Socialist architectural masterpieces: Hotel Rodina in Sofia

Socialist architectural masterpieces: Hotel Rodina in Sofia

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"Brutalism" as an architectural viewpoint was often connected to a Socialist Utopian ideology, which tended to be approved by its designers. This style was often practiced in the architecture of European communist countries-USSR, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany. Often this style is presenting through the architecture a national strength and unity. This is why there are often monuments (by function) among the buildings. Some characteristic examples would be the Buludza monument,  and the Monument of 1300 Years of Bulgaria in Shumen, and Defenders of Stara Zagora Memorial Complex.

Entrance of the hotel. Picture © Credits to istock/ Bin im Garten
Entrance of the hotel. Picture © Credits to istock/ Bin im Garten

Another example of Socialist Utopian ideology presented through architecture in Bulgaria is the centrally placed Hotel Rodina, in the capital Sofia. This object is holding one very recognisable expression of the Brutalism- it is released of any decoration and has a repetitive element in the facade. Brutalist buildings are normally designed with repeated modular elements, forming masses, and they represent specific zones, distinctly connected and grouped together into a unified whole. Another "trade-mark" for this style is that concrete is used for its raw and simple honesty, in contrast to any decor of the other architectural styles.  Brutalist building materials also include brick, glass, steel, rough-hew stone, and gabions.

The hotel is composed of two main elements- the basis and the vertical building. The basis is the part of the building that is dedicated to the service function of the hotel: lobby, restaurant, entrances... The rooms are placed in a vertically erected building. This vertical element is offering the visitors a spectacular view and the city of Sofia underneath, creates a dynamic skyline. With a height of 104 meters and 25 stores, at the time it was built in 1979, in the newspapers came out with the title:

Нов акцент в силуетата на София

;"New accent in the silhouette of Sofia"; until today this object is a significant accent in the skyline of this capital.

Picture © Credits to istock/  MrPanyGoff
Picture © Credits to istock/ MrPanyGoff

Rodina Hotel is the highest four-star hotel in Sofia. It is located in the "Russian Monument" Square,  right next to the National Palace of Culture, (the administrative and business centre of the city). The hotel offers magnificent panoramic views of the city centre and the Vitosha mountain. The capacity of the hotel is 500 rooms and 6 apartments. The design is made by the architect Todor Kozhuharov and it took 8 years for this hotel to be built.

Cover picture credits: ©Boby Dimitrov

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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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