The KSEVT building constructed, the preparations for the opening in September are underway

August 2012

Construction of the Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies (KSEVT) in Vitanje has concluded. Its exterior creates an illusion of rotation and floating in weightlessness and anticipation of opening. The building will open on 6 September  with the first permanent exhibition entitled 'Herman Potočnik Noordung: 100 Monumental Influences'.

KSEVT in Vitanje. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The KSEVT team is still developing some ideas for the grand opening on the theme of space and art. It is known that the opening events, entitled 'Orbital Oscillations', will continue until 22 December, when the 120th anniversary of birth of the Slovenian rocket engineer and pioneer of cosmonautics will be marked. In 2006, a Memorial Room dedicated to Noordung was opened in Vitanje, which represented the basis for the expansion into KSEVT.

Why Vitanje?

Vitanje. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

As Dragan Živadinov, a Slovenian theatre director, noted, the building could have been constructed in Pula where Potočnik was born, or in Maribor, where he attended school, or in Slovenj Gradec, where his father came from, or in Vienna, where he became an engineer, designed his fundamental sketches and where he is also buried.

Herman Potočnik Noordung was a true Central European story and a displaced person,’ says Živadinov. Potočnik’s mother, Minka Kokošinek, and his grandfather were from Vitanje. His father died when he was one and a half years old, and his mother later raised him herself. And thus, the team decided on Vitanje. The KSEVT team received full understanding and support from the municipality for the construction.

The value of the building at the start of construction in July 2010 was estimated at EUR 2 million

Srečko Fijavž, the Administration Board Director in the Municipality of Vitanje, explained that the contractor originally selected had ascertained that he would not be able to finish the construction, and they were forced to implement a new procurement and select a new contractor.

At the conclusion of the construction, the costs are estimated at EUR 2.8 million. The project acquired EUR 300,000 from state resources, EUR 1.7 million from the European funds, while EUR 800,000 was provided by the Municipality of Vitanje, said Miha Turšič, the Director of the KSEVT Institute.

The implementation of the programme and operation of the Institute was monitored and guided by Slovenska Matica, the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Slovenian Science Foundation.

The building is located on the site of the former local cultural centre. It is placed between the Vitanje borough manor with the seat of the Municipality of Vitanje, which houses the Herman Potočnik Noordung Memorial Room, the neo-classical church of the Mother of God and the gothic church of St. Peter and Paul.

KSEVT is divided into three levels

KSEVT. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The interior and exterior are defined by two low cylinders wrapped in aluminium: the lower, larger one rises to the south, supported by the transparent surface of the entrance glazing, while the upper, smaller one extends into the larger one and rises to the north.

Local associations will have their premises in the basement. The local library will move to the ground floor. The ground floor area with two entrances is referred to by the KSEVT team as ‘the living room of Vitanje’. This is a circular hall with 300 seats for conferences, cultural events, traditional Holcerija, practice of the local choir and also for weddings.

The hall is surrounded on both sides by semi-circular ramps representing the beginning of the exhibition space, which continues into the interior of the overhanging section of the larger cylinder. Ascending the ramp represents the passage from the lighter space of the hall into the darker exhibition area.

The exhibition area continues into a smaller cylinder through a landing into a multi-purpose room intended for use by young doctoral research candidates from all around the world in the fields of science and humanities. As Turšič denoted, these students will develop various cultural applications, research, write and create in interdisciplinary pairs.

There is a terrace on the roof which combines the inclinations of both cylinders. This area will be used as an exterior exhibition space or open-air library.

As promised by the conceptual creators, the KSEVT is a place for everyone. For people. Which level of the building you decide to climb to is a matter of personal choice. It would be best if everyone could meet here. The KSEVT team believes this will be a perfect example that anything is possible if there is a will.

Source: STA

Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA