In one of our previous articles, dedicated to the examples of art deco style, we revealed that the most common buildings on the central Knyaz Alexander I Batenberg Street are from the 20s of the last century and they contribute to the title of Plovdiv as an art deco capital of Bulgaria.
The architectural ensemble was completely formed before 1930 with two exceptions - the Balkan Cinema and the Kozhuharovi House. However, there are a few smaller buildings built around this year, very modern in feel, a little less noticeable in scale, but also striking examples of modernism on the Main under the hills.
It is one of the classic meeting places in Plovdiv and we have a whole photo tour dedicated to it. Today's building, however, is only a faint resemblance to the beautiful modern building erected in the late 1930s by Sofia architect Konstantin Panayotov. During socialism, it was upgraded in a way completely unsuitable for its style - with a new floor and a heavy cornice. The huge roof terrace with a beautiful view of the Rhodopes has also been removed. Cleaned of all details and without a roof, in the past the cinema was one of the best examples of modern architecture in our country, but only 20 years after its construction, characteristic features have been erased.
Kozhuharov apartment building
It is the other modern building that Nikola Chinkov writes about in his encyclopedia Plovdiv Architectural Chronicle. It was designed by his father - the famous architect Boyan Chinkov. Its exterior is typical with its façade cleared of decorations, wide windows and semicircular balconies. This is definitely one of the most valuable and impressive buildings on the Main.
Svetoslav Grozev's building
Only one house on the left is one of the creations of the other great architect of modernism - Svetoslav Grozev. It was designed around 1930 and is currently preserved only in its upper part. It also has specific features of the style at that time in our country, albeit on a very small scale. The interesting windows are combined with a horizontal decorative element, which is the only decoration of the clean building. The railings of the two balconies with their ornamentation of diagonal lines also deserve attention.
The other building designed by the prominent Plovdiv modernist - also at the beginning of his career - is the Piccadilly Cinema. The press reported that the building is the most modern in terms of elegance, comfort and installations, and the people of Plovdiv rightly started calling it the Berlin Cinema. The stage was wide, the boxes on the ground floor and on the first floor were cozy, and in the foyers, there were even frescoes, unfortunately also not preserved. In 1939 again architect Grozev was hired by the owner Vlad. Kavardzhiev for a new reconstruction. The façade was interesting - with five narrow pointed window openings and horizontal brick strips. There was also an elegant visor in front of them. During socialism, these details were completely destroyed, and the facade is now used as advertising space. Today it is a Helicon bookstore, which has unfortunately undergone many renovations and lost its original appearance.
Building next to Dzhumaya
There is no information as to who its architect was, although the building bears many of the hallmarks of the work of architect Boyan Chinkov. Specific to modern architecture in this case are the balconies and the common horizontal stripes that unite the windows. What was finally lost, however, had made the building even more interesting. One of the most specific things for the most elegant and functional modernism are the flat roof terraces. This is exactly what it looked like when it was built shortly after 1930, but during socialism it was upgraded with another floor. The huge arches that today form a covered passage to the entrance are also not authentic. They were also built in the last years of socialism in violation of the authentic appearance of the building
Apartment building with shops above Bezistena
It is also anonymous, but with a clean facade with horizontal accents typical for the style. There are also partially preserved interesting windows, whose lines repeat the horizontal decoration on the facade.
Although at first glance they are not as impressive and rich in ornaments as the representatives of the art deco style, the modernist buildings on the Main Street of Plovdiv bring the right dose of stylistic diversity and also often attract the attention of Plovdiv residents and guests.