The Slovenia Times

Slovenian architecture excels at Balkan biennial

The public swimming pool in Češča Vas.Photo: Miran Kambič

Slovenian architecture has done well at this year's Balkan Architectural Biennial (BAB), winning nearly a third of all awards, including the top prizes in three categories.

A public swimming pool in Češča Vas on the outskirts of Novo Mesto in southern Slovenia received the award for best architecture. The Enota architectural bureau managed to reduce the complex construction to what it seems like a massive floating roof, architectural studio Scapelab said.

Meanwhile, architects Jure Grohar and Anja Vidic were honoured for their work on the interior of L56, a former industrial hangar on Litostrojska Road in Ljubljana that they refurbished to serve as the premises that the SNG Drama theatre will be using throughout the renovation of its building in the city centre.

The interior of L56, a refurbishment of a former industrial hangar on Litostrojska Road in Ljubljana. Photo: Spacelab

The new kindergarten in Bohinjska Bistrica, northwestern Slovenia, was honoured for being the most in tune with this year's theme of the biennial, which was back to the roots. Architects of ARREA and KAL A studios built the structures as a reinterpretation of Slovenian rural architecture.

The second prize in interior design also went to Slovenia, honouring an open library at the Vič primary school in Ljubljana. Designed by ARP Studio, the project was praised as an elegant solution that turned an unused hallway into a popular spot for students.

An open library at the Vič primary school in Ljubljana. Photo: Spacelab

A footbridge in Irča Vas, near Novo Mesto, designed by the studio Jereb & Budja, received the second prize in urbanism, while the roof over the ruins of Žička Kartuzija, a former monastery, earned the third place in the theme category.

Other designs built in Slovenia received commendations at BAB, including the Underground Wellness by Kosi & Partners, a revitalization of an old glassworks the historical centre of Ptuj by Elementarna, and the Outsider architectural magazine for a centre that explores the use of an age-old rammed-earth technique in modern buildings.

Running between 21 and 28 November this year, BAB is organised every second year by a Belgrade foundation with the support of the Belgrade City Museum and Faculty of Architecture and featuring commissioners from eight countries that select the best projects from their country and invite them to the exhibition.

A revitalization of an old glassworks and surrounding urban areas in the historical centre of Ptuj. Photo: Miran Kambič

The revitalization of the Ptuj glassworks and surrounding area also won the 2023 Piranesi Award, an international accolade presented at the 40th Piran Days of Architecture, one of the world's oldest international architectural conferences, in late November. The Bohinjska Bistrica kindergarten won an honourable mention in Piran.

Cover photo: The public swimming pool in Češča Vas by Miran Kambič

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