Architect Atanas Agura (1926-2008)
Architect Atanas Agura was born in Sofia in 1926. Since childhood, Agura had a passion for drawing buildings and landscapes, and thanks to his parents’ guidance, he directed his focus towards architecture, which became his vocation and profession. In 1944, the future architect graduated from the First Sofia Male Gymnasium. The turbulent and uncertain times of the Second World War put a heavy burden on the family of Engineer Dimitar Agura. After completing his military service, Atanas Agura was admitted to the State Polytechnic with a major in Architecture. After several interruptions in his education due to the political turmoil of the time, he graduated with highest distinction in 1956.
Architect Atanas Agura was one of the most prominent creative personalities in Bulgarian architecture in the second half of the 20th century. His favorite area of expertise was urban planning and the design of public buildings, and his professional career can be divided into two stages. The first stage (1957–1997) includes design and managerial activities at institutes such as “Hranproekt,” “Zavodproekt,” “Glavproekt,” and “Softproekt,” while the second stage (since 1997) was associated with his private design firm “AAA Architectproject” Ltd. Architect Atanas Agura is the author and co-author of over 90 urban planning and architectural solutions. He participated in the development of urban plans for the central parts of cities such as Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo, and others. Since 1972, he has been actively involved in the activities related to the new urban plan of Sofia and its center. He designed several separate ensembles and areas in the capital, including the 1975–1976 formation of the square in front of the National Theatre “Ivan Vazov.” On the eve of the celebrations commemorating the 1300th Anniversary of the Bulgarian State, he was appointed by the Council of Ministers as the chief designer of the surrounding space of the National Palace of Culture. Together with Architect Alexander Barov (the author of the building) and Valentina Atanasova (the head of the park-building team), they developed general and detailed plans for this monumental project. In the following years, he realized several other urban planning and architectural projects, including the redevelopment of a part of Sofia’s boulevard “Vitosha,” the reconstruction of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in “Garibaldi” Square, the memorial complex “St. George the Victorious” in the “Levski-Gerena” Sports Complex, Hotel “Etar” at Veliko Tarnovo, and many others throughout the country.
For his contributions as an architect, Atanas Agura was awarded the title of “Honored Architect” in 1982, and in 2001, he was declared an honorary citizen of Sofia.
The architect passed away in Sofia in 2008.