Humor is a very rare quality in architecture, most architects are too serious
-Andreas Ruby, director of the Swiss Architecture Museum S AM, Basel
Since its founding in 1996, Slovenia architecture firm Sadar+Vuga has grown to become one of their country’s most influential architectural forces, with a range of projects covering interior design, to stadiums, to city master plans. In a new documentary by director Damjan Kozole, the firm’s history is being archived for the first time.
The film leads viewers chronologically through the firm’s four distinct periods, beginning with the founding of Sadar+Vuga in the “transitional” mid 1990’s, through a time of growth and economic crisis, and culminating with the grand plans for the Stožice Sports park that was never fully realized.
A grand premier of the film will take place on April 4th in Ljubljana. See more of Sadar+Vuga's work, here, and continue reading to learn about the history of the firm as presented by the architects.
From the architects.
Jurij Sadar and Boštjan Vuga established Sadar+Vuga in 1996, following wins at architectural competitions for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia and the Central part of the National Gallery. The office has since created memorable architecture with great influence on their contemporaries as well as on younger generation of architects and has thus significally contributed to Slovenian culture.
20 From the architect. Hotel Vander is a new hotel design located in the historic centre of Ljubljana. The hotel is constructed within the interior space of four historic adjacent buildings. The design of the building plan is spread vertically, with a ground floor space that serves as the main public part of the building and contains the reception, restaurant and bar/lounge areas.
Fresh wind in the established profession
Sadar+Vuga enthusiastically approached the transtitional 1990s, when times in the young republic were favourable to changes in architecture. The inspiration for the office’s work came from all forms of contemporary culture, skillfully translated into architectural language and spatial experiences.
Realisations in different scales, programs and materialities, ranging from the forementioned Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ljubljana, 1999) and Central part of the National Gallery (Ljubljana, 2001) to the exhibition building for Arcadia Lightwear (Ljubljana, 2000) and a smaller, but formally complex fountain in Solkan (2001), established the young office on the map of European architecture.
Simoultaneously with rich and multilayered production Sadar+Vuga established a contemporary approach towards the architectural profession, which was - unlike the hermetically closed ateliers of Plečnik’s tradition - based on three postulates: open, integral, innovative. The office established a certain transparency in ther communication with the public and investors, it was favourable to the interdepartmental collaboration and systematically searched for ‘new’ in their own architecture.
29 Architects Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU), Zg. Brnik 130a, 4210 Brnik, Slovenia Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Špela Štern, Tomaž Krištof, Miha Čebulj, Aleksandar Lalić Landscape architecture Project Year Photographs ELEA iC (Angelo Žigon, Andrej Pogačnik, Marijeta Gogala) Mechanical engineering Electrical engineering Site engineering Construction Slovenia Control, Slovenian Air Navigation Services, Ltd.
Plurality of architectural expression
Sadar+Vuga acted on the international level since its inception, but nevertheless designed the majority of their projects for Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. Wanting to experiment with different architectural concepts and their effects on larger urban changes they consciously renounced having a style, a ‘signature’.
However, they have - through studies and realisations - developed certain architectural themes, categorised them and slowly formed their own architectural vocabulary - a creative catalog - which they presented at 2006 Venice Architectural Biennale as Slovenian representatives with an exhibition titled Formula New Ljubljana. With the introduction of formulas they systematically developed a coherent methodology which compared architectural products and their effects, and presented them with a common denominator - formulas - on a single experimental testing ground - Ljubljana.
Two buildings that describe Sadar+Vuga’s plurality of expression best are the apartment complexes Condominium Trnovski pristan (Ljubljana, 2004) and Gradaška (Ljubljana, 2007), which are built only a couple hundred meters apart but embody their specific contexts in formally and expressively distinct ways.
Sports Park Stozice / Sadar + Vuga +17 Architects Location Architects Consultant in sports architecture Landscape Architecture ELEA iC; Gradis; Atelier One, London; ELEA iC Lenassi; Jelen & Zaveršnik Electrical Engineering Fire Engineering Site Engineering Ljubljana City Municipality, Grep recreational park, football stadium, multipurpose sports hall, shopping centre, underground parking
Sports park Stožice - the largest public project in independent Slovenia
During the period of economic growth the office received several large public commisions: Maribor Cultural Center (Maribor, 2010, not realised), Air Traffic Control Centre (Brnik, 2013) and the large programmatic hybrid - Sports park Stožice (Ljubljana, 2010, unfinished). Three formally completely different projects share their engineering complexity and the desire to creatively reinterpret rigid and technologically determined programs (concert hall, stadium, control room). The Sports park Stožice, for example, combines three completely different programs - professional sports, commercial center and public park - in one condensed area with the potential to become a lively urban center of activities, a complete opposite to the modern, isolated sports buildings, visited only during the events.
Re-use, complex interiors and collaboration with Slovenian and foreign offices
Uncompleted projects (Maribor Cultural Center, Sports park Stožice) and the new reality of the economic crisis forced the office to switch to smaller projects, find commissions abroad and rethink the role of architecture today. The focus of the office’s production and communication thus became the re-use of the abandoned construction sites and buildings, materialised through the international student workshop Sports park Stožice: Possible Futures (Ljubljana, 2015) and the winning proposal for the reconstruction and adaptation of Dom revolucije (Nikšić, 2016 - in progress, together with HHF Architects and Dijana Vučinić). In these years the office also tackled several complex interior projects, designed for private clients.
Sadar+Vuga collaborated with foreign offices and participated at international competitions, seeking larger commissions abroad. The first building of the larger masterplan for a new school campus in Ghent, the Faculty for the Study of Social Works (2012, together with LENS°ASS), is currently under construction; the office also received first prize at the international competition for the Supreme Court and School of magistrates in Tirana (2015, together with PRG*BR).
Simultaneously, the office collaborated at designing several professionally acclaimed realisations at home, such as the Cultural Center of EU Space Technologies (Vitanje, 2012, together with Bevk Perović, Dekleva Gregorič and OFIS arhitekti) and the renovation of Slovenska boulevard (Ljubljana, 2015, together with Dekleva Gregorič, Katušič Kockbek arhitekti, Scapelab and Studio Krištof).
11 Primož Černelč, Urška Rupnik, Marko Kavčič, Jan Trunkelj, Maja Omerzel, Tjaša Plavec The renovation of the Bank of Slovenia's central lobby was designed at a student workshop at Ljubljana 's Faculty of architecture. The project was executed by SADAR+VUGA in close collaboration with the initial student design team.
Apart from their work at the office Boštjan and Jurij both teach at architecture schools (at TU Graz and the Faculty of architecture in Ljubljana, respectively), lecture at conferences and symposia and act as menthors to undergraduate and postgraduate students. The architecture of Sadar+Vuga was published in four monographies (3D-2D: The Designers Republic’s: Adventures In and Out of Architecture (L. King Publishing, 2001), Tendencies (Design Document Series 17, DAMDI, 2006), Formula New Ljubljana (Actar, 2006), Sadar+Vuga: A Review (Hatje Cantz, 2012)), and now their opus is presented in the documentary by Damjan Kozole.
News via Sadar + Vuga.