Brief history of the Bulgarian panels or a direct consequence of the influence of socialism

in story •  19 days ago

Every traveler, who arrives in Sofia by car, first of all sees the sleeping quarters, consisting of panel heights. Closer to the center, the number of floors is reduced, but even there it is full of prefabricated houses. Here they are called panels. If someone does not know, then this type of construction is a direct consequence of the influence of socialism.

And although the inventors of these panels were capitalist countries, they came to Bulgaria after the power in the country was seized by the Soviets.

The first buildings made of prefabricated panels were first built in the 1909-1912s in the New York suburb of Queens - the quarter-Hillc Gapdens. Another famous panel district is Berlin Friedrichsfelde (1926-1930).

After 1945, intensified industrialization began in Bulgaria, with large groups of people moving from villages to nearby big cities. The increased population needed housing, and the traditional 5-storey monolithic buildings were not built quickly enough. Therefore, the state was looking for ways to accelerate construction. And found :)

The Bulgarian building panels consisted of reinforced iron, filled with concrete. They had a different purpose: floors, walls, facades. They were made in the so-called house-building factories, of which there were over 30 throughout Bulgaria, and they were brought into place with the help of a panel truck.

Some people think that all the panels are the same. This is not true. Blocks (several houses near this block) differ in series. In each series, the panels are the same, but all the series are different. In Bulgarian, these series are called "nomenclature". In various cities there are various series of small panels. After the earthquake in 1983, the safety of the panel series was significantly enhanced. And we ourselves noticed this during the last strongest earthquake in Bulgaria on May 22, 2012. It was a "coward" with an amplitude of 5.8 points according to Richter, but there were no destructions and casualties in Sofia.

The first panels in Bulgaria began to be produced in 1957, and in 1958 the first experimental four-story building was already built in Sofia. After 4 years, the first series of BS-2-63 was developed on the basis of this pilot construction. These buildings (period 1963-1968) have a room width of 3.6 m, a sloping roof and loggia balconies. Until now, these buildings can be seen in the "Friendship I" and "Freedom" quarters. There was no elevator in these houses.

After 1964, the new series Бc-2-64 appeared, already with a Bulgarian-made elevator, 8th floors and usual balconies - the Mladost I quarter. Since 1968, in Sofia, they began to build similar to the previous series of BC-VIII-CF - districts "Krasna Polyana" and "Sveta Trinity". There appeared large windows in the halls - 2.80 x 1.80 and a brilliant mosaic on the facades.

However, the BS-69-Cf turned out to be the most massive series of those years - these buildings built up the largest sleeping area in Sofia, Lyulin. This series has several options running in parallel.

These buildings were quite “deep”, and therefore had a hall with a length of up to 6.3 m. After 1977, the number of floors reached 9 - “Hall III and IV”. In the series of 1983, there are already trade areas in the stalls - “Obelya I”, and on the balconies there are concrete gratings that are painted in orange and blue. The bathroom, which here is called the "bath", was fully assembled at the factory. She was brought into place in the form of a finished box. Brick-panel facades were introduced: this panel consisted of bricks connected by steel rods and reinforced with mortar. After 1987, the construction of the series BS-69-Cf-B-87 - "Lyulin VII-IX". All these series were built in Bulgaria until the end of 1994.

Now panel construction in Bulgaria is also used, but more often for very large industrial or commercial buildings. In residential construction, preference is given more to the "aspic" method and low-rise buildings.

The attitude in Bulgaria to the panel quarters is ambiguous. But it is hardly to blame for the type of construction - the panel. The lifestyle of the block does not depend on the type of building. The everyday culture of its inhabitants makes a quarter a good or bad place to live.

Thank you for your time and attention.

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All photos in this blog are taken by me unless otherwise attributed.

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Congratulations! Your post was selected by the @dropahead Curation Team (dCT)

It is a really interesting history about how urban development has been guided by the authorities in Sofia. What is the general opinion of these buildings? People feel comfortable there?

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