Last week, I was lucky to attend an exhibition opening within the ONE Architecture Week in Пловдив (Plovdiv), Bulgaria’s second largest city.
The exhibition took place in the former cinema Кино Космос (Kino Kosmos) situated in a nice neighbourhood in Plovdiv. I was impressed by this charming place from the very first moment, especially when I was told more about its story.
The cinema opened in 1964, during the communist times as one can tell from the design.Until 1989 it was an important cultural centre for Plovdiv’s citizens as it was the biggest and most modern cinema which showed both Bulgarian and international films.
After 1989 the building was used in various ways until it was left abandoned and idle. In 2010 the municipality decided to demolish the building in order to realize plans for a new car park. Fortunately, neighbours, activists and dedicated citizens protested against this non-participatory decision. Though, there was also an opposing side advocating the demolition.
A first clean-up of the former cinema took place in 2012. This was followed by other activities aimed at the preservation of this architectural treasure. Finally, the municipality withdrew from the demolition plans.
Though the cinema auditorium can still not be used because it’s still run-down, the former cinema is evolving into an important cultural space, especially with regard to Plovdiv 2019 (the city was elected as European Capital of Culture).
For me, personally, the story of the building raises issues such as involving the neighbourhood, the importance of cultural centres and the relationship a society has with its cultural heritage. Therefore I’m curious how things will develop over the next few years.