Three Hills Retreat, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
CATEGORY: Hotel and Leisure
PROJECT:   Three Hills Retreat, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
SIZE: 120,000m2

This 12-hectare site, which overlooks the city of Plovdiv and is set within the vineyards and rolling hills of Bulgaria, has an inherent beauty that speaks for itself.  The client acquired the land as the location of his permanent home, but having considered the remarkable landscape, as well as the proximity to the city and Plovdiv International Airport, further development was conceived to utilize the economic potential within the site. 

Volume 3 proposed a strategy which was to be a developmental shift in the area, an affiliation to preserving the natural and unbuilt environments, rather than continuing the object-centric approach to architecture as seen in the region.  The key economic driver of the development is the Three Hills Retreat - a name that reflects the prominent geographical features of Plovdiv.  The retreat is comprised of a boutique hotel, herbal spa and world-class recreation facilities on the central leisure island.  Furthermore, there are plots that are to be developed to contain private villas along the site boundary. All of the buildings are conceived to minimize their visual impact while presenting key views and distributing space in a way that connects and enhances the Bulgarian countryside. 

A particular challenge lay in the reconciliation of our two target demographics: singles and families.  Research shows that single adults or business people tend to favour visually arresting yet isolated locations.  However, families on holiday tend to view their destination as an activity-laden escape and a means to bond.   The spatial response to these opposing experiences was an organisation that articulated movement amongst programs with natural affinities, yet weaving both experiences together with cycling routes, pedestrian boulevards, recreation facilities, water activities, and a variety of green and social spaces, which together create an exciting milieu that connects both leisure and luxury to the natural environment.