May 13, 2008

HOSOYA SCHAEFER Architects (Part III) - Partnership Smartinska in Ljubljana

Well Hosoya Schaefer Architects have done it again: Only within a few weeks since the office last announced they won the competition of the Engadin Airport, now they have won the competition for a masterplan in Ljubljana, Slovenia (EU).

Read the press release:

"HOSOYA SCHAEFER ARCHITECTS win 1st prize in the urban design competition “Partnership Smartinska” in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

May 5, 2008:
The Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning of Slovenia (ZAPS) has announced that Hosoya Schaefer Architects won the first prize in the urban design competition “Partnership Šmartinska”. The task was to create a masterplan for the redevelopment of 230 ha in Ljubljana. This strategically important site in Ljubljana stretches from the central railway station to the highway ring and, among other areas, includes BTC City, one of the largest retail developments in Europe. The winning proposal was developed in collaboration with Space Syntax, London and Wüest & Partner, Zürich.

At the heart of the proposal is a triangular central park of 7.4 ha. On its north side a new boulevard transverses the entire site. It is the infrastructural backbone and main organizing element of the redevelopment area and connects it to the central station and the city center. While it is to long for pedestrian flows over its entirety, it contains areas of interest that induce pedestrian traffic: The BTC Boulevard is the pedestrian axis for the BTC retail area with BTC Plaza as its main focus. The proposed Central Park is the green heart of the entire redevelopment area. Kolinska Square is the new entrance to the quarter and acts as a cultural and commercial attractor drawing visitors both from the center and the surrounding neighborhoods. Larger distances can be traveled by tram that runs on the boulevard from the central train station to the outer ring.

The proposal is based on two different urban patterns and their associated functions: the extension of the city fabric with the clarity, accessibility, flexible program mix and long life cycle of its main typology the perimeter block; and the extension of the BTC area with its generous spaces, large volumes, ease of movement (albeit at the moment mostly by car) and shorter building life cycles with high commercial returns. The proposal aims to strengthen the existing qualities of the two patterns and connect them to a larger whole. It allows for mixed use on large and small scales and the subsequent development of urbanity around a variety of new places and program clusters.

Principles of sustainable urban development have been applied both on the level of spatial layout as well as infrastructure and have been proposed for building requirements. The phasing strategy proposed implements the strategic elements first. Various scenarios can unfold and the typologies proposed are flexible. The plan can also be operative when only executed in parts as long as the urban network and armature are implemented.


HOSOYA SCHAEFER ARCHITECTS is an international practice for contemporary architecture, strategies and research based in Zürich, Switzerland. Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer founded the firm in 2003. The firm won a ContractWorld Award 2008 for their first realized project, a restaurant built for Autostadt, the theme park and communications platform for the Volkswagen Group in Wolfsburg, Germany. Recently, it won the first prize in the competition for the new airport building at St. Moritz – Samedan in Switzerland.

Current projects of the firm include a new building for the La Rinascente department store (14,000 m2) and an office building for Risanamento Spa (27,000 m2) in Milano Santa Giulia in Italy. Both Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer are currently professors at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria."

End of press release.

This sounds very interesting and of course we are curious to see more images and plans of the scheme also to be enabled to make an opinion for ourselves of the project. Nonetheless there are two things I should mention. Firstly Hosoya Schaefer Architects teaming up with Space Syntax and Wüest und Partner, two consulting companies. Space Syntax developed at the University College in London a "computer-based modelling technique to treat cities and buildings ‘space first’, that is as the network of spaces we use and move through." (1) This seems to be like a more detailed and localized version of the MVRDV Regionmaker. Wüest und Partner on the otherhand, a rather huge player in real estate onsultancy in Switzerland with lot's of know-how particulary regarding estimation and developemt of and on the economics of viable real-estate, residential and multi-use (sounds like a tag-line). These partners and the press release might suggest a very pragmatic and differentiated approach on structuring such a huge site to garner a certain critical size.
The other interesting aspect is, that Hosoya Schaefer Architects, particularly Markus Schaefer, are no strangers to Ljubljana. He has tought together with Marijn Spoelstra a research and project semester on Ljubljana at the Berlage Institute in 2006/7 called "Light Capital: Urban Scripts for Ljubljana" (find a description here) which was also featured at the Venice Biennale.

Images © HOSOYA SCHAEFER Architects,
More Images and info, with project credits: here