The only Nordic Centre in the world has been awarded the Maks Fabiani Award

Award for outstanding works in urban, regional and spatial planning

The Biennial Maks Fabiani Award for outstanding works in urban, regional and spatial planning was presented to the Planica Nordic Centre. The same project previously won a Plečnik Award.

The Planica Nordic Centre has been called ”an exceptional complex of global dimensions”. This work of art is the result of the joint work of various professional groups.

The architecture of the sports facilities is the work of the architects Matej Blenkuš, Miloš Florijančič and Klemen Kobal. The architecture of the central facility for ski runs, as well as of the service and heating facilities, was designed by Aleš Vodopivec and Marko Smrekar, while its location and landscape architecture, which is especially important in such a natural environment, was designed by architects Ana Kučan and Luka Javornik.

Photo: Jelko Gros

A magnificent object for all seasons

The competition proposal was focused on the restoration and design of the landscape area of the ski jump hills in Planica. The architects further wanted to adjust the architectural appearance of the buildings to this landscape design. The new arrangement is first and foremost characterised by the fanned layout of the jumps, which creates the image of spatial order and peace. As such, with the opening of the Planica Nordic Centre, the valley below Ponce has upgraded its role from being merely a gathering place of ski jump fans to becoming a unique complex that has no parallel in the world. In the summer the greenery above is complemented by the snow below, and vice versa in winter.

The STVAR Studio designed the part of the multifunctional sports hall of the central facility that allows just this. In the summer cross-country skiing will be possible on the snow-coated track in the underground premises, while on the ground above it, at the foot of the mighty mountains, there is a football stadium surrounded by roler skate track. In the same three-level hall the winter scenario also foresees a car park facility. During the World Championship in ski jumping, the crowning event that concludes the season in this sport, the same building serves as a press centre and meets the needs the competing teams. Above the ground, among the mighty mountains, there is a ski and running stadium with a seven-kilometre-long track, designed by Uroš Ponikvar, and connected to 30 kilometres of existing recreational trails.

Are you fond of adrenaline sports? Well, in this case you just descend down the 566-meter long zip line, the steepest in the world. Many do not have the courage to do this, as the average slope of the descent is 38.33%, and the speed ranges from 40 to 90 km per hour. A wind tunnel is also there, with wind blowing through it at speeds of up to 250 km per hour, making an excellent challenge for a wide range of people looking for a unique experience. This is also a very good test of an individual’s aerodynamic ability.

Photo: Planica Nordic Centre Archives

Jump high up into the blue sky of Triglav Park

Besides the renovated and enlarged Gorišek brothers’ ski flying hill, the Planica Nordic Centre also has seven newly built ski jumping hills: three intended for children, two for the youth category, and the Bloudek’s giant, which includes both HS102 and 138 jumping hills.  The architects Matej Blenkuš and Miloš Florjančič from Airo, and the landscape architects Ana Kučan, Luka Javornik and AKKA Studio, arranged the jumping hills in a fanned layout. They extend from a common point at the top of the hill in the form of a fan. The architects thus achieved the appearance of a neat form of infrastructure, and the artistic image of the valley was complemented with a new torrential bed and rising valley floor.

In the jumping section of the Planica Nordic Centre STVAR Studio designed the service and heating facilities with the related external arrangement, and within the cross-country ski section they placed central facility. The concept of the sports infrastructure and landscaping was a solution developed by Abiro (working on the judges’ tower, television tower, coaches’ grandstands, and visitors’ grandstands) and AKKA Studio, which arranged the landing strips of individual jumping hills. They also regulated a new torrent bed, moved the Rateče-Tamar road, and arranged the surroundings of the central object for cross-country skiing tracks and water reservoirs.

Slovenian ski jumper Aljaž Vodan Photo: Branko Finžgar

The Gorišek brothers ski flying hill

Photo: Jelko Gros

The historical but brand-new ski flying hill has a changed gradient in its landing slope and a new reinforced concrete in-run with a tower. The architects have raised the old springboard by five metres and pushed it back by 12 to 13 metres. The ski flying hill has also had the calculating point of the predicated average jump raised from previous K 180 to K 200, and the hill size from HS 215 to HS 225. It is important that, along with these improvements, the architects have always kept in mind the safety of ski jumpers. Therefore, they paid particular attention to the so-called “acceleration curve” and the related flying contour. The ski flying hill parameters and the flight curve were calculated by the engineer Janez Gorišek.

The philosophy underlying the design of Planica Nordic Centre was to move the facilities into nature

For the second time the authors of this flagship of Slovenian pride have made a convincing statement with their reserved architectural language and landscape arrangement. They successfully positioned this interesting facility amidst the magnificent world of the mountains, and added to its functionality and all-year-round usefulness. It is also this that makes Planica all the more unique and exquisite.

Text by Tanja Glogovčan

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