Slovenian alpine valley under the Ponce mountains prides itself with a unique natural setting, exceptional sporting tradition, technical and construction heritage and ambitions for the development of Nordic Ski disciplines and as a tourist destination. The beginnings of the development of the sports infrastructure go back to the 1930s, when the first ski jump was built. Afterwards, in the desire to hold international competitions, bigger and bigger ski jumps were built and Planica has become a place for innovation, for creating new frames of the sporting discipline by breaking records and pushing the limits of that which is possible. The rich historical development is a testament of mutual cooperation between athletes, organisers and building designers, who have competed here, organised events and developed the infrastructure. The project solutions of the architectural office STVAR became part of the tradition.
Because of its natural resources Planica represents a unique setting for the development of Nordic Ski disciplines, where unlike many other world arenas, the sports infrastructure is adapted to nature and not the other way around. Only after the independence of Slovenia, when investments couldn’t keep up with development, the area saw degradation. A new carefully thought out project was required for restoration and modernisation, which would provide development for generations to come. This is why in 2009 in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Sport of RS and the Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning of Slovenia a public architectural and landscape call was held to select the most appropriate solution for the organisation of the Nordic Ski Centre Planica as the national sport centre. Tender documentation included the integral programme, functional and economic starting points for architectural, landscaping and infrastructural design. Solutions had to provide a functional design and coordinated development of sports and tourist infrastructure with due respect for natural environment and cultural heritage and to enable the implementation of sports and tourist activities, including the organisation of world-class competitions provided by the multi-purpose use of facilities and areas. The first two equal prizes were awarded to the elaborate of the office STVAR focused on architectural solutions and spatial disposition of buildings and the elaborate of the Abiro-AKKA studios focused on landscaping and architectural design and integration of sports facilities.Design Gallery
The role of the investor on behalf of the Republic of Slovenia after the completed call was assumed by the Institute of Sport Planica, which coordinated the synthesis of both tender solutions. The project has followed the ambition for designing a programme and landscaping entry point to the valley of Tamar and Triglav National Park by joining the natural topography of the slopes with the terraced anthropogenic landscape of the valley. The subtle design with careful placement of buildings and sports infrastructure has pursued these principles. The course of competitive cross-country trails follows the configuration of the natural terrain and forest to the greatest extent possible, which preserves the original Alpine setting and the ski flying hill and seven ski jumps with its fan-like design create a unique landscaping trait with the central meeting point under the peak of the slope. The architectural design of the service buildings at the shoulder of the valley and heating facilities at the slope is extremely reserved. The one exception is the Central Building, which is as an architectural focus placed at the centre of the ski jumping and cross-country skiing section of the Nordic Ski Centre Planica.
Based on the integral solutions a computer animation was made and the future centre was introduced to the international public. In 2012, the spatial act was coordinated, which enabled the project's integral implementation. Dividing the area to the ski jumping and cross-country skiing section, which is separated by the path to the Tamar valley was followed by the breakdown of project or construction stages. The office STVAR took over the planning of service and warm-up buildings and project management of the reconstruction of the Gorišek Brothers Flying Hill in the ski jumping section and within the cross-country section the planning of the Central Building together with project management of the corresponding infrastructure and landscaping.
The construction of the ski jumping section was carried out in four stages:
The construction of the cross-country section was carried out in two stages:
For the entire centre a water supply system has been carried out as an independent project, which among other things includes bores for the exploitation of underground water, pumping station for irrigation and snow making in the Čaplja building, as well as collection and reuse of rainwater through the reservoir and central control system.
For every project engineering stage the investor has acquired a contractor with a public call. The construction of separate stages took place under joint construction supervision for the entire centre. The opening of the Nordic centre Planica took place in December of 2015. The projected investment value and actual construction costs were within plans and foreseen economic starting points of the call. The engineered programme and functional design of the entire arrangement and facilities was successfully tested already in 2015 and 2016 with world class events, such as the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Finals and FIS Cross-country World Cup.
“After six years and almost 50 million Euros, the Nordic Ski Centre Planica has become in terms of expertise and execution one of the most complex infrastructural projects in Slovenia, which is specific also for European standards. It is a morphological masterpiece, where the topography of the terrain almost completely blends in with the architecture and at the same time the architecture intervenes in the characteristic Alpine setting as minimally invasive as possible. The authors with their interdisciplinary approach managed to create a decent, almost ascetic conglomerate of different facilities, which because of its reserve appear even more majestic.”
Source: MMC RTVSLO, Trend Award, December 2015