Planica Nordic Centre gets award for sports architecture

The awards were announced at the 26th international IAKS congress in Cologne, Germany, last week, and presented officially on Tuesday by the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.

The Nordic skiing complex with one ski flying hill, seven ski jumping hills and a cross-country skiing track is one of the seven recipients of the gold medals among a total of 98 competing projects.

What speaks of the success of the Planica Nordic Centre is that the award for an architectural achievement in the past went to the likes of Beijing National Stadium, also called The Bird's Nest, and National Stadium in Singapore.

For instance, the latter cost EUR 1.2 billion build, while the cost of the Planica Nordic Centre was around EUR 48 million.

The project by three architectural firms (Stvar, Abiro and Akka) has been recognised by an international jury as a "modern complex created by expanding and modernising the existing facilities in the Triglav National Park."

According to the jury, it is noted for versatile and year-round use for elite sport and major international events, as well as tourism and recreation, and is marked by its clear, linear design in harmony with the landscape.

The jury has also been impressed by the "magnificent integration of the facility into the landscape" and the use of an underground tunnel for cross-country skiing in the summer.

Matej Blenkuš of Abiro said at today's event that while there were financial constraints, the architects were happy to "build in one of the most beautiful environments in Slovenia."

Such an environment puts overly ambitious architects on realistic grounds, as it sends a message that no one should date to change such an environment," he added.

Aleš Vodopivec of Stvar said that the project was an "unbelievable challenge, but the award proves that we have been successful".

Apart from hosting the Ski Jumping World Cup finale every year, the Planica Nordic Centre will host the Nordic World Ski Championships in 2023, at which tens of thousands of fans are expected to show up.