Round table
Socialist Heritage – Heritage at Risk
20th of August 2015, ul.Krakra 11, 1504 Sofia, Union of Architects in Bulgaria
Organized by: Bulgarian National Committee of ICOMOS

Programme:
13:30-14:00
Registration
14:00-14:15
Opening(Assoc. Prof.Stefan Belishki, President of ICOMOS Bulgaria)
Introduction of the participants and context of the meeting(Arch. Emilia Kaleva)
14:15- 16:00
Panel 1: Value and need of preservation of the architectural and artistic heritage of the socialist period
•    Arch. AnetaVasileva–Five points for better understanding of the post-socialist attitude towards socialist architecture in Bulgaria: nationalism, totalitarianism, memory, identity, nostalgie
PhD candidate researching Bulgarian socialist architecture, History and Theory Department in University of Civil Engineering and Geodesy – Sofia, member of What Association
•    Prof. Arch. TodorBulev – Ensembleapproach in Bulgarian architecture between 1944 and 1989
Professor in Varna Free University “ChernorizetsHrabar”, urbanist, researcher, architectural critic, publicist, member of the Union of Architects in Bulgaria
•    Arch. Stela Tasheva, PhD – National ideaandsocialistheritage
Institute of Art Studies – Bulgarian Academy of Science, member ofICOMOS Bulgaria
•    Arch. LjubinkaStoilova, PhD – 20th century Cultural Heritage Rethinking and Reevaluation
Chief Expert Municipal Cultural Institute “Sofia History Museum”, founding member of DOCOMOMOBulgaria, member ofICOMOS Bulgaria, member of ISC20C

16:00 – 16:30
Panel 2: Current problems and risks to the architectural and artistic heritage of the socialist period
•    Arch. Emilia Kaleva – Specific current risks for Bulgarian socialist architecture
PhD candidate on conservation of Bulgarian socialist architecture, History and Theory Department in University of Civil Engineering and Geodesy – Sofia, member ofICOMOS Bulgaria, member of ISC20C
•    Assoc. Prof. Arch. Maria Davcheva, PhD – In searchof lostarchitectural masterpieces
Institute of Art Studies – Bulgarian Academy of Science, editor in chief of “Architecture” magazine
•    Arch Stela Duleva– Hotel “Riletz” in Rila monastery region
Member of “Architectural Heritage” association in Union of Architects in Bulgaria, member of ICOMOS Bulgaria
•    Mariela Malamatenova – Monumental art in architectural environment between 1944 and 198 in Bulgaria
Artist, curator in National Art Gallery, member of Union of Bulgarian Artists, member ofICOMOS Bulgaria

16:30 – 19:00
Panel 3: Opportunities for protection and adaptation of thearchitectural heritage of the socialist period. Strategies, actions and initiatives to overcome the status quo.
•    Arch. RusuDumitru – Preservation of functional buildings from Socialist Modernist period
Member of ICOMOS Romania, member of ISC20C
•    Prof. Dr. phil. Dipl.-Ing. JörgHaspel – Socialist Heritage Initiative
State Conservation Authority – Berlin, president of ICOMOS Germany, Founding member of ISC20C
•    Arch. DelchoDelchev – Project “Memoreality”
PhD candidate researching models for development of panel complexes, Institute of Art Studies – Bulgarian Academy of Science, member of “Transformatori” Association
•    Arch. Dora Ivanova – Project “Buzludzha – memory of time”
Technical University, Berlin

Round Table “Socialist Heritage – Heritage at Risk”

“Socialist Heritage – Heritage at Risk” was the current and urgent topic of a round table organized by the Bulgarian National Committee of ICOMOS and hosted by the Union of Architects in Bulgaria (UAB). The expert meeting took place on the 20th of August and offered a forum for rethinking and reassessment of the architectural and monumental heritage of the socialist period. The idea for such meeting in Bulgaria answered the need for an objectified and professional approach to the subject, which also reflects criticallay also more emotional and highly polarized political attitudes.

In the foreground the value of urban planning, architecture and monumental art from the period 1944-1989 was presented, as well as their political independent development and contribution. An important topic was the current status of this heritage and the quality loss through carelessness or interference with economic interests. As a main problem and risk was highlighted the lack of public awareness about the value of the architecture from this period. Emphasis was placed on the discussion of options and strategies for its conservation at national and international level.

The event was attended by interested citizens and politicians, architects, representatives of UAB and ICOMOS, including members of ISC20C SocHeritage sub-committee. The meeting offered the floor for professionals to raise questions, present their work and thesis.

Arch. Aneta Vassileva (PhD candidate researching Bulgarian socialist architecture) put forward the thesis that “Common places of memory are not places of shared memory” and in the history there are no victims and executioners, but ordinary people doing their role. The rest is a matter of interpretation.

Prof. Arch. Todor Bulev (urbanist, researcher, architectural critic, teacher, publicist) spoke on the topic of urban development in the period 1944-1989 and stressed its ensemble approach. As good examples he pointed the city centers of Montana, Kardzhali, Blagoevgrad, Dimitrovgrad, complex Duni, Albena. He supported the initiative because it has the potential to be a bridge between generations and to support the continuity.

Arch. Stela Tasheva (Institute of Art Studies at the Bulgarian academy of sciences – BAS) had a presentation about the national idea and the socialist heritage. She raised the question:”How can a regime set architecture?”

Dr. Arch. Ljubinka Stoilova (member of ISC20C, member of ICOMOS Bulgaria, specialist in architectural history and theory ХІХ – ХХ c., founding member of DOCOMOMO Bulgaria) spoke on the same topic and described the architecture of the second half of the 20th century as international. She suggested the socialist heritage to be considered together with the architecture of the first half of the 20th century, as it has similar problems and is also at risk. First, however, the public must be convinced of the value of this heritage, because legal state protection is not a guarantee for its conservation.

Arch. Emilia Kaleva (co-organizer, member of ISC20C, member of ICOMOS Bulgaria, PhD candidate on conservation of Bulgarian socialist architecture) presented the risks to the architecture of the socialist period. Highlighted was the lack of awareness of its value, the association with the rejected regime, the polarization of public opinion and the indifference.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Arch. Maria Davcheva (Institute of Art Studies at the BAS, editor of the magazine “Architecture”) drew attention to the architectural complexes on the Black Sea from the period of socialism. As a good example of reached and preserved synthesis of arts, she pointed out Albena, and as a bad practice and total loss of value – Sunny Beach.

Arch. Stela Duleva presented the problems of a typical architectural object for the socialism – the hotel “Rilec” in the area of Rila Monastery.
Maria Malamatenova (artist, member of the Union of Bulgarian artists – UBA, member of ICOMOS Bulgaria) commented the creation and the current problems of the monumental works of art in the architectural environment.

Arch. Dumitru Rusu (member of ICOMOS Romania, member of ISC20C) presented four examples from Moldova and summarized similar problems and risks to the architecture of socialism as in Bulgaria.

Prof. Jörg Haspel (director of the State Conservation Authority Berlin, president of ICOMOS Germany, founding member of ISC 20C) expressed the view that bad system or dictator does not produce bad architecture and socialist architectural heritage is a place of memory, where different perspectives on it should meet. He summarized that the world heritage list of UNESCO has only two examples of heritage from the second half of the 20th century and this should be adjusted in the quest for an objective and balanced list, which reflects all human achievements: typological, chronological and thematic.

Finally proposals for future use of two emblematic Bulgarian monuments at risk were presented.

Arch. Delcho Delchev (PhD candidate on the topic of development of panel complexes at BAS) presented the project “Memoreality” which offers a new meaning and interpretation of the monument “1300 years Bulgaria” in Sofia. The political pressure on it should be removed in order to allow it to live independently and be self-financed.

Arch. Dora Ivanova (co-organizer of the event, author of the project “Buzludzha – Memory of Time”) submitted a proposal for the reconstruction of the monument “Buzludzha” as a monument of national memory, telling the history of Bulgaria on a emotional way through the atmosphere of the existing architecture. She offers preservation of the monument in its present condition and suggests usage as a forum for art and history.

In the intensive closing discussion professionals, citizens and experts agreed that the discussion should be continued and intensified on a multinational scale including neighboring post-socialist countries. The participants expressed their common desire, that ICOMOS could initiate and publish a special “Heritage at Risk” report on threatened post-war heritage in socialist and post-socialist countries. The experts present largely recommended to build an ICOMOS website on SocHeritage (SocRealism and SocModernism) to provide a supranational platform to document and to discuss current issues of “Socialist Heritage – Heritage At Risk”