In Utopia We Trust
Ilina Cvetkova & Nina Kobal
Our main idea was to bring utopian architecture closer to reality. The location is in Ljubljana (Slovenia), on the edge of inner city center.
We designed buildings in form of a cross, following the existing construction lines. There is an open public space between the buildings, where all the activities can happen. They are meant for the residents and also for all the visitors. They enable people to hang out and spend their free time in nature, without ever leaving the city.
There are market places, gardens, fields, parks, children playgrounds etc. Some of the market places amd greenhouses are designed to be covered in the winter. Some of the gardens are also deeper and are accessible by stairs or ramps. The access to the location is possible by the underground road to the underground parking garage. Between the buildings there are cyclist and walking paths.
The groundfloors of the buildings are open, so that space flows through them. One axis of the cross is a business area with just two stories and in the second axis the first two floors are public and from the third floor up are appartments. There is six of them on each floor, but some of them are duplexes, which have a two stories space over the dining and livinng room.
A simple form that is seen from the outside is also on the inside. The walls with installations are going through the whole building. These are also the only walls, so that people have open spaces with more functions – they aren’t strictly specified.
Construction of the buildings is made from concrete. The buildings have glass facade, bigger terraces between appartments and small balconies all around with perforated panels for shade.
There are market places, gardens, fields, parks, children playgrounds and places to hang out between the buildings. Some of the market places amd greenhouses are designed to be covered in the winter. Some of the gardens are also deeper and are accessible by stairs or ramps. The access to the location is possible by the underground road to the underground parking garage. Between the buildings there are cycle and walking paths.
Who influences you graphically?
Starting from the movies of Michelangelo Antonioni, then following artists like Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and William Eggleston and architects like Yona Friedman, Dogma, Archizoom, Pezo von ellrichshausen, KGDVS.
Also ‘Agricultural city’ by Kisho Kurokawa had a big influence, as this lead us deeper into the movement of metabolism.
Our inspiration comes when different mediums are mixed and where the decisive moments are those where everything is seamlessly connected. Where the attention isn’t solely on the result but to the meticulous work on every individual detail.
What dictated the method of representation of the proposal?
We followed an outlook of connecting the graphic language with the concept. It is important to know in which direction you are heading. The coherent connection between the irregular geometrical forms within the regularity and massiveness of the project gives us a clear picture of how we can incorporate the mixed medium.
What was the effect and purpose of referencing images from the masters of the 20th century?
It was of great significance that we took a brief look back in those times when there were ideals of making something new/something more radical – revolutionary architecture. It was a real challenge to insert this way of thinking in a small country such as Slovenia, where current ideology is to build and think in a safe zone considering the past of the country. The thing is that we are not trying to imitate another time or to incorporate another period out of its context. It is much more important to us that we have experimented based on the radicalism of the 20th century that effected with transforming this neglected area of Ljubljana into livable utopia by establishing a nomad way of living in a more accepting nowadays existing concept. Basically, various monumental crosses interconnecting with each other create common squares that are following the parametrical public atrium from the old core.
What was your work process in terms of concept development and production of images?
At first, we had developed the general direction in which we were heading, putting down on paper our ideas of what we were aiming for. Even though throughout the creative process we’ve experienced time and time again moments when the concept was changing. In a way, we enhanced it through looking at different examples, inspiring projects, finding common grounds and becoming accustomed to our different methods of work.
What is your take on the art of collage, thereby the montage, in the digital age?
The crucial point is that we, as architects are using tools where we can transmit a certain atmosphere, ambient or scenario. The thing with the collage is that you can really took your drawing to the level where everything is explained in a quicker way, whether in an abstract or realistic way of showing. Also, in this digital era it is helpful if you do that with technical help of the software while creating something more meaningful that can effectively help us mix the traditional with digital language. Starting at the roots of architecture, we have aspired to come up with innovative methods and plenty of experiments, some of which have endured the test of time. Upon which we wanted to build our current experiment, trying to learn from the past while incorporating the air of our time.