The interior concept of the National Palace of Culture is based on a basic compositional idea – the “openness” of the building and the connection of the interior spaces with the environment and the mountain. The visual connection with nature was seeked through the rich glazing of the facades. The pastel green color of the flooring and lobbies was chosen to correspond harmoniously with the surrounding park and complement the impact.
Renowned artists in the fields of monumental mural painting, sculpture, applied decorative arts and design have been involved in the development of the architectural concept, building on the feeling of a monumental body well thought to the smallest detail.
The greatest pride of the Palace is undoubtedly Hall 1. It accommodates up to 4,000 people and is designed for ceremonial assemblies, congresses, concerts and performances. Since so many seats are rarely needed, the hall was thought of and designed so that when smaller events are held, energy efficiency is increased by mechanically lowering the ceiling until the second balcony is hidden. In turn, through the mobility of the wall wings, the acoustic profile of the hall can be managed and altered to suit the different needs of the events.
Hall 1 features state-of-the-art installation systems for its time, a rotating stage disc and other technical extras. The unique “Sun” metal curtain by prof. Dimo Zaimov is a panel of round stainless steel elements and also serves as a firewall in case of fire. The seats of Hall 1 are based on a French model, but were manufactured in our country after the rights to the design were purchased. Some of them have ashtrays, a translation system in 14 languages and electro-acoustic speakers. Today, most of the hall’s technical capabilities have depreciated and are not in use, but the hall has by no means lost its glory and continues to host some of the country’s most important cultural and conference events.
In the original plan of the National Palace of Culture, columns and possible winter rooms were located under Hall 1. According to the decision of prof. dr. eng. Milcho Brynov, the columns were removed and in their place the construction of a new hall was planned. This idea made the construction considerably more expensive, but with the support of Lyudmila Zhivkova and Georgi Yordanov, the plan to build the hall was approved. The entrance to Hall 2 is through the underpass opposite the beautiful Cosmos Fountain.
Historically, Hall 2 was designed for chamber vocal and instrumental concerts, recitals, plays and film screenings. The hall has 600 seats and is located just below Hall 1, and the layout is similar to that of the Ancient Theatre in Plovdiv. Today, Hall 2 functions as the Azaryan Theatre and is the most modern theater hall in Bulgaria.
Above the main Hall 1 is the vast Hall 3. With two adjoining smaller halls and a flat floor, it can seat up to 1400 people. Due to the possibility of shifts and configurations, the space is suitable for conferences, fashion shows, balls and receptions, and allows the admission of natural light.
Few people know that in addition to the large panoramic halls and terraces on either side of the National Palace of Culture, there are also suites on the top floors, used at the time by celebrities and public figures. But since it would be hard to tell you about the dozens of halls and spaces throughout the palace’s rich interior, we give you an assignment – find the hall known as “Ali Baba Hall” and find out why it is called that.
The articles for the project “NDK is #soSofia” were developed by Viktor Topalov, author at “Bohemian Sofia” in collaboration with the #soSofia team.
The project uses visual archives from the National Film Centre, the State Agency “Archives”, the Bulgarian Visual Archive and information from the following sources:
Miloshev, Yordan, NDK – memories of builders | Sp. 1 – 1982, 6 – 1984, 3-4 – 1986 | Mircheva, Simona, Palace in the Life of the City | Tromkov, Ilia. National Palace of Culture “Lyudmila Zhivkova” | Milev, Ivo. “The Life and Death of Lyudmila Zhivkova | BNT. Aleksandrova, Albena. Kovachev, Oleg. Study of beauty from within | omda.bg. Interview – Gyurov, Vasil. Gyurov, Konstantin. Places of everyday life. Cravaai. | Langova, Sonya. Shofelinov, Ivan. Cohen, Emil. Film – We from Kravay. | Trifonova, Teodora. BTV News. 18.07.2017 Ready project for the soldiers’ memorial has been there for years. | Veselinov, Veselin. Liternet. Memorial to the fallen of the 1st and 6th infantry regiments. | NDK Press Center | ndk.bg | newtheatre.bg | Thank you for talking to the NDK teams. | All Day NDK. | DJ GIORGIO. | Sofia Graffiti Tour.
The NDK is #soSofia project is realized with the support of the Cultural Heritage Entrepreneurship Programme of the National Culture Fund and the help of our loyal friends from Storytel, Fashion Days, Beefeater and DEVIN.