The concept of socialist architecture has changed many times during the years 1944 and 1989 and with this article we will outline the specifics of the individual courses in this period


The "Stalinist" period from 1948 to 1956

The Modernism from the previous two decades was completely forgotten in the years after September 9, 1944. The new political power was trying in every way to deny the old regime and the architecture was not spared either. The change did not happen immediately, as old-style buildings were built until 1948. This is the last year in which there was a free architectural practice. At the same time, however, the state and its citizens were extremely poor and construction was quite modest - something very typical of a post-war period.

The so-called "Stalinist" style was the direct application by the Soviet Union of practices established in the 1930s. In Plovdiv, they are characterized by typical "heavy" Stalinist buildings. This is how the impressive “Entrances” of Plovdiv appear - the groups of blocks from Stochna Station on Tsar Boris III Obedinitel Blvd. in the direction of the Tunnel or those on Maria Luiza Blvd. from Iztochen to the center. During these years, the Trimontium Hotel appeared - a typical, though interesting in its own way, example of Stalinist architecture.

"The second modernism" of the 60s

As early as the end of the 1950s, the first socialist buildings from modernism appeared. The return to the old style is visible. The rich ornamentation was denied. The buildings have clear volumes, without many details on the facades, without unnecessary columns that don’t have a load-bearing function, resizing of elements and so on.

In Plovdiv this type of building is the South bus station, built in the late 50's. Many of the smaller low-rise apartment buildings in the center are also from this period. At the very end of the decade rose today's Party House - a very interesting and bold, though disliked by residents of Plovdiv, creation, which, however, marks all points of modern architecture: clean shapes and lines, rich glazing, horizontal accents in the otherwise tall building, etc.

70s: Diversity on the road to Postmodernism

Here, the architects already seemed tired of the straight lines of modernism and they themselves were looking for new solutions and ideas. The trend for the synthesis of architecture with other arts was extremely influential.

The real boom in monumental works was in the 1970s. Of course, the style was also changing. The Central Post Office and the Party House, built almost at the same time, are an illustrative example. In housing construction, the 70s were definitely the decade of panels. Realizing quite quickly the danger of uniformity and boredom in the same forms of panel construction, the architects of Trakia were looking for all sorts of ways to break straight lines. Monolithic blocks with more original architecture also appeared. The decision for the building of the Design Organization - today the Prosecutor's Office on Saedinenie Square - was quite in the spirit of modernism.

The final abandonment of modernism and the eclecticism in recent years

The end of the 70s and 80s of the last century are the final phase and the last "soc-architecture" that Plovdiv sees. The variety of ideas and forms prevailed and it is already difficult to talk about a unified style. Different architects had different signature styles, applied different ideas with different results. For example, brutalism entered - or architecture with visible concrete. This type of buildings are the Youth Home and the House of Science and Technology. There are also buildings with interesting metal constructions, such as the former Neva store, some RUMs or other similar commercial buildings.

To some extent, the period was marked by the boldest urban planning decisions - the redevelopment of the central area with the construction of the Gladstone underpass and the destruction of entire neighborhoods with valuable old architecture: in front of the Catholic Church and around the Monday market for the construction of the Museum of Thracian Culture.