About the building
The Red House is an emblematic architectural monument of Sofia from the first half of the 20th century
— What is the style of your house?
— None. My own. Admittedly, i was influenced by Italy. I have been there for so many years.
— What will happen to your huge ateliers eventually?
— Others will work in them. I made a house not just for myself.
An interview by Hristo Bratisov with Andrey Nikolov for the Literary Voice newspaper, 1929
History of the building
After returning from Rome, where he lives and works from 1914 to 1927, the sculptor Andrey Nikolov, fascinated by the Italian urban environment, decided to build his own studio in Sofia - a magical place to preserve the spirit of Italy, to create conditions for a happy life of a large family and to respond to the artist's working needs.

The talented Bulgarian architect Ivan Vasilyov designed the building on sketches by Andrey Nikolov. It is no wonder there is an Italian touch in this unusual for Sofia architecture. Today the building is a monument of culture of national importance.

Yet with the establishment of the building in 1926-1928 the home and atelier becomes a center for the intellectuals from Bulgaria and abroad, as well as for many young artists, with whom Andrey Nikolov shares his ateliers so as to give them a place to create.

After the death of Andrey Nikolov in 1959 his heirs donate the house to the Ministry of Culture for the purpose of running and performing public and cultural activities.
Who is Andrei Nikolov?
The modern Bulgarian sculpture gains European recognition to a great extent thanks to Andrey Nikolov, whose work builds a bridge between the European sculptural tradition in the spirit of...
The building was abandoned in the second half of the 1980s and the 1990s. On 21st of July 2000, the Ministry of Culture, the National Art Gallery and the Gulliver Clearing House Foundation signed a contract for the use of the building against reconstruction, restoration and adaptation and its transformation into a modern cultural center - the Red House Center for Culture and Debate "Andrei Nikolov".
At this time the building has no doors and windows, water supply, sewerage, heating, electricity and installations, the paint inside the house is gouged, the walls are permanently damaged, most of the facades and the edges of the house are destroyed and need a major repairs, the yard's pave is fully destroyed as well and without vertical planning and drainage, and the supporting structure of the house needs to be strengthened.
On January 16, 2001, Gulliver Clearing House announced an open competition for the reconstruction, renovation and adaptation of the building and its transformation into a center for culture and debate. 24 architectural projects take part in the competition. The project for the reconstruction of the house, chosen by the jury of the competition, is with authors arch. Luben Boyadzhiev and arch. Tsvetan Tsinzev. Consultant for reconstruction is arch. Ivailo Petkov.

With the help of "Beautiful Bulgaria - beautiful Sofia" project of the United Nations Development Program, the initial repair of the roof of the building is carried out. On 26 September 2002. the company "Isover" donated material for thermal insulation of the roof of the House. Later, after a competition, "Venistroj" LTD. carries out overall restoration and construction work on the building until its completion.

So, before the eyes of the citizens of Sofia, the building gradually transformed into the Red House Center for Culture and Debate "Andrey Nikolov", which became mostly known as the Red House.
The Opening
On October 21, 2004, the fully renovated building was officially opened with two exhibitions: "Propolis" and "The Spirit Finds the Body", presenting the life and work of Andrey Nikolov and the historical time in which the great sculptor lived.
The inscription in Italian, written above the front door "Voi chet entrant qui lasciate ogni cattivo pensiero", invites the visitor to leave every bad thought out and is the penephrase of Dante's "Abandon all hope you who enter here", written above the gates of hell in "Divine Comedy".

The phrase is in line with one of the main missions of the Center for Culture and Debate - to open people's minds to new ideas by creating a space open to different points of view in art, culture and public debate where they can be freely expressed without fear of censorship and non-acceptance.

Thus, the Red House Center for Culture and Debate "Andrey Nikolov" becomes a successor of the spirit of the great Bulgarian sculptor Andrey Nikolov. With its diverse cultural, social and educational programs, with the participation of personalities from the country and abroad, the building continues to build a bridge between Bulgarian and European culture, just like Andrey Nikolov's life and creativity created a bridge between the European and Bulgarian sculptural tradition.

At the same time, the numerous audience of the Red House can touch to the creativity of two great artists from the beginning of the 20th century - architect Ivan Vasilyov and sculptor Andrey Nikolov.
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