall with 1200 seats, supporting foyer spaces, offices and café
Gross floor area: 4.290 m²
Completed in June 2018