Text description provided by the architects. This morning, at the Granting ceremony of the Mies van der Rohe Awards for European Architecture in Barcelona at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, we met Lea and Toma, founders of Studio Up, winners of the Emerging Architect Special Mention for Gymnasium 46° 09' N / 16° 50' E in Koprivnica, Croatia -and they shared with us this interesting project.
Lea Pelivan (Born in Split, Croatia in 1976) and Toma Plejić (Born in Riijeka, Croatia in 1977) both received their architecture diplomas in 2001 from the University of Zagreb where they established their professional practice in 2003. Their most important projects include: Frameworks (Site-specific project for the 2004 Biennale di Venezia), the P10 Mixed-Use Building, Split and the Spectator Business Building, Zagreb.
‘Koprivnica - Spirit of Mega'; a town with the lowest number of college graduates in Croatia announced the rebellious competition program for 900 scholars and 2000 spectators in 2003.
The site of the high school building and a sports hall, in front of the American-like housing suburb periphery, is located at the end of a series of ambitious town interventions - mega elements. ‘Tabula rasa'; The contact site of these ‘two worlds' is radically divided into two parts, black and green, full and empty, spiritual and physical, one facing the city and the other facing the residential suburbia.
The new building complex arises between these two extremes. An enigmatic compressed mono-volume of the gymnasium and sports hall complex with intricate spatial relations in contrast to a vast plain landscape, placed centrally on the plot, forms a gymnasium - a common place - a contrasting provocative whole lacking a foreground or background, without hierarchy or authority.
The structure of the building is reinforced concrete on the ground floor, while the upper floors are realized with dry assembled ‘H' shaped steel elements. The classrooms floors have thin Slim-deck flooring, made up of trapezoid section lightweight galvanized sheet steel and cast concrete. The roof of the sports hall is made using a specially designed grid work of right-angled elements and joints in steel. Generally, all the materials are available on the standard building market (lightning, anodised aluminium window frames, metal parapet grilles, Profilit industrial opal glass) and there is no finishing when unnecessary, as in case of the floor soffits which are left unfinished. Because of its high cost there is no air conditioning in the gym, so system of shutters above the sports hall and the ducts through the cantilevered classrooms of the top floor ensure a constant flow of cool air during the summer months, while the double polycarbonate skin creates a ‘green house effect' in winter. The translucent skin, illuminated at night, radiates the even and turns the building into public condenser, an iconic and symbolic place for the youngsters of Koprivnica.