Buzludzha VR Interactive Virtual Reality Experience Buzludzha VR is a collaborative virtual reality experience between Rafal Czarnowski↗ and myself. The project is based on the environment of the Buzludzha monument built by the Bulgarian communist regime in the 1970s. The structure has been abandoned since 1989 and this led to its ongoing physical degradation. The main aim of this project is to raise awareness about the monument and suggest a new purpose for the abandoned mega structure. About the project Buzludzha VR is an unguided exploration experience and also a small history lesson about the building, all presented inside of a redesigned, conceptual version of the structure to show what it could look like if it was ever restored. Buzludzha VR allows the audience to explore and sense the monument in a way that would otherwise be impossible in real life. For example, the implemented corridor museum features photographs of the Buzludzha Monument in its current derelict state with the ability to teleport to the place from which a specific photo was originally taken to compare our restored version to its current real-life equivalent. There are also various photos of interesting places of Bulgaria displayed on the panoramic corridor wall, with a playable voice-over description to learn more about what they depict. And so by the end of your gameplay we hope you will have an increased understanding of what the Buzludzha Monument is now, what it used to be, all with an additional grasp of Bulgaria in general. Project Development The project development started back in late June 2015 when we traveled on site to Buzludzha to capture essential photographic material for reference as well as to experience first hand the size and scale of the structure. A series of spatial measurements was also taken to further aid the development process. The photographs proved to be an invaluable asset to have during the modelling stage of the project, which combined with the measurements of the building’s internal dimensions helped establish the right scale. Due to the scale of the environment and the type of the project, time was our biggest enemy during the production stage. However we did not want to compromise on anything or abandon ideas. That’s why we had to regularly plan our time and constantly update our schedule in order to make sure that we are on track. A functional approach to redesign We believe that communist symbols do not work in the 21st century. Perhaps the presence of these symbols is one of the reasons for the current poor condition of the Monument. We wanted to use the Buzludzha’s unique and unusual architectural form to creatively restore the structure and suggest a new use for it. That’s why we decided to turn Buzludzha into a modern multi-functional complex.