Academy of Fine Arts and Design

Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2016


open anonymous competition, special metion

Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana

city centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Site area
3.527 m2

Building area
1.352 m2

Total floor area
9.432 m2

ateliers, workshops, exhibition space, library, offices, auditorium, cafe

light steel frame

glass, brisoleils

SADAR+VUGA (Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Janž Omerzu, Gregor Bucik, Matic Škarabot, Maša Ogrin, Tjaša Plavec, Jan Žiher)
flexible interior systems: studio RAKETA (Katjuša Kranjc, Rok Kuhar, Vesna Draksler)

Competition entry for the new Academy of Fine Arts and Design building is designed as a point of junction – between the street and the park, ateliers and workshops, public and private, students and visitors, art and its observer.

At this moment, the Academy’s program occupies two buildings: an old townhouse from the beginning of the 20th century and a 1950s annex – two very diverse buildings that don’t establish a clear architectural identity of the Academy as an institution. The competition entry proposes to sell the old townhouse and demolish the annex. The program of the Academy would be moved into a new building with an entry plaza, which would create a recognisable image of the Academy within the urban city block.

SADAR+VUGA proposes that the building has direct contact with the street, which would visually connect the events insider the buildings – especially inside the triple-height exhibition space that borders to the street – with the passersby. On the western side of the building is the entry plaza, slightly deepened and connected to the private garden inside the city block, which becomes – due to its pocket nature and the connection o the programmatically rich ground floor of the building – an outdoor exhibition, pedagogic and social space of the Academy.

The Academy building consists of a compact vertical design of five stacked blocks that follow the programmatic and atmospheric constraints of the ateliers inside. The light steel structure enables flexible organization of individual departments, where the programs can freely take up a form.

The levels with ateliers are organised without hallways. All the communication is conducted along the facade, passing through individual ateliers. The advantage of this organisation is in larger visual and social interaction between students and in energetic and atmospheric efficiency, since the ateliers are removed from the changeable conditions along the facade.

The modularity and flexibility of the plan is envisioned with partition cupboards and acoustic walls that provide effective visual and noise barrier for the programs. Both elements are designed so that easy connection and communication between the departments is possible when desired.

Workshops – available outside the pedagogic process – are located in the two basements. Students can use them to upgrade their skills and gain practical experience.

Between the private spaces of the ateliers on upper levels and workshops on the lower levels the ground floor is occupied by large communal spaces – gallery, lecture hall, photo studio, library, café -, that can be seen from the street and entry plaza and accessible by larger public. In the programmatically rich ground floor students of different departments, their professors and visitors meet on a daily basis – this is where interdepartmental integration, learning and development of critical thought happen.

The location in the city center and the public character of the outdoor and indoor spaces of the Academy attracts the city population which experiences the building as a public, cultural and exhibition institution and a contribution to the urban life of the capital.