The Sports Park Stozice is a hybrid project. Its realization is the result of the publicprivate partnership between the city of Ljubljana and Grep Development Company.
SADAR + VUGA, the architects responsible for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia in Ljubljana, have again designed a project whose influence reaches beyond the boundaries of its site to change the dynamic of the urban fabric itself. The 187,500sqm complex is located north of the city and combines a football stadium and a multipurpose sports hall with a large shopping centre covered by a recreational park landscape. The park, visibly the largest open space, links the landscape by the river Sava, across the northern sections of the outer ring road, with the green urban space in the city centre. It emphasizes the horizontal and planar character of the site as well as that of the surrounding territory. The monilithic structures of the stadium and sports hall that emerge from this plane redefine the skyline of the area whilst at the same time frame the views of the Alps towards the north, and of the castle hill and city centre towers towards the south. The two storeys of the shopping centre and indoor car park occupy the 12metre deep disused gravel pit that once characterized the site. The Sports Park Stozice changes the periphery of Ljubljana by merging green space and recreational facilities in order to create new areas for social interaction and communal activities.
THE CRATER OF THE FOOTBALL STADIUM
The 16.000 seat football stadium is designed according to contemporary economic, sociological and environmental UEFA standards. Its design and shape provide ideal conditions for sporting events and ensure the perfect experience for the spectators. The football stadium is ‘sunken’ in the park – only the roof over the stands rises above the plane of the field, a massive crater reminiscent of the pit that once formed part of the landscape. The stadium and sports hall stand as juxtapositions of one another, the former finding shape in the negative space. Though different in structure, they retain similar formal languages in order to be understood as interdependent programmes. Even through materiality this notion is reinforced, for example: the cladding of the stadium’s roof is the same as the one used to cover the shell of the sports hall. The plane is pierced by four flights of stairs that provide access and lead to the stadium’s concourse. The park’s plateau gradually descends to the east revealing the stadium as an open building, while the eastern entrances create views into the interior that reinforce the notion of it conceived as a depression in the ground. A steel roof stretches high above the stands highlighting the 4x4m grid structure? thus enhancing the quality and sensation of the interior space.
The stands descend from the concourse to the football pitch enabling spectators to be very near to the action, yet still remain covered by the roof. On the west side of the stadium, the concourse terminates at the VIP and media rooms. This section continues into the underground buildings with all the necessary amenities for the players, officials and media. In the context of the wider city landscape, the roof over the stands the crater becomes the stadium’s distinctive mark.
THE SHELL OF THE MULTIPURPOSE SPORTS HALL
The sports hall for 12,000 spectators is located in the northwestern part of the park. The four levels of concourses and the lower, IP, and upper stands are covered by a shellshaped dome. The park’s plateau meets the edge of the shell which scallops and opens towards the interior of the building. The ridges continue all the way to the top, where the facade meets the dome. This outlines the shape of the hall, a shell that opens towards the perimeter with large crescent openings overlooking the park. A canopy that encircles the hall mirrors the scalloped shell. Like the stadium, the entire dome is finished in an exterior cladding that changes colors depending on the atmospheric conditions and viewing distance. The sports hall is a partially recessed building whose volume is determined by the required seating capacity and the size of the basketball and handball court, the two activities the hall is primarily intended for. The position of the stands ensures maximum compactness of the interior space and allows the spectators to be as close to the action on the court as possible. VIP seating is situated between the lower and the upper stands. The warm-up hall is connected to the main hall on the lowest floor, under the surface of the park. The geometry of the shell’s steel armature is understood as both the structure and the ornament of the spaces of the upper concourse, stands and courts. The lower, VIP, and upper concourses with kiosks surround the interior of the hall and open towards the park. The double height spaces and terraces connect the concourses visually with the park, rendering them permeable. In essence the project is the synthesis of nature and construction, proof of this complex’s vital role in the development of public space in Ljubljana.
THE SHOPPING CENTRE
Alongside the stadium and the hall, the shopping centre is the third major component of the Sports Park Stoz ice. Open every day of the week, it generates activity in the park even when there are no ongoing events in the stadium and the sports hall. It’s location between the car park level and the park platform seamlessly integrates the retail programme with the rest of the park’s activities and enables visitors to access the complex easily from all sides. Three greened atriums extend the atmosphere of the park into the shopping center by piercing the roof to create a visual connection between the exterior and the shopping centre, making them prominent features in the project. Large northoriented skylights above the centre evenly supply the space with diffused light and frame views towards the sports facilities and surrounding territory. The recreational park platform on the roof of the shopping centre is a technical landscape, designed by Studio AKKA, composed of individual recognizable microambiances that withstand the pressure of the crown before major sporting events yet still offer pleasure and comfort to the afternoon stroller, the skateboarder, or the children at the playground. By means of fractures and opening in the park’s plane, the northern, southern and western greened atriums and pavilions merge the park with the shopping platforms, the car park and the large openings (exits) that face the main access road. The three atriums are connected with the pavilions by means of a large paved surface that extends beyond the two sports facilities.
Designed as the central plaza under the level of the park, it is the largest urban space of the project. It meets the commercial facade of the shopping centre on its western side and the dugin Sports museum and the stadium VIP access area on its eastern side. It’s the main path through the park whose form also reflects the circulation sequence of the shopping centre. On the northern side, the park’s plane ends with a vertical overhang that composes the façade of the shopping centre. The park is understood as something more than just an open space. Its playgrounds in the greened area of the park, with their microtopography, diverse vegetation, and articulate paving transform the park into a hybrid open urban space where the natural intertwines with the artificial, the digital with the analogue, the noisy with the quiet, and the full with the empty.
+ PROJECT DATA AND CREDITS
Architects: SADAR + VUGA (lead architect) KSS, London (consultant in sports architecture) | http://www.sadarvuga.com/
Type: leisure and sport, retail
Program: recreational park, football stadium, multipurpose sports hall, shopping centre, underground parking
Source: international open competition, 1997
Client: Ljubljana City Municipality, Grep
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Landscape architecture: AKKA, Ljubljana
Construction engineering: Atelier One, London; Gradis; ELEA iC
Mechanical engineering: Lenassi; Jelen & Zaveršnik
Electrical engineering: Elprojekt; UTRIS;Genera
Fire engineering: EKOsystem
Traffic and site engineering: LUZ
Site area: 182.600 sqm
stadium: 24.600 sqm
sports hall: 14.100 sqm
park: 143.970 sqm
Total floor area
stadium: 33.700 sqm
sports Hall: 35.500 sqm
shopping centre: 91.000 sqm (2nd phase)
underground parking garage: 134.000 sqm
park: 143.970 sqm
stadium: 16.038 seats
sports hall: 12.484 seats
parking garage: 1.111 parking spaces + 62 bus parking + delivery (1st phase) and 2.503 parking spaces (2nd phase)
stadium: 3 underground levels + GF
sports hall: 2 underground levels + GF + 3 levels
shopping centre: 2 underground levels
parking: 2 underground levels
stadium: reinforced concrete with prefab elements, steel roof structure
sports hall: reinforced concrete with prefab elements, steel roof structure
shopping centre:reinforced concrete structure
stadium: glass, facade panels
sports hall: glass
stadium: green roof, alushingles
sports hall: alu shingles
international competition (1st prize): 1997
masterplan: May – June 2007
masterplan approved: March 2008
design start: May 2008
construction start: September 2009
opening for Sports Park with Stadium and Sports Hall: September 2010
(expected) opening for Shopping Center: winter 2011
+ About SADAR + VUGA architects
SADAR + VUGA was founded by Jurij Sadar and Bostjan Vuga in Ljubljana in 1996. Over the past fourteen years it has focused on open, innovative and integral architectural design and urban planning.
The office has been driven by a quest for quality, with a strong belief that forwardleaping architectural production contributes to our wellbeing, and generates a sensitive and responsive development of the physical context we live in, broadening our imagination and stimulating our senses.
The growing portfolio of built work ranges from innovative town planning to public space sculpture, from interactive new public buildings to interventions within older existing structures.
SADAR + VUGA designs extended living areas in residential buildings, guided by the culture and climate of place? shapes interior environments that respond to very personal tastes and desires.
The client base reflects the diversity of built and project experience. Ranging from nunicipal conuncils and Central Government, encompassing national and private arts bodies and multi nationals to the best developers in Slovenia.
With the “Formula New Ljubljana” a collection of their own realisations and of urban planning studies the architects at SADAR + VUGA are now also intervening in the political process. They are of the opinion that architecture should not function as a mere piece of design, but rather as a way to shape and change social space. In their view, in the age of the experience economy, architecture thus plays an interactive social role.