The Slovenia Times

Getting on to the World Stage



It's an exciting time for Slovenian sport. The nation's football team has qualified for the FIFA World Cup - in July the team will travel to South Africa, joining the 31 others competing for football's biggest prize. The national basketball team is also deep in preparations for a worldwide competition. The World Basketball Championship, in which the Slovenian team placed a respectable twelfth in 2006, takes place in Turkey in August and September.

The excitement of each of these competitions will, of course, be fleeting. But one exciting Slovenian sports project is set to have a much longer lasting impact. The Stožice Sports Park is a 182,000 square metre project integrating a football stadium and a multi-purpose sports hall. It is due to be completed in the next few weeks and is set to finally give Slovenia's capital a world-class sporting facility.

Massive capacity

Stožice's surroundings should be just as impressive as the buildings themselves. The project is set in the grounds of a recreational park. The football stadium - with capacity for an astounding 16,038 spectators - is laid out under the plateau of this park, "sunk" into its surroundings. Only the roof over the stands rises above this magnificent crater.

The sports hall is located in the north-western part of the park. Its four levels of concourses and the lower, VIP, and upper stands are covered by a beautiful shell-shaped dome. The ridges of the shell continue all the way to where the façade meets the dome, creating a shell that opens towards the perimeter with large crescent openings overlooking the park. Like the stadium, the hall is finished in exterior cladding that will change colour depending on the conditions outside and the distance from which it's viewed. It will be a stunning sight for the 12,484 spectators which the sports hall can hold.

On a par with the world

Municipality officials say that having such a facility will enable Ljubljana and Slovenia to compete as a location for major international sports competitions.

"Talks are already under way to apply to hold the European championships in basketball, indoor football, handball, gymnastics and in swimming", explains Marko Kolenc, head of the sports department in Ljubljana's city council.

He adds that the development will also make Ljubljana a candidate for European Capital of Sports Award.

Not just for sports lovers

Stožice will not just be a place to view sport, however. Officials also want it to be a place to take part in sporting activity. The complex includes fitness studios, a climbing centre, modern fitness studios, an outdoor sports park with three football fields and both running and skating tracks. And with a shopping centre, 3,800 parking spaces, a children's playground, and ample space to relax and picnic it is hoped Stožice will become one of the major focal points of non-sporting life as well.

"We expect that the sporting events will be attended by families as well as sports lovers and that this will become a new gathering space and a new way of spending leisure time," says Kolenc.

One area that is sure to be of interest to both sports lovers and families is a museum located in between the hall and the stadium. It will exhibit the rich history of Slovenian sport. It's a history which Stožice will surely make richer still. Roll on June.

Site area:
166.000 m2

Building area: 24.614 m2 (stadium), 14.164 m2 (arena), 122.973 m2 (park)

Total floor area: 33.738 m2 (stadium), 35.496 m2 (arena), 134.247 m2 (underground parking garage), 91.600 m2 (shopping), 122.973 m2 (park)


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