Science center Ljubljana

A series of circular pavilions in a park

location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
project date: 2018
completion date: in progress
area: 10.290 m2
type: competition
source: open international competition, 1st prize
client: Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

project team:
dekleva gregorič architects

dekleva gregorič project team: Aljoša Dekleva, prof. Tina Gregorič, Andi Koder, Martin Kruh, Lea Stipanič, Žan Šabeder, Maruša Turnšek, Jan Žužek

The Science Centre is designed as a series of circular pavilions located within a park, connected by a common walkable green roof. The Science Centre, situated in the green corridor in the Trnovo neighbourhood between Barjanska cesta and Riharjeva cesta, will come to represent an important factor in the development of the southern part of Ljubljana. The system of pavilions within the park helps retain the open and green characteristics of the space, upgrading and refining it with its program and design. The Science Centre’s circular pavilions, enrobed in their green surroundings, inform passers-by and those viewing it from up above, like from the Ljubljana Castle, of the fact that science and nature coexist. We are aware of the Centre’s role in generating community spirit, linking together existing programs within the neighbourhood and creating a new urban image of the southern entrance to the city centre.

The way the pavilions form distinct volumes within the space enables access from east to west and north to south, creating four pathways entering the complex from its green surroundings.

The Science Centre is a continuation of the park area on the north side of the Gradaščica river, enhancing its program, functionality and visual characteristics. To reinforce its connection to the Gradaščica park, we suggest organising a tender for a Science bridge arching the stream and functionally connecting both areas surrounding the Gradaščica river. The walkway would present an architectural and technological challenge, and would integrate into the exterior program of the Science Centre.

The new Science square next to Barjanska cesta is an open public entryway at the Science Centre’s main entrance. It links to the public transit infrastructure of Barjanska cesta with its wide pedestrian crossing, with the axis leading along Kolezijska ulica towards the Trnovo Church and the urban area on Eipprova ulica, as well as the Trnovo elementary school. We suggest relocating the Ziherlova bus station into the proximity of a widened pedestrian crossing, renaming it to Trnovo Center znanosti bus station.

The secondary entryway into the Science Centre is located next to Riharjeva ulica, serving as an entrance for visitors and employees, as well as for occasional deliveries of exhibits into the central space.

The pavilion concept of space programming enables a visual connection to the Ljubljana Castle from various spaces within the Science Centre, such as the monumental staircase next to the main pavilion, the central green roof with its external educational program and the Science restaurant. The views opening up from the Ljubljana Castle frame the pavilions in harmony with the surrounding built environment morphology. The Centre does not stand out, but rather blends into the context of the city.

The Science Centre’s most iconic volume, the Planetarium, is located next to the southern arterial and designates the Centre’s spatial identity and memorable design for both those passing on foot and by car. The visual representation of science in the urban structure of the centre is a constant reminder of the urgency of understanding, experimentation and innovation.

Similar science centres in capitals, metropolises and mid-size European cities generate a key part of the public program where, through play and experimentation, an encouraging attitude towards science is honed and nurtured in all generations.