Velenje is a special city, designed in fifties with its layout based on the Modernist ideal of the city in a park. The existing pedestrian walkway was created by closing the erstwhile traffic road almost thirty years ago. Even though it was re-paved, a sufficiently thorough transformation never took place and the pedestrian promenade has retained the character of a road, remaining too wide and rather dull due to the lack of content. It has been chiefly a straight path quickly leading the users to the inner centre.
Through renovation, the wide straight connection underwent a transformation into a kind of sequence of micro-ambients, of locally widened surfaces connected by a slightly twisting narrower path. These instances of widening feature attractive concrete urban elements, whose careful arrangement slows down the users and is framing the space for the additional programme content to take place over time.
With the transformation, the Promenada is turning into a main event axis of the city, its centre being placed into the new amphitheatre along the river. The river Paka is a torrential river, which means that its watercourse swells up significantly a few times a year. As a consequence, the river, which is an attractive element of any city, flowed out of sight somewhere down below. By narrowing the bridge and placing it off the former axis, the space for the construction of an amphitheatre is recovered. The attractive amphitheatre by the river, with the new bridge serving as its backdrop, becomes the centre of the activity in the city, and the river may once again claim an important spot in the townspeople's consciousness.
A new walkway ends with a parking facility that was also intended to expand to the surrounding green surfaces due to insufficient capacity. Instead we chose to partially dig in and cover the car park, doubling the capacity. As other projects in the area have shown, the abundance of space in the city made the users reluctant to adopt multi-level parking. Accordingly, the new car park is not designed as a classical parking garage but features a double entrance leading to two car parks laid on top of each other. This makes for highly rational use of the space, as there is no surface lost to inner circulation.
The slight branching out in the floor area design reflects the sitting of the building among the existing trees, which had all been left intact. The front facade features a very restrained design and references the original towns architecture. The remaining circumference of the car park seeks the connection with surrounding nature instead. Individual facade panels are parabolically bent out of the building plane. Beside the interesting shape, the result is also great static strength, which obviates the need for any additional support. The repetition and careful arrangement of these lightweight facade elements produces a constant play of light and shadow, giving the building a soft appearance among the surrounding trees.
Dean Lah, Milan Tomac, Tjaž Bauer, Andrej Oblak, Polona Ruparčič, Nuša Završnik Šilec, Alja Černe, Nebojša Vertovšek
Enota was founded in 1998 with the ambition to create contemporary and critical architectural practice of an open type based on collective approach to development of architectural and urban solutions. Constant changes and new complex situations in the world around us drive us to think about new architectural and urban solutions. In order to be able to produce answers to those new questions we believe it’s time to surpass the boundaries of conventional discipline set mainly by our cultural backgrounds. Enota’s team of architects focuses on research driven design of the environment where study of contemporary social organizations and use of new technologies are interwoven to produce innovative and effective solutions. Enota’s solutions are strongly influenced by research, reinterpretation and development of social, organizational and design algorithms that derive from nature. The result is always a strong binding of the buildings with the environment that surrounds them.