Building type:




Project Status:


Gross Area:

3250 Sqm


LEED v3 BD+C (New Construction) Gold

Climatic zone:



Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 0 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 1 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 2 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 3 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 4 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 5 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 6 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 7 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 8 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 9 © Roland Halbe
Thumbnail Muzeiko | America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum / 10


Commissioned by the America for Bulgaria Foundation as part of their mission to improve informal educational opportunities for Bulgarian children, families and educators, Muzeiko is the first major children’s museum in Eastern Europe and is one of the only LEED® buildings in Bulgaria.
Our concept for this new, modern educational facility consciously expresses the nation’s cultural heritage while looking to the future and re-connecting Bulgaria with the global community. Its architectural theme, “Little Mountains,” is an allusion to Sofia’s mountainous setting.

The structure’s glass volume is intersected by three sculptural forms – “mountains” – each referencing through its color scheme and texture indigenous craft traditions. One “mountain” features abstracted patterns inspired by embroidered textiles, another by glazed ceramics, and the third by wood carving.

These expressive, dynamic forms embody the sense of freedom, curiosity and discovery to be found within. Children travel into a unique, unfolding interior landscape that is organized conceptually as a journey through time and space, where they can explore “the past” in educational exhibits based on archaeology, geology and paleontology, “the present,” represented by hands-on exhibits about the natural environment and contemporary cities, and “the future” with interactive exhibits featuring cutting-edge technologies and space travel. Interactivity also pervades the site, which includes a science playground, green roof, rooftop climbing wall, rain garden, outdoor activity space and an amphitheater.

Muzeiko’s architecture, interiors and exhibitions form a seamless journey moving from the ancient past to future exploration in a dynamic, fun, informal learning experience unknown to Bulgarians until now.


Bulgarian Building of the Year, Education Category, 2015


Natural ventilation

Ventilation + Heat recovery

Passive Solar


Rainwater harvesting

Grey Water Recycling

Water-saving sanitary appliances

Sustainable building materials

Low-emitting materials and finishes

Environmentally friendly furniture

Innovative wastewater systems

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

Landscaped areas with no irrigation

Smart design (passive design strategies)

Ground Source Heat Pump

Regional materials

Green or brown roofs

Daylighting maximised

Electrical charging point for cars


Muzeiko is certified LEED Gold, only the second such building in Sofia. While LEED is typically an American sustainability rating program, the client, funded in large part by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, saw the LEED rating as desirable for this project. From the start, the design specifically focused on the following key goals:
• Maximizing indoor environmental quality
• Minimizing energy use
• Conserving potable water
• Reducing the building’s life cycle costs

The client was very supportive of all features that provided benefits of water and energy conservation that were proposed by the design team. All local Bulgarian consultants on the project including architects, landscape architects, engineers and LEED consultants, shared the client’s vision and worked with LHSA+DP to design and engineer the systems. All sustainable features of the building were also incorporated into the educational program of the museum and are now part of the visitor’s learning experience.

The project incorporates geothermal heating/cooling, a solar array on the roof for supplementing electrical and hot water needs, triple glazed curtain walls with integral frit to mitigate UV and solar gain, permeable site paving, a cistern for retaining greywater for toilets and site irrigation, a planted roof, and site amenities such as local drought-resistant plantings, electrical vehicle recharging stations and bicycle racks.

The strategy for Muzeiko’s MEP System design is centered on the need to provide a robust yet flexible system that can effectively respond to the dynamic demands of the diversity in program use and space planning between the exhibition spaces, classrooms, administrative spaces, other visitor amenities and back-of-house programmatic components. A key element in achieving these design goals is the passive design approach taken with the HVAC system design. As the building and site are rather constricted with closely adjacent buildings and the goal was to partially retain an existing structure, there were limited solar orientation options. The building massing and glazed facades provide a high-performance enclosure, minimizing heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter while allowing for day lighting and natural ventilation. The green-roof build-up provides additional insulation as well as the opportunity to manage stormwater flows on the site.

As Sofia is classified as a humid Continental climate, the heating season is the prevailing design challenge, and the design team focused on balancing thermal comfort requirements with high efficiency options. Four Variable Air Volume (VAV) AHU zones serve all levels and spaces in the building. These spaces are supplemented with perimeter radiation and trench vents at all full-height glazed facades as well as radiant heating under a terrazzo floor on the Ground Level and Lower Level of the north wing during winter months. This type of radiant heating works especially well in a facility where most of the patrons are children and will spend time on floor surfaces.

The AHU and radiant heating systems are fed with heating hot water provided from the Sofia local district heating system. Chilled water for space cooling are provided by air-cooled electric chillers that will feed cooling coils in the Air Handling Units. The Muzeiko team also investigated three energy-efficient options for generating heating hot water for the building during the schematic architectural design phase: connecting to the existing steam utility with a steam-HW heat exchanger, a standing-column geothermal system, or condensing boilers.

The water conservation and servicing strategy focuses on de-coupling indoor and outdoor uses within the building and decreasing water demand.

Potable water is provided by the municipal service and utilized by sinks and WCs within the space. Demand is minimized by the specification of dual-flush toilets and high-efficient fixtures.

Since there is a relatively constant rate of rainfall in Sofia throughout the year, irrigation is provided by collected rainwater from roof and hardscape surfaces. Irrigation demands are minimized by the specification of drought-tolerant species and efficient irrigation controls.

Building Materials:
The embodied energy of a material is the sum of total energy consumed over the life cycle of the material, including the energy used for extraction, manufacturing, transportation, construction and deconstruction. The re-use of much of the existing south wing structure minimized the environmental impact of the proposed design.

Indoor Environmental Quality and Human Comfort:
The transparent facades and skylights optimize the use of daylight in the spaces, minimizing the energy use associated with artificial lighting during the daytime. The team made the use of low toxic surfacing materials and interior furnishings a priority to ensure a healthy indoor environment.

Education and Awareness:
The interpretive and educational program of Muzeiko engages visitors with information about natural systems and increase their awareness and appreciation of the environment. The project team looked for opportunities throughout the design process to use the building and landscape design to further visitor’s awareness of ecology, sustainability and technology through interpretive signage and displays.


Energy consumption:

12.54 KW/m² (3.975 KBtu/ft²)

Consumption type:

Actual Data

Annual carbon footprint:

N/A (N/A )

Climate zone:


Min. temperature =


Max temperature =


RH =



No product info available



America for Bulgaria Foundation



LHSA+DP (Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership)


Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership , A&A Architects


Acoustical consultant:

Jaffe Holden

Building services engineer:

Termoklima , Nikan

Green certification consultant:

Triple Green Building Group LLC

Lighting consultant:

Available Light , Nikan


Poststudio , Dikras Ltd , SM Dimitrov

Specialist consultant:

Prototyp , Hristovi Proekt , Stiv 88 , Studio Gurkov , Maltbie , A Kubik Company

Structural Engineer:

Strukto Ltd. , BIPAK, Ltd.



Bigla III Ltd.


Walltopia_Rocktopia , Playground Energy , Archidea , A Squared , OSA-2000 , Mouse-PS , Darts Engineering , Excalibur


No other project by team


Thumbnail MUSE

Trento, Italia | 2013


Renzo Piano Building Workshop | Manens-Tifs

Exhibitions/Museums | LEED v2.2 NC

Thumbnail California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco, CA, USA | 2008

California Academy of Sciences

Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Exhibitions/Museums | LEED v2.0 NC | LEED v3 EBOM (Existing Buildings)

Thumbnail China Pavilion Expo 2015

Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy | 2015

China Pavilion Expo 2015

Studio Link-Arc + Tsinghua University | Studio Link-Arc


Thumbnail Bourse de Commerce Pinault Collection

2 Rue de Viarmes, 75001 Paris, France | 2021

Bourse de Commerce Pinault Collection

Tadao Ando Architect & Associates (TAAA)

Exhibitions/Museums | BREEAM International New Construction 2016