New bus station project in Ljubljana enters next stage

Ljubljana – The national rail company Slovenske Železnice (SŽ) has picked the design for the new main coach and bus station in Ljubljana in what is another step towards construction that is expected to begin in the autumn of 2023. The architecture firm Bevk Perović Arhitekti has been selected to design the new building.

The firm’s design proposal that has won the architectural competition for the station is estimated to cost over EUR 55 million, excluding VAT. Bevk Perović Arhitekti said that the price tag including VAT was 67.7 million.

The selection procedure was based mainly on the criteria taking into account the aspects of safety and visibility of passengers’ pathways, and the smooth flow of traffic at the station and at junctions on the nearby Vilharjeva Road, said the relevant commission, chaired by Ljubljana deputy mayor Janez Koželj.

The idea by Bevk Perović Arhitekti envisages a building comprising a four-storey car park that will also include a bike storage area, a bus station on the ground floor and a waiting area on the mezzanine floor. Various shops and a restaurant will be on the first floor, whereas the remaining three floors as well as areas on the first floor will house Slovenske Železnice offices.

The waiting area will be a link between passengers entering the bus station from the railway station on the upper level and those accessing the bus station from the ground floor level.

“It is a dynamic but at the same time extremely easy-to-go-around space. From the waiting area it is possible to monitor the arrivals and departures of buses at the bus station and all the developments on the platforms of the railway station and the LPP [Ljubljana public transport] stops on Vilharjeva Street,” said the commission.

Bevk Perović Arhitekti’s idea was also lauded for its ambition and simplicity, with the commission noting that the design the firm has in mind also discourages potential attempts of vandalism as it includes a minimum amount of facade surfaces at the ground level and an easy-to-monitor area.

Bevk Perović Arhitekti has received a number of awards for its work, most notably the Plečnik Prize, the top national accolade for architecture. One of their most acclaimed projects is the Islamic cultural centre in Ljubljana.

Winning the project for the new bus station comes after the firm was picked to design the new wings of the National and University Library and the SNG Drama theatre.

The newspaper Dnevnik has reported that the competition for the new coach station attracted as many as eight architectural bureaus, including Zaha Hadid Architects, a British architecture and design firm founded by Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), one of the major figures in architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The new bus station is part of a bigger project, a new passenger terminal in Ljubljana that also involves construction of a new railway station as well as other premises.

A total of three investors are participating in the project: the Infrastructure Agency will see to the construction of the railway station, Slovenske Železnice will invest in the bus station, and Mendota Invest, a company incorporated by the Hungarian bank OTP, will invest in a commercial and entertainment centre, office building and a hotel.

According to Slovenske Železnice boss Dušan Mes, the projects are currently in the design phase and in the process of obtaining approvals to secure the construction permit. “It is expected that next year all three investors will obtain the construction permits,” he said in a recent interview with the STA.