Questions and Answers

Queries can be raised regarding the Competition by anyone interested in applying, in writing, to require clarification. 

Questions can be sent until 05 July 2023 (up to 10 days prior to the deadline for submission) by email

Deadline for competition materials

NB Submitting documents and materials via the Competition website

When you create your registration you will receive an email with your ID and an activation link for your profile.

Once you submit all documents and all competition materials, you will receive a confirmation email for your successful submission. You will not be able to make changes or replace the files you have submitted, but you will be able to download your full submission – so you can be sure everything is Ok.

Please note that at the first stage (submission of participation documents – application, ESPD , power of attorney, association documents) you will not receive an email confirmation. The system will allow you to the next stage (submission of competition materials), which means that you have successfully uploaded your documents in the previous stage and everything is fine.

Question 1
In the brief you mention a 2000 characters description in both English and Bulgarian. Is this the only text that has to be in both languages? “All explanatory notes and labels within the project may be bilingual” – does this mean that they have to be bilingual or is it up to the competitor?

All the competition documents have been prepared to be bilingual. Still you can fill in and write everything only in English. It’s not mandatory to attach a Bulgarian version if you do not speak the language.
The volume of 2000 characters for the description refers to the one language that has been used.
Each participant chooses weather to use Bulgarian, English or both to submit the texts.

Question 2
Regarding the submission material, it is stated in the brief that it is recommended that all documents be enclosed in both Bulgarian and English. I would like to know if it is possible to submit the documents only in English since our team does not have a person who is familiar with the Bulgarian language.

The competition documents are bilingual, but you only have to fill in the English section. You do not have to write anything in Bulgarian. The Bulgarian lawyer you will authorize with the enclosed power of attorney, will complete and submit the documents according to Bulgarian legislation. The projects will be evaluated by an international jury and the evaluation will be done in English.

Question 3
Is the existing building going to be refurbished? If yes, does a proposal have to be included in the submission? Are there specific parts of the existing building that have to be refurbished?

Renovation of the existing building is currently being prepared, but it depends on the project that wins the competition whether the theatre building will be affected or not. You’re not required to give proposals in this regard, but the competition design must be consistent with and taking into account the existing building. The brief allows to have a connection between the two buildings, but is not mandatory.

Question 4
There is a mention of a Detailed Development Plan (DDP) for the plot. Can this document be shared?

The detailed development plan is an administrative document, which is presented graphically in the competition brief and the attached graphs.

Question 5
What is the current main entrance to the theatre going to be used for once the new building is built?

There will be no change to the current entrance to the theatre, but it all depends on the competition design if there is a solution for a common entrance or another proposal.

Question 6
“Proposal costing” – Do we have to include a budget estimate anywhere in the submission? In which document and how detailed does it have to be?

The estimated cost of implementation of the project should be included in the Cover note. There is no requirement for how detailed the competition proposal must be costed, but it must be realistic, which will be assessed by the jury.

Question 7
If implemented, what size should the lift connecting spaces B.3 and C8 (E) be?

There is no requirement towards the size of the lift, but as large as possible is preferred.

Question 8
Is the new entrance area (zone A) going to be used as the main access point for the existing theatre hall?

That is not a mandatory requirement. It depends on the specific design decision.

Question 9
What is the maximum area of the new underground construction?

There are no restrictions, including for the depth. At the attached graphs on pages 28 and 29 from the Brief a depth of 3 /three/ metres is indicated, but it is simply a guideline and not a strict requirement.

Question 10
Is it possible to propose changes in the existing building (i.e. demolishing the decors warehouse)?

The demolition of the decors warehouse is not acceptable, but a structure could be designed above it that does not affect the existing building.

Question 11
“The estimated built-up areas have been defined by making the following assumptions about a retractable auditorium seating system” – is the retractable seating system a requirement? Or can they be fixed seats?

The Contractor requests to have no fixed seats so that the hall could be used also as a multi-functional empty hall. Therefore, no fixed seats should be envisaged.

Question 12
Is there a structural assessment of the existing building available? Can the existing structure serve as support for elements of the extension?

An expansion of the existing building is not acceptable except a construction above the decors warehouse that won’t affect the old theater building.

Question 13
This is the storage set for the sets, props and costumes, connects directly to the Main Hall. The storage must have a separate entrance from either of the streets to deliver large sets. This storage facility needs to connect to the large warehouse C8.” – There is no description for the C8 warehouse. Did you mean E (warehouse)?

There is a technical error in the brief – C8 is Warehouse E.

Question 14
The functional diagram shows an access from the existing theatre to the yard. Is this a requirement or a possibility? In the latter, which part of the existing building should be connected to the yard, the foyer or the hall?

There is no mandatory condition for access from the existing building to the yard. Everything depends on the new competition proposal.

Question 15
It seems that there are windows on the school facade facing the plot, right against the limit where the party wall – if proposed – is to be located. What will happen to those windows in this case?

It is acceptable to close the existing windows of the school since service spaces are located there and the development plan allows it.

Question 16
Tree preservation – There are 2 conditions mentioned in the report (medium and good). Does this mean that ‘good’ trees are to be preserved and ‘medium’ ones can be eliminated? What do local regulations stipulate in relation to preservation of existing trees, as there is no clear definition in the report?

There are no trees in bad condition over the competition property that must be removed. The local regulations allows the removal of trees, but it must be reasonably motivated and justified.

Question 17
How is the existing theatre hall going to be used once the extension is built? Are there going to be shows in parallel in the 2 halls? Will there be difference in the use of the 2 halls (i.e. the existing hall being used for children shows and the new one for adult shows)?

The existing hall is a conventional theatre stage and it will be used in the future. There are going to be shows in parallel in both halls, but no final distinction could be made between the types of the performances. Depending on the needs of the particular director, a stage will be chosen.

Question 18
At the time of the submission of the proposal I will have a Limited Design Capacity (at the time of the award of the possible contract also). If we assume that I get ranked as a winner, is it possible to form a team later with a person who has Full Design Capacity, but who has not participated in the conceptual design phase which is the basis for the award of the next technical and detailed project? The person concerned as part of the association would then have to sign all the documents in the next stages, but practically he won’t be the author of the conceptual design.

The requirement for full design capacity is set forth because it’s a mandatory prerequisite so the winning team shall have the technical and legal rights to develop the project in the next phase assigned, namely the technical and detailed project, to produce the project documentation, sign and stamp it, enter it for approval to the competent authorities of the Republic of Bulgaria, and on the grounds of the documentation acquire a building permit.

It is quite possible to form a team and/or an association after you have won the competition. Furthermore at the time of the award of the technical and detailed design contract you will need to have designers in all specialties. With regard to the authorship of the project, you will undoubtedly always remain the author of the conceptual design and no one can revoke or challenge this. The question that could be interpreted in several ways is what happens if you invite another designer to work with you on the certification of the technical and detailed design since they have to be signed by a designer with full design capacity according to the legislation.

First of all it’s your personal decision and no one could impose on you which designer to choose to work with.

The issue of copyrights is very complex. Copyright extends as far as there is creative work. If most of the creative work has been done during the conceptual design, the next phase of the technical and detailed design is about professionalism and meeting the legal requirements so that the conceptual design could be implemented. Then a designer with Full Design Capacity would rather audit your work, as a professional with more experience and probably won’t the full copyright on the design although he has signed and certified it. For example, the design competition for the Library in the city of Varna, has been won by a studio from Netherlands, who have hired a Bulgarian designer with full design capacity. Although the designs have been submitted with the stamp and signature of the Bulgarian designer, the authorship remains with the Dutch architects whose conceptual design won the competition.

Question 19
In the brief you have set a requirement that we should be registered as architects in Bulgaria. If none of our team has this qualification, does it mean that even if we get first place, we will not be allowed to design the technical and detailed design? In this case, will we be given the opportunity to continue the procedure by bringing in a local member once we have taken first place?

You can participate even if you are not an architects, registered in Bulgaria. If or when you are ranked on a first place and win the competition, you will have the opportunity to sign a contract and to develop a Technical and Detailed Investment Project. There are two options – someone from your studio could register with the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria, which is an easy procedure if you are a registered architect outside the country. The second option is to enter in partnership with an architect in Bulgaria who could help you to bring the project in compliance with the Bulgarian legislation.

Question 20
Page 19 of the Brief says that “Bathrooms are available only in the underground at -3.11 m, of which there are 3 audience WC, 3 WC for staff and one shower room. This layout is far from functional. We consider this a major problem to be addressed within the new building.”
Since the existing building is outside the scope of the competition, should the toilets of the new building also serve the old building? There is a contradiction, because according to the functional scheme on page 32, the connection between the new and the old building is recommended, not mandatory.

In the brief we have left open the question about the connection between the existing building and the new one. It is not a prerequisite to design such a connection. That is a decision of the designer and it’s not mandatory.

Question 21
Does the area of the functional sub-zones from A1 to A7 (Entrance, box office, cloakroom, 2 storages, restrooms, cafeteria) included in the area of zone A – “Entrance Zone” for 200 sq.m are indicated in the brief? Is it possible to increase the size of 200 sq. m?

The “Entrance Zone” area includes the functional sub-zones, which could be designed in a common volume and do not have to be divided into separate rooms. We have assumed that 200 sq. m are enough to accommodate such functions but that is not a restriction. You could design a larger or a smaller space if your proposal could justify that and if you keep the volume of the whole building as specified by the Contractor – up to 600 sq. m.

Question 22
Does zone A.6. “Cafeteria & Bar” has to work as a separate cafeteria with its own entrance?

There is no requirement for a separate entrance to the Cafeteria.

Question 23
Is it acceptable for Zone B.4. “Sound and light boxes” not to be located on the floor of the hall?

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable.

Question 24
Is it acceptable for the Main Hall to be designed on different levels?

The goal is to design a multi-functional, unconventional theatre hall providing options for a dynamic restructuring. The variety of art forms, activities and events that will take place in here do not allow to determine the exact position of the stage and the audience seats, so they won’t be fixed. The brief states that “The stage and the viewers occupy the same area without distinction.” There is no restriction not to design the main hall on different levels if they perform the functions we have set in the brief.

Question 25
In case the documents for participation have been submitted via the competition website as described in section V, item 3 of the Brief, is it necessary to submit them also via the Centralized Automated Information System Electronic Public Procurement (CAIS EOP)?

If you submit all the required documents and the design proposal via the competition website, you do not have to register in the Centralized Automated Information System “Electronic Public Procurement” (CAIS EOP) and submit any more documents there. That will be done on your behalf by the authorized attorney in order to comply with all the legislation requirements.

Question 26
What is the minimum clear height required for the Rehearsal space – C.3.?

There is no mandatory minimum clear height for the rehearsal space.

Question 27
What is the minimum clear height required for the E. Warehouse – 600 m2. (a storage space for sets, materials, costumes for long-term storage)?

There is no mandatory minimum clear height for the E. Warehouse – 600 m2.

Note that the underground construction is also not limited. At the attached graphs on pages 28 and 29 from the Brief a depth of 3 /three/ metres is indicated, but it is simply a guideline and not a strict requirement.

Question 28
What is the minimum clear height required for the B.3.Storage – 30-40 m2. (storage set for the sets, props and costumes, connects directly to the Main Hall)?

There is no mandatory minimum clear height for the B.3.Storage.

Question 29
If a participant shows in the competition materials a development of the roofs, as usable, will it be considered as grounds for disqualification, provided that the brief does not require such a development?

There are no restrictions to make additional project proposals and such won’t be considered as grounds for disqualification.

Question 30
If an applicant proposes a connection between the new building and the existing theatre (which is acceptable acc. to the brief), is it necessary to adjust, for example, the number of the toilets and the capacity of the cloakroom for visitors, which are specified in the brief only for the new building?

There is no requirement to increase the capacity of the cloakroom or the number of the toilets, but that would only be a plus if you manage to design the connection of the two buildings.

Question 31
Could an applicant propose some changes on the existing building in order to better integrate it with the new one (if a connection is planned) or to increase its functionality?

The existing building is not in the scope of the competition. However you are free to present your proposal, but we cannot make any commitment that it will be implemented.

Question 32
Section 3 of the brief – Limitations due to existing urban plan/ Construction says that to the east the new building can be erected adjacent to the existing theatre (subject to ensuring an emergency exit for the existing auditorium).
Is that mean that is possible not to retain the existing emergency exit (as required in item f Special requirements for the functional distribution of the new building) and to offer an emergency exit with the proper capacity at another place in the existing building?

Yes, it is entirely possible to change the emergency exit from the existing hall.

Question 33
Point 3. Limitations due to existing urban plan / Construction –
It is not clear whether the listed maximum square meters of buildable area – 600 m2 refer to a level or to the entire building, since the total area is larger.

According to the provisions of the urban planning requirements, and the detailed development plan the maximum built-up area is 886 m2. The total floor area should be 1344.9 m2. The Contractor stipulates that the built-up area of the first floor is no larger than 600 m2. This area does not include the underground construction.

Question 34
The brief mentions a retractable seating system should be planned to retract into one of the walls. Does this imply there is a “default” theatre configuration where the audience is facing one direction at a stage? And, given the theatre is 12x22m minimum, would the seating be preferred on the short (12m) or long (22m) side of the default set-up? 

We assume that one of the seatings’ positions will be fixed, with an option to be retracted towards the wall and most likely that would be towards the short side of the room (12m). Still we do not want to pose limits on the design if there is a more interesting or clever configuration.

Question 35
It is noted about the wings that they are “adjacent to the stage.” Given the intended flexibility where the stage could be on one side, amphitheatrically, or random; should we assume the wings should be space around the default stage (i.e. around a stage facing the retractable seating)?

In this hall the exact location of the “Stage” cannot be fixed, but in most of the cases it will be set by the location of the fixed seats. These support rooms must be convenient to use and easily accessible from the hall, but there is no strictly defined location. It all depends on the dynamics and movements in the configuration with the other rooms of the competition proposal.

Question 36
Please confirm that B.3.Storage is intended for storing sets and props used for an active show, and it’s different from E. Warehouse. Therefore B.3.Storage should be near the stage?

Yes, that is the correct interpretation.

Question 37
It is noted that the entrance zone should open into the yard as a stage. Can the Entrance area floor/stage be higher than the elevation of the yard? Or should it be flat so someone can walk straight from the entrance area in the yard without stairs? I am noticing there is a height difference in the current outdoor theatre, is this preferred?

There are no strict requirements for the yard and the building’s levels. It all depends on the specific project proposal and whether it will work for the activities we have described.

Question 38
The brief says that The Cafeteria & Bar must have direct access from the yard. Please confirm it means that one might walk through a door from the yard to get to the Cafeteria. Or should the Cafeteria have a direct service to the outside?

We imagine that the Cafeteria & Bar will be used both indoors and outdoors. Therefore, it is a requirement that the Cafeteria & Bar should have direct access from the yard. You can read the requirement for  “D” YARD “The outdoor area will also be an extension to the auditorium, a stage and an integral part of the Cafeteria & Bar”

Question 39
How much seatings should be provided at the cafe?

There is no exact requirement about the seatings at the Cafeteria & Bar. Depending on the activities that will be taking place in the Entrance Zone, there will be a different number of seats.

Question 40
Should the dressing rooms be on the same floor as the Main Hall stage? Or they can be up a flight of stairs?

There is no such requirement for the dressing rooms. They could be on another floor.

Question 41
The brief calls for up to 200 sqm of parking, given standard sizes this would be around 2-3 parking spaces with drive aisle. Is that correct?

This parking is not intended to be used by visitors, but rather as a temporary parking for cargo handling activities.

Question 42
Parking underground – Can the parking area be located below grade with a ramp?

There are no restrictions, but you have to think about the space occupied by a ramp and how this could possibly fit.

Question 43
It is mentioned that it may be possible to create a new access point off of Tzar Ivan Assen II Street through the school yard. Does this mean that there could be a vehicle connection on the South property line using the existing driveway?

You are not allowed to design outside the boundaries of the competition area. Is not regulated and it won’t be legally enforceable.

Question 44
If there is a parking to be created of one of the adjacent streets, is there a minimum distance back from the corner where a vehicle entrance must be?

The vehicular entrance must be 10 meters from the corner, according to Bulgarian law.

Question 45
Can the warehouse space be split into 2 areas, if connected by a lift? As in, one in the basement (400sq.m) and one on the second floor (200 sq.m), for example?

Yes, it is quite possible. There are no restrictions.

Question 46
Would it be given to the participants a more clear Program defining the square meters of each room?

There are no precisely defined square metres for the different rooms. For some of them the minimum dimensions are indicated.

Question 47
Is it possible to place a part of the new program in the existing building? Or the two buildings would function separately?

No, it is not possible. The rooms in the existing building are too compromised. The problems of the existing theatre could rather find a solution with the new building – like the missing toilets and cloakroom, if a connection between the two buildings is possible to be made. 

Question 48
What is the total Budget for the new construction?

There is no fixed budget for the construction of the new building. Each participant should give an indicative budget for the competing project.

Question 49
Can the function called „Yard„ be placed on a roof Terrace?

We are not quite sure that all the functions required for the YARD, as well as the connection to the Entrance zone, could be performed on the roof, but for other functions it would be an interesting proposal.

Question 50
What is happening in the Warehouse? Can this function be placed on an underground level?

Yes, it is absolutely possible.

Question 51
What is hosting the residential Block?  Is this meant to be one small apartment?

This is possible as long as three separate sleeping quarters are provided, each with a bathroom and toilet to accommodate visiting theatre artists.

Question 52
If the Building has more than one floor there would be a need for an elevator, correct?

In our opinion, the elevator is not necessary for the additional functions of the theatre. Rather, a freight elevator should be provided if the two storage for sets, props and costumes are on different floors.

Question 53
How big the Main Stage should be? Is there a minimum width and length of the Stage?

There will be no fixed stage in the Main Hall like it does in the conventional theatres. Each performance will build a stage and it will be different, as well as the arrangement of the places to seat. 

Question 54
For how many people the Main Stage area should be?

We can’t say how many people will play on stage. The Main Hall should be for 200 audience members.

Question 55
Is there a minimum audience number that can be given to the participants?

No, we can’t give a number. It depends on the show that is going to be performed.

Question 56
Please clarify if the scope of work includes the renovation of the existing facility. If not, what will be the role of the existing building and the space in front of it? Or will the existing building be demolished?

The current competition is for the design of a new building. The connection to the existing building is just an option. The existing building will keep working as a Puppet Theatre with a conventional theatre stage. It won’t be demolished.

Question 57
Does the 600 m2 of the (E.) Warehouse have to be continuous on one floor or can it be spread out on 2,3,etc. floors?  Can the 600 m2 be distributed as a series of smaller spaces throughout the building?

There is no requirement for (E). Warehouse to be on one floor. It can be split up and located on different floors, although the idea is in this warehouse to store larger things, such as sets, props, and other things that are not used on a daily basis.

Question 58
According to the requirements of the Brief – IV, the Design Proposal that would be submitted has to include the following three documents: a. Boards (max.4 Pages); b. Signature image; c. Cover note. The preliminary budget and area calculation of the project should be included in c. Cover note and in any form, right?

Yes, that’s right and the Cover note should be in pdf format and the file should be named – note.pdf, with max. size 3 MB.

Question 59
You have mentioned in the brief that the main hall size should be no less than 12x22m. Is this aspect ratio mandatory? Is it possible to make a circle hall?

It is absolutely possible to make a circular hall. We have decided that the hall should be at least 12/22 meters, as these are the optimal dimensions. You could suggest another shape if you find it more appropriate.

Question 60
Could the main stage have windows that can be completely darken when a stage performance take place? As there would be also seminars/events on the space it might be a plus to have the possibility for natural light.

The building is close to residential buildings and loud sounds would be a problem, especially in the evenings when there are performances.

Question 61
Regarding Zone E. Warehouse – please confirm whether size is 600m2 or up to 600m2?

Yes, we confirm that the size of Е. Warehouse is “up to 600 square meters”.

Question 62
Could you clarify if one anteroom is to be included in the C.5 Residential block or one per each studio (total of 3)?

The anteroom for the resident block is one and will be used by all the three studios.

Question 63
It is stated that “The Contractor expects the new building to have a dedicated parking area for restricted access. The parking lot will be used for deliveries, parking of trucks and buses servicing the building.” Can you elaborate the truck and bus specifications that need to be provided?

The parking lot will be used for temporary stop. The theatre currently has one 5 metre van and a truck length – 5.5 meters, height – 3 meters, width – 2 meters. We have assumed that a 200 square metre parking area will be suitable for a temporary stop for loading and unloading.

Question 64
The brief says that the maximum built-up area allowed according to the detailed development plan is 886 sq.m. At the same time, it also says that the Contractor’s wish is the built-up area to be no larger than 600 m2. Should we consider that the maximum permissible built-up area is imperatively limited to 600 sq.m or is it possible to be more than 600 sq.m?

Imperative restrictions are set only by the legal norms and the urban planning requirements. As we have stated in the brief, the Contractor’s DESIRE is for the built-up area is to be up to 600 square meters, since we have estimated that the functional program can be implemented on such an area and, in parallel, the yard space could be preserved as much as possible. It’s quite possible for the design proposal to have a larger built-up area than 600 sq. m. and this won’t be a reason for you to be disqualified.

Question 65
Should the contract for design be signed and submitted now, or it is only for information of the participants?

You do not need to sign and submit the contract for design at this stage. It is published only as information for the participants.

Question 66
In the event that the documents for participation are submitted via the competition website, do all the participants in a given competition team have to submit a signed power of attorney or only the leading architect?

When you participate in the competition as a collective and do not have a common registered legal entity, it would be better if you settle your relations with a consortium agreement, where you state who represents the consortium, respectively who is chosen to be the “leading designer”. Such a contract will be signed by all the participants of the team and will stipulate their relations, functions and how the rights and obligations are regulated, as well as the copyrights. In the event that you have such an arrangement, the documents have to be signed only by the one designated as the representative. If you do not submit such a contract, each of you has to sign the documents separately, but also indicating that you are participating in the competition as a collective.

Question 67
Is it acceptable to remove the existing sets storage if it is restored in the same place, with the same size but as a part of the structure/volume of the new building, or even as one larger warehouse with a size of 31+40 m2, so that it takes over the functions of the existing storage + the functions of B3. Storage from the brief?

The question raised about the possible demolition of the existing storage /passage to the stage/ and its reconstruction is very logical and that would probably be economically and functionally expedient. We could says yes, but such a proposal must be very well justified.

Question 68
Could you please clarify the size of the development area since according to our calculation we have: Area A = 200 sq. m; Area B = 355 sq. m; Area C = 305 sq. m; Warehouse = 600 sq. m. That makes a Total = 1460 sq. m

 600 sq. m is the built-up area. 1344.9 sq. m is the maximum floor area above the ground. You have the option to build below ground, which square footage does not enter into this total floor area.

Question 69
Is it acceptable to build a bridge or a walkway above the existing Puppetry Centre?

No restrictions have been posed on the manner and type of access between the two buildings.

Question 70
There is a way from Tzar Ivan Assen street to the competition site (which is located to the North of the site, right next to the school). Could an applicant propose to include it in the design as a limited access or maybe just a cargo and delivery access?

Access to the competition area shall not be through an adjacent parcel. Entrance to the building and yard must be from the street.

Question 71
Is it possible that the yard will be opened to the public from either the street, or you prefer to be enclosed and has access only from the Centre?

The courtyard will not be public in nature and will have limited access.

Question 72
Is it acceptable to build in front of the northern boundary of the building, for example at 1 m. from the northern regulation line and aligned with the existing theatre building? We are not aware of any legal obstacles acc. to art. 134, paragraph 6 of the Spatial Development Act.

At the moment, the design visa provides for a setback of 3 meters from the regulation line. If the competition proposal is convincing enough to change the boundary lines, the contracting authority will take actions to change the visa. 

It is acceptable to make a design proposal, if you can defend it, that goes beyond the building lines envisaged under the current design visa but you should comply with the legal requirements of the Bulgarian legislation, which allows the construction to be closer to the regulation line, for example at 1 meter, and only from the north side, where the distance to the neighbouring buildings across the street allows such a construction.

Question 73
Is it allowed to build the main stairs, landing, or ramps in the (3M) setback?

You can design a staircase for the entrance or a ramp within this 3 m spacing.

Question 74
For the presentation of the boards, can we change the scale of the situation in the range shown with adjacent buildings and streets, for example at Scale 1:500. At Scale 1:200 it takes up the whole of the board to the extent you have indicated.

In board number 1, the situation should be presented at a scale of 1:200, which can only cover the area of the theatre property without the surrounding development.