Sport park Stožice: Possible Futures publication

Ljubljana, Slovenia 2016

Published by
SADAR+VUGA, Studio AKKA

In collaboration with
Municipality of Ljubljana MOL, Public institution Ljubljana Sport and Leisure Facilities

Students from
Münster School of Architecture, University of Applied, Sciences (MSA), Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana (UL FA), Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Ljubljana (UL BF)

Mentors
Doc. Mag. Boštjan Vuga (MSA), Prof. Jurij Sadar (UL FA),
Prof. Dr. Ana Kučan (UL BF), Asst. Miha Čebulj (UL FA)

Guest critics
Dr. Aidan Cerar, Mag. Maja Simoneti, Mag. Miloš Kosec, Prof. Dr. Ivo Čović

Editors
Boštjan Vuga, Blaž Lozej, Špela Štern

With the August 2010 opening of the football stadium and the multi-purpose sports arena of Sports Park Stožice ended an intensive three-year design project, in which because of the fast-paced development of the project as the main architects we were satisfied, even if the integral elements of the arena and stadium were not carried out before the conclusion of the design itself. The first phase of the so-called public part of the entire sports park, with the exception of the recreational areas on the roof of the shopping centre, had been realised and was open to the public.

Afterwards, the process halted abruptly. Apart from planting around the arena and stadium and the external regulation of the basketball courts on level 0, conducted in spring 2011, the numerous attempts to complete the shopping centre and recreational park on its roof ended unsuccessfully. Indeed, the economic and political crisis related to the foreclosure of the bank loans of the private partner, resulted in the 80,000m2 shopping centre to remain a bare concrete structure with a protruding steel reinforcement armature. As the construction slabs of the planned park were only partially covered with waterproofing, the water soon began to penetrate the building material.

For the past three years, I have been accompanied by feelings of uneasiness and restlessness alongside second thoughts; What might happen, if … Why is it not finished … Why was it this project … The endeavour of the project leaders for the Sports Park Stožice to become a case study, a project different than the closed and largely inaccessible urban areas of stadiums and arenas, was not materialised due to external circumstances. Is that the impotence of the architectural field? A sports park attracts people only when there is an event in the arena or stadium. Otherwise, the largest constructed open area in Ljubljana stands deserted. The unfinished part of the area remains a construction site, which is falling into ruin.

In 2014 we were invited by prof. Wilfried Wang to present the Sports Park Stožice in the exhibition DEMO:POLIS, the democratization of public space in Berlin in March 2016. This invitation and the beginning of the preparations for the exhibition triggered a rethinking about the whole process of the formation of the project and about the current status of the area of the sports park and the consequent change in perception in light of the situation today. The unfinished part of the area, which could be seen as frustrating mistake, can also be interpreted as significant potential for new content that elsewhere in the city does not have its own space. The authors of the architecture and landscape architecture of the entire Sports Park Stožice have decided that the presentation at the exhibition does not end with the current situation in the area, but with a vision of what could be there instead of the shopping centre. The international student workshop seems an appropriate way for developing those visions.

The workshop discovers the beauty and spatial values of the unfinished work of the sports park, proposes possible content and identifies those essential minimum measures necessary to open up the entire space for public use.

— Boštjan Vuga