Aleksandra Shopova

Cross Domain City of the Future

Panelka Beyond Ideology: In between a remnant of Soviet reality and a catalyst for individuality

The project aims to revitalise Panelka (Soviet apartment buildings) to prevent the demolition of the homes of 170 million residents worldwide. Research of Trakiya, a Panelka neighbourhood in Bulgaria, finds that Panelka are negatively perceived due to their ideological past. Research also reveals that the residents keep their neighbourhood in flux via interventions based on their needs. The project reimagines Trakiya through its local vernacular characteristics, to relieve the negative perception of the mass-produced Panelka. By careful study of latent opportunities, a cross-scale framework is developed, which corresponds spatially and socially to the needs of residents. For example, the makeshift communal gazebos inspire the shared activity pockets, which bridge the public and private spheres. The interventions enable personalization, layout flexibility, façade adaptability, programme circularity and social sustainability - while reusing materials and structures such as the existing modular construction. The created ecosystem ensures that once change comes, Panelka will embrace it.