Sometimes a new development can change a street, or a neighbourhood, but rarely does a project rewrite the landscape of an entire city.
The Sports Park Stozice in Ljubljana does just that. Its three main components – a stadium, an arena and a shopping centre – will straddle a swath of green to form the new heart of Ljubljana’s sporting and cultural life. Designed by local firm Sadar + Vuga, it is an 183,000-square-metre centre of gravity whose pull is sure to be felt throughout the municipality.
The low-profile stadium forms the largest visible element of the park. At close to 25,000 square metres, it can easily accommodate 16,000 visitors in its giant crater-shaped stands, which are sunk into the landscape under a hovering aluminum-clad roof designed to change colour in response to the weather. Although primarily turned over to soccer games played by Slovenia’s national team and NK Olimpija, the city’s soccer team, the stadium also hosts cultural events.
The sculptural arena plays home to basketball and handball games. In contrast to the rounded rectangle of the stadium, the arena flaunts scalloped edges that create a series of arches. From a distance, the undulating rooftop is reminiscent an oyster shell. Inside, 12,000 seats lined up along the circular contours of the building are positioned as close to the action as possible.
The third element of the park, slated for completion in early 2012, is a shopping concourse, which makes up the largest space in the park, and connects all three parcels with a series of openings designed to flood the space with daylight.