Congratulations to Antonia Stanev, recipient of a Thesis Commendation Award.
My thesis focuses on the communist monument- the Friendship Monument in Varna, Bulgaria, analyzing its state of decay and the grand narrative told through its architectural ideology. My research and the design looked to counter and re-frame the Friendship Monument in its landscape by introducing the antithetical space of communism, the heterotopia that was the Bulgarian Soviet home. My project captures the refrain of the home through a series of architectural interventions on the site of the Friendship Monument with a focus on the tactile and the sensory rather than the visual. In Deleuzean terms I describe the refrain of the home, one of tradition, intimacy, and identity, expressed through the home’s materiality from folklore, its micro-narratives, and the rituals occurring in its private spaces during communism. The resulting design re-animates traditions of folk craft and ritual of the Goryan, the local rural movement against Communism, through the formal expression of the primitive Bulgarian yurt-dwelling on a site of horror and oppression that attempted to erase it. The dwelling is re- formed and re-materialized as it recounts different narratives that emerge from the roots of Bulgaria. In the process it challenges the monument’s static form and narrative.