Help us save Plečnik Stadium

Cultural heritage and a central part of our community life is being scrapped for more skyscrapers, shopping malls and casinos. But we are determined to save the Plečnik stadium, and you can help us: sign the petition!

We previously wrote about the Stadium of Ljubljana. And now we are taking it a step further by sending an open letter to the municipality, city council and mayor of Ljubljana, as well as to the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of environment and spatial planning.

Jože Plečnik is a Slovenian architect whose work significantly co-created the Central European architectural history of the first half of the 20th century. The majority of his work was created in Ljubljana and an important part of his oeuvre is the Bežigrad Stadium, which was built between 1925 and 1935. At the time, the northern suburbs of the city. It was designed as an open-air sports park for recreation, training, competitions and various outdoor events.

After World War II, it operated as the central national football stadium.

In 2010 when Ljubljana built a new contemporary sports stadium, meeting the standards of various sports federations, the Plečnik stadium was closed.

In 2009 the stadium was, together with other Plečnik’s works in Ljubljana, declared a monument of national importance. This status defines a set of extremely strict rules of preservation and possible use.

In 2007, the stadium was partly bought by GSA, a company which belongs to the Elektronček group owned by the entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik. Together with the Municipality of Ljubljana and the Olympic Committee of Slovenia, they founded the company Bežigrad Sports Park (BŠP).

On the stadium and the adjacent plots the company intends to build a huge sports-business-commercial and hotel complex  – over 200.000m2 with 2000 underground parking spaces – which the city of 300.000 inhabitants does not need.

Less than 1 kilometre away an even bigger commercial complex is being planned, not to mention an additional one, half built and exposed to decay, right next to the new stadium.

Photo: Maruša Vehovar

The BŠP project completely neglects the prescribed protection regime for the monument and is inconsistent with all international doctrines for the protection of cultural heritage.

But despite the strong and united opposition to the project from the majority of architects, landscape architects and art historians, it has been — since its beginning — surprisingly supported by the directors of the Agency for Protection of Cultural Heritage. The BŠP project has been [falsely] presented all this time as the only feasible way of protecting and maintaining the monument.

However, according to independent studies the renovation works for the stadium would — because of its simplicity — only cost up to 5milion Euros, contrary to the estimated cost of the new development, of about 240milion Euros.

Were the stadium to be returned to its original role of a public open space, the maintenance costs wouldn’t be higher than for any other green park or public square. Not to mention the fact that it would sustain itself through the hosting of occasional open-air events and concerts.

So instead of the construction of yet another shopping centre, which would cause spatial and urban problems, the monument should be renovated to its original form and become a generator of a new life of the community.

This way the stadium would again become a part of Plečnik’s Ljubljana and reacquire the possibility of being nominated for the UNESCO world heritage list.

Sign the petition and help Ljubljana save the Plečnik stadium!

If you are from Ljubljana and you’d like to be involved, or if you have knowledge, skills or ideas to contribute on this campaign, please get in touch with us: [email protected]

This campaign is part of DiEM25’s Campaign Accelerator project.

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