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The Promises of Modernist Premises:
Pool Trakiya
Collective re-appropriation of a deserted pool
as communal outdoor centre
Block 1,2,3: Trakiya
Plovdiv, BGR, 2016

The Promises of Modernist Premises
The district of Trakiya was designed in the 1970ies to become an exemplary plattenbau district;
it is now the largest in Plovdiv. Inbetween block 1,2,3 of the post-war panel flat housing
estates of Trakiya we found this abandoned outdoor swimming pool. A place at once generic
and specific, the pool is present through its physical traces only, having been dry for
nearly the entire time of its existence. All pool-appliances have been removed, the basin
is filled with concrete. A large amount of the state-built apartments were privatized right
from the beginning; today all apartments are private property. While private initiatives to
customize these private apartments took off especially after the fall of communism,
hardly anybody laid a hand on the communal pool structure.

What does this common ground mean to the people living around it? In modernist housing estates
such as Trakiya there is vast in-between space which belongs to nobody in particular and to
everybody in common; it is a space beyond ownership and the individual home. Such space creates
distance, but also links buildings and inhabitants, places them together; it is public as a
place for negotiation - for relationships, also conflicts, that areliveable, as much as for

The swimming pool articulates this promise, more ghostly than concretely, in its concrete remains.
There is something "in the air": the promise of modernist high-rise premises, the promise of the
right to affordable individualized housing and of communalism. While both promises, in their utopian
dimension, are far from being fulfilled, we want to collectively reactivate part of this larger
project by starting with exactly this pool. We are today also incapable of filling it with water,
but we can start to collectively re-activate it from its fringes: we are together with some
inhabitants of block 1,2,3 turning the pool«s well-organized geometric setting into a central
meeting place, a place to exercise, to dance, to debate, to contemplate. We will probably meet
people listening to music or having conversations there, and who knows - it might be a Punk or
HipHop song about the decay of modernist cities they are listening to, and it might well be
mass housing's utopian potential and the power of citizen agency they're discussing.

Description in Bulgarian language

Auftraggeber / Clients
One Architecture Week Plovdiv 2016
curators: studioBASAR

Architektur und urbanes Konzept / Architecture and urban concept:
Gabu Heindl

Landscape architects of pool in 1973: Katya Geneva and Vasilena Kostova

Mitarbeit / Collaborators
GABU Heindl Architektur: Alexandra Sykorova
Nina Krumova, Victor Latev, George Gochev, Rada Vatraleva, Vladmimir Kanchev,
Emil Rusenov, Mariya Atanasova, Luboslav Dimitrou, Atanaska Traikova, Margarita Koeva,
Kosta Ivanov Kostov, Venelin Petkov, Petio Penev, Georgi Manchev, Ivelina Tsvetanova,
Donka Koprivarova, Valentina Obretenova, Megi Savova, Zheko Ivanov, Faris Mechmed
and from One Architecture Week: Dragomir Portev, Dobromir Bozhkov, Stefan Gladichev,
Miroslav Koradjov, Angel Bondov, Todor Kesarovski, Elena Balabanska, Simeon Malinov,
and many more... Merci!

content: (c) GABU Heindl Architektur 2016