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08 May 2024

International teams of Bulgarian and Romanian students of architecture, urban planning and landscape design created five concepts for the reactivation of the joint-use airport in Balchik. The competition was held in four stages. The assessment of the projects is three-component - from an architectural point of view, a landscape solution and an architectural solution. The presentation of each team is also assessed.

"It is a great pleasure for us to participate in an international competition of ideas for reconsideration the life of the Balchik Airport. Together with our students from "Yon Minku" University, we are developing a partnership together with  Varna Free University in order to receive proposals and projects, how this airport can be transformed and made accessible to all," said Dr. Urb. Sorina Rusu, lecturer at "Ion Mincu" University, Romania.

"This is the modern European way of working of our universities when we cooperate. 10 students from Romania, "Yon Minku" University and 6 from our university. We formed  5 teams, in which there were two Romanian students and one Bulgarian; they worked excellently, most of the work was even done online, as they are from the digital generation, which has no problems with this type of work, and I think this is a pilot project, what we can achieve in the future," said Assoc. Prof. Arch. Plamen Petrov, PhD,  lecturer at VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar"

The Balchik Airport has over 90 years of history. It was created in the period 1934-36, when Southern Dobrudzha was part of Romania. The construction is related to the intense flow of visitors from all over Romania to Balchik.

"Initially, there was a dirt track with a length of about 700 metres, and at that time the first airport in Balchik was built, which is a very interesting building in the traditional Balchik style - says architect Vladimir Popov. - It operated between 1936-40, as in the months from May to October there were regular flights from Bucharest to Balchik. Historical documents about the fares, times, flights are preserved. After the war, the airport continued its military history and is now used by military aviation. It is one of the so-called general aviation centres that operate in Bulgaria.

Dr. Rusu from "Yon Minku" University said that the idea is to use the airport according to its capacity and value - this is the more important asset.

The winning concept in the competition is "Balchik Airport - The Door to the Quiet Nest of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast". The team includes Maria Peneva from Bulgaria, Georgian Preda and Eliza-Maria Mindescu from Romania.

"Our concept is about silence, because that's something that Queen Maria said about Balchik – it's a quiet place for solitude, for rest, for pleasure. So we took that idea and brought it to the airport. It will be a place for the community to come and enjoy, relax and be inspired. And it will also function as an airport and still be a place for the military base," explained Georgian Preda, a student at "Yon Minku" University.
Maria Peneva from VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar", Varna said that she is very grateful for the excellent communication with her team. Every little aspect has been discussed and she believes that this is the reason their team and their concept to achieve success.

"We learned new things about the Bulgarian community and culture because we also have a member from Bulgaria. So it was an amazing experience, this multicultural team. We learned new things about the community and it brings us closer," added Georgian Preda.

"We are very pleased and grateful for this experience, because our students learned a lot about how they should cooperate and achieve results together, and we are very pleased with the cooperation between Romania and Bulgaria, as well as with the full support of Albena resort and Mr Krasimir Stanev, and also from the support from the Romanian side from Tuzla Airport," added Dr. Urb. Sorina Rusu.

Assoc. Prof. Arch. Plamen Petrov, PhD also stated that this is only the first step, there will be many other similar events, and from this competition they got a "taste" for working together, the students liked it, because Varna Free University is open to international cooperation and this is the main mission, for students to present their new vision of the world that awaits us.