Piazza Transalpina / Trg Evrope

Nova Gorica, Slovenia | Gorizia, Italy


international competition for urban development

Cities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia

Piazza Transalpina / Trg Evrope, Nova Gorica, Gorizia

Plaza area
3250 m2

Building area
1090 m2

Total building floor area
5200 m2

plaza, exhibition space, co-working, apartments, pedestrian bridge, roof garden

SADAR+VUGA (Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Jure Sadar, Petko Grabljić, Belen Villan Fernandez, Matjaž Bahor)

visualisations: Andreas Cesarini

International Architectural Ideas and Project Competition for the Urban Development of the “Piazza Transalpina / Trg Evrope” Square called for a new urban strategy for the border zone between Italian Gorizia in Slovenian Nova Gorica. After the World War II the Gorizia region was divided between Italy and former Yugoslavia. Under the new socio-political conditions, Nova Gorica established its own administrative center, and Gorizia began its slow decline. The cities have together started an initiative in 2019 to become a cross-border European Capital of culture in 2025 with a plan to connect the cities by establishing a common central area on the state border in the Nova Gorica railway area.

Our contribution builds on a comprehensive approach toward a unified city space with three steps:

01 Reuse of train station, renovation of plaza, establishment of urban axis
02 Green axis – longitudinal park
03 Activating the border – nodes

01 Reuse of train station, renovation of plaza, establishment of urban axis

THE TRAIN STATION BUILDING: it was opened in 1906 as part of the Jesenice-Trieste line and served Gorizia as its north station.  The railways only use a fraction of the space today and the only publicly accessible parts of the building are the cafeteria and the room of the Museum. Our proposal does not include a new building but rather renovation and reuse of the existing train station. The building’s architectural quality and history are significant for both towns and countries and as such, its current underwhelming state offers a unique and exciting potential. Instead of investing in a new building, the reused station becomes an important piece of social infrastructure and a connecting element between the towns.

PIAZZALE DELLA TRANSALPINA: Proposed solution for the plaza is functional, pragmatic and cost effective yet has a strong visual identity. The square is designed as a carpet made of concrete tiles in the colours of the flags of both countries – the colours blend into one at the border, symbolising its disappearance. The existing element on the plaza – the circular memorial – is integrated into the surface of the square, emphasizing the non-border even further. A pedestrian bridge is added over the tracks and enables the urban corridor between the two towns via the building of the railway station.

ESTABLISHMENT OF URBAN AXIS: The reused train station and Piazzale della Transalpina/Trg Evrope lay midway between the Piazza della Vittoria and Trg Edvarda Kardelja, formal central squares of Gorizia and Nova Gorica. They will be the focal point of the GO25 – European capital of culture in 2025 and a lively center of activity for the towns beyond the duration of the event.

02 Green axis – longitudinal park

A green axis extending from Solkan to Vrtojba is already partially established and is the medium of stitching the border. The project enhances the intensity of use through introduction of cycling paths, park leisure amenities and implementation of pavilions – creating a programmed longitudinal park.

03 Activating the border – nodes

The node approach, as in the case of the train station and the plaza, is applied to the wider region. Functionally the nodes are transregional – acting as catalysts for growth on both sides of the border.