About VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar"

Why should you choose specialty in Architecture at Varna Free University?

If you love drawing, modelling, inventing new things ... if your imagination has no limits ... if you are looking for prestige and successful realization – the specialty in Architecture is just for you!


Because imagination is the basis of spatial thinking; good architectural practice provides prestige and respect in society; architectural activities in business are well paid and provide good living standards.


 Architecture is a compilation of technical science and the art of creating buildings and other construction structures. Art in architecture requires creativity in planning the surrounding space, from the bench in the park to skyscrapers.


The technical part includes a number of studies and calculations necessary to build a construction site. The inextricable link between the imagination of the artist and their practical skills make architectural designs artwork.


What additional educational perspectives does the training in architecture at VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar" offer?

During their studies, our students have the opportunity to attend: provided by the university paid placements in the studios of Varna architects, to study free one or two semesters in European universities under the Erasmus + programme, to certify additional knowledge of foreign languages, to upgrade what they have learned by participating in real architectural competitions and workshops.


Architectural training is prestigious and the respective price is paid for it. What are the possibilities for additional  funding of the training that Varna Free University provides its students with?


Immediately after their choice of university, the young people can join the scholarship programme of Varna Free University "I will Learn and Succeed in Bulgaria." During the training our students can participate in workshops, seminars, competitions, to present papers at scientific meetings as each such participation brings them bonuses. There is relief for early enrollment (% of the first tuition fee), for the person in charge of a group, for academic excellence, as well as within the framework of project "Student Scholarships and Prizes."


What options are available to your students after completing the Master’s degree programme in Architecture?


After completion of their training, our students can enroll in specialization (two-year Master's degree programme) to receive further qualification in their preferred area - Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Spatial Planning aor Parametric Design.

And speaking of architecture ... a wonderful occasion to present you another of our successful graduates - Arch. Kristina Marinova.


Kristina was born in Varna in 2009. She graduated from the National School of Humanities and Arts "Konstantin of Preslav" – town of Varna. After that she studied architecture at Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar". At the end of 2015, Kristina took first prize in our competition with her project for Ruse Music Centre. Just over a year later we meet her again to see what is happening with her.


Here is what she told Arch. Dobrin Tsvetkov for the site of the Association of Architectural Heritage Preservation. 


Hello, Kristina, a little over a year passed from your participation in our 3rd  National Competition for Diploma Theses in the Field of Preservation of Architectural Heritage. Tell us, what have you been doing for the last year?  


Over the last year I have worked in an architectural bureau in Varna with a leading designer Arch.Vanya Karadzhova and at the same time I am again a student in a Master's degree programme of VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar": Preservation of Cultural Heritage.


Tell us more about the Master'sdegree programme, what have been your impressions of it so far?


The training is very good, course projects are real objects and each of them has its own specifics and difficulty. Thanks to this we are preparing for real life. We meet with practitioners as archaeologists, restorers, designers and others who help and guide us in the activities related to heritage preservation. They introduce us to global practices that we can apply in Bulgaria.


A lot of fellow architects believe that these programmes do not make sense and every architect should have the right to work on cultural objects. What do you think about this?


I think that these programmes are useful. No matter how much experience an architect has, cultural heritage sites are specific and there is always something new to learn. Materials and methods for restoration are constantly evolving. These programmes give architects a chance not only to enrich their knowledge, to familiarize themselves with international practices by reading but to exchange experience personally with active practitioners who are narrowly profiled specialists.


If today you were assigned to design what you have developed for your thesis to what extent would you stick to the concept of the thesis?


I would stick to it at 100%. Although a year passed since I have developed the concept for the Ruse Music Centre, it seems to me fully realizable, well-considered and consistent with the surrounding environment and necessary for the city. Only an investor is missing (laughing).


Which is your favourite part of the project?

My favourite part is the utilized space in the patio. I like it when in this type of tasks it is possible in a discreet way to add something that is not in conflict with the original, but it complements and contrasts it to stand out.


What are the main differences between the university and practice?


The university is the place that develops imagination of young architects while in practice they encounter the monotonous routine, stiff thinking of investors and thousands of legislative restrictions. So the university is a place where we can show unconventional ideas and at the same time these ideas are welcomed by the colleagues.


If you had to put your knowledge from university into a sack, and your knowledge of your first year in practice, which bag would weigh more?


Without the knowledge obtained at the university, the knowledge from practice would not exist. They are mutually linked and have equally important value and weight. The more you take from the university, the easier it will be to enter into practice.


What are the main challenges for young designers in Bulgaria?


It is a challenge to manage to find employment in your field. I was lucky as I started internship in under an European programme and subsequently after graduation I stayed in the same architectural studio under an employment contract. I have been happy and satisfied with my career development so far. As a young architect I get a chance to design on a par with other architects in the office who have extensive professional experience. I think that the exchange of knowledge and ideas between generations is very important for quality design. Everyone benefits from this continuity both the designers’ team and the investor.


Which t is the most pleasant and which is the hardest part of your daily work?


The most enjoyable part is when we have a new project and the entire team get together to discuss ideas. The creative process is very inspiring and exciting. And the coordination between different specialties is the hardest part.


Describe in some detail how the creative process runs in your architectural studio?

Everyone sketches their ideas, we introduce them to each other as we take into account the advantages and disadvantages and generally in the process a compilation of the best of ideas is formed and finally this is the project that we submit to the investor.


Have you ever considered pursuing a career abroad?


I live in Varna and do not think to emigrate. I think that we can find here the necessary opportunities.


Do you want to greet or to extend special thanks to someone?


I would like to thank Assoc. Prof. Krasimira Vacheva and Arch. Zhechka Ilieva for the love they have awakened in me to Cultural Heritage. They are the main driver in the Master's degree programme in which I currently study. Their love and dedication to architectural heritage are contagious. Furthermore, I would like to thank also Arch. Vanya Karadzhova with all my heart, who is my employer and a role model of outstanding and talented architect.



Kristina at the company party of "guardians of cultural heritage"




That is all for now from Kristina. We wish her a lot of professional success in the near and distant future. Preservation of cultural heritage is a public mission with which no one can manage on their own. That is why we are so glad that despite the difficulties the participants in our competition managed to retain their interest in cultural heritage and continue to develop professionally.


Here is what our other graduates say about their studies:   Question: Now as fourth-year students majoring in Architecture, how do you feel, are you satisfied with your education at VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar"?


Denis Naumov: I am happy with my studies at Varna Free University. The atmosphere is friendly; our groups have optimal number of students, which makes it possible to establish close contact with the lecturers and to receive individual attention. Anna Petrova: The environment is really comfortable, the facilities are excellent.


Achilia Rufat: I love the initiatives for outdoors lectures, in the VFU campus, the opportunity to participate in many additional events and projects.


(Architecture graduate from VFU): The training at Varna Free University helped me a lot for my professional development. It upgraded and expanded the field of action in my professional area. I became more competitive in the real market. Furthermore, it is important to note the predisposing environment and good facilities at the university.


I would recommend that students should be assigned with more practically oriented tasks in architecture; it is also good to work in a team architect + engineer - so the graduates in these areas will be able to orient themselves properly and be competent in their work further on.


(Architecture graduate and Master’s degree programme of Preservation of Cultural Heritage of VFU): The University provides various learning opportunities outside the regulated educational programme – the university organizes seminars, workshops and events on different topics often with guest lecturers from other cities and even other countries. International contacts with colleagues from the same professional field are implemented - for example, working together on a school project in the Master's degree programme of Preservation of Cultural Heritage. Along with these interesting in themselves events students have the opportunity to meet different people.


I would like to recommend that a connection between the educational process and the actual practice in working environment should be established. More attention should be paid to the managerial functions of the architect - communication with other disciplines and customers.


by ВСУ Черноризец Храбър