Situated in the very center of the historical town core, the Novo mesto central market feels somewhat removed today, being separated by its level and oriented towards the low-quality city space of Florjanov Square. Therefore, one of the basic guidelines for locating the new central market into the space must be to create the best possible entrance from the main square. Designed by Enota, the backbone of the new central market is formed by the covered Market Street, which lies on the level of main city square and connects the two spots closest to it on both access streets.
The biggest problem to be encountered here is precisely the difference in height between the levels of main square and that of the existing entrance to the central market, which measures roughly one floor. To overcome it, pedestrians have to make a large detour, which adds considerable distance to their route. The program of the new central market is thus divided into two floors, one on the level of the main square and the other on the level of Florjanov Square on the other side of the city block.
The lower floor is partially dug in and features indoor trading and service surfaces, while the upper floor is intended for the covered market and opens to all sides. Since the level of the new covered street is level with the main square, it is possible to connect the two in the future by means of the program within the city block. By establishing the connection through the arcade on the ground floor, the currently neglected and poorly accessible basement surfaces inside the city block become interesting for public or commercial program.
Above the terrain, the uniform building volume terminates the city block. In doing so, it also clearly delineates the edge of Florjanov Square, thus restoring its former character. The curved longer side of the new building connects the spatially shifted lines of the surrounding buildings in a simple manner. At the same time, its arching enables the widening of the existing bottleneck and an unobstructed flow of traffic across the square.
The building elements reference the immediate surroundings - the roof is multi-gabled, and the facade is designed with arched elements whose design ties the new building together with the layout of main city square. With such a facade in the direction of Florjanov Square, the market functions as a town loggia and, together with the square, forms a distinctive new city space.
The arch, which is transferred from the facade also to the interior, acts also as the main construction element; its slender construction enables the rational creation of a singular covered space and at the same time produces an interesting interplay of light and shadows on the interior surfaces. Since the spaces are not heated, the construction of the surface part of the building is as simplified as possible. The walls are made of monolithic polished and impregnated concrete, which ensures bearing capacity and protection against humidity and precipitation in a single layer.
Even though the square is divided by traffic, the design of the square is treated as a unit. There are circular multi-purpose urban elements placed on either side of the road. Each element consists of a curved concrete bench, an eccentrically placed tree offering shade and protection against the elements, and a paved inner space. Unlike the whole surface of the square, which is slightly tilted, the latter space is horizontal.
Most of the time, these urban islands are intended for socialising and hanging around; on market days, however, they are used for open-air trading. The square's surface being inclined, they can also serve as an amphitheatre for the audience attending events taking place in front of the market's picturesque facade.
Location: Novo Mesto, Slovenia
Project Team: Dean Lah, Milan Tomac, Andrej Oblak, Alja Černe, Tjaž Bauer, Polona Ruparčič, Karmen Bovha, Nebojša Vertovšek
Client: Novo Mesto Municipality
Type: Invited competition
Size: 1,644 m2