type: urban planning
location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
year: 2005 – 2006
client: BTC city
status: project
project team: Mariano Arias-Diez, Spela Stern,
Roman Cordero

consultants: SadarVuga arhitekti

// Description //

Founded in the 1950’s as a customs terminal, the BTC area was completely isolated from Ljubljana and could only be entered with a passport. After the secession of Slovenia from the rest of Yugoslavia in 1991, its huge warehouses were converted into shopping halls with parking spaces between.

BTC’s ambition to become an genuine city is increasingly visible, and the city authorities begin to point a finger at BTC claiming it is emptying the shops in the Ljubljana old center, that anyone is using the existing cinema, and that new bars and nightclubs are being opened in BTC instead of in the city center.

While the Ljubljana center enjoys its unchangeable state of mediocrity as a 2 day tourist attraction, its beautiful, has an identity, atmosphere and character, in contrast BTC is not beautiful, has no identity, atmosphere or character. But the company has ambitions, capital and the will to acquire whatever it takes to become a city. Ultimately it is urban planner and investor in conjunction.

The duration of one’s stay at BTC is defined by the duration of one’s purpose. Clearly, BTC is still not a genuine city. But why does it want to become one in first place? How can it encourage people to come here without purpose and make them stay and interact among themselves? Would Ljubljana then have two centers, the old and the new downtown?, would there be synergy between them?, will they compete each other?.

The project aims to give BTC the amount of complexity and urban interactions needed to become a real urban force in its own, and at the same time interact as an hybridization of urban realities between Ljubljana core and BTC itself, generating that way a co-dependency of urban-scapes rather than 2 isolated urban entities.

The project generates a flexible system which change and adapt to market forces and programmatic needs thru time. 3 key actions are needed in order to trigger a higher level of complexity that will transform BTC in a real urban settlement in synergy with the Ljubljana city center:

SILOS COMPLEX, into a thematic hotel and galleries
EVENT SPACE, an open multi-use space.
GROW VERTICAL. Building on top of existing warehouses, increase the sqm2
PASARELLA WALKS. people circulations in an elevated from ground system
TOWER BELT. to accommodate business offices
LIVING IN GREEN. a residential neighborhood in contact with nature.

from BTC city to BTC citizen…

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