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location: Koper, Slovenia
area: 836.000 m2
clinent: Municipality of Koper
/invited competition/
type: urban complex
status: concept
year of project: 2014


Contact with the sea is contact with the entire world. Despite the fact that borders are falling, despite the endless social and business connections of everyone and everything, the sea perceived as a genuine contact - when going out to sea, you can get anywhere. Therefore, Koper with its port is so unique - if Slovenia is perceived as a building, Koper is the dome, the breathing hole through which Slovenia exchanges fragrances from all over the world. We can only hope that the sea will bring the necessary change that will turn the trend of growth upwards precisely in Koper. Even the fact that a few steps forward are considered, may be a herald of crucial difference that can bring the World to Koper.
Our thinking is organic, we try to understand Koper in its development so far and bring urban cuts into the complexity of urban composition, correcting errors and giving free rein to optimism. We are talking about a possible setting of development for 50 years or more, while understandably not being only currently utilitarian. Urban planning is understood as the detection of potential - if the direction of the development is correct, potentials will find a way. Since our work on urban development is always viewed from the perspective of our own lives, it is often wrongly viewed as very fatal. Development of the city is connected into such a wide network of pulses that fatal errors are unlikely. Therefore, verifications of the ideas before us are useful - they are loaded into sediment that will one day guide the development. Some are also expressive with what they don't do.
We have been active in the Koper with our reflections for some time. These ideas have been combined into a network of urban cuts - some filling gaps, others opening new directions. We begin with the most distant project (both spatially and temporally): HELIOS project. With it, we identify the direction of development already set in the area. The tower composition will arrive here when the world is at the height of optimism - when the IstraPort is a multinational corporation such as for example Fraport, when the development again shifts more to the West rather than the East. The importance of the composition is in its location, giving priority both to dynamics of the new and respect of the sediment of history, thus creating a dialogue that leaves enough space for both and weaves an organic network where development can find its place - between old and new, between water and earth ....
The project "Copacabana" is one of the key findings of our research. The path between the old and prospective new core below Sermin hills already exists - the coastal path along the west side of the reserve. Because it is new, it seems it has not yet revealed the real potential of the area. This is a unique ambience between the natural and urban, we called this move as "Copacabana, a name that nicely delineates the spirit of the place that we are setting up. It is a coastal street, by a sequence of objects up to 14 floors high. It also creates a street space of lower speed, populated by pedestrians who thereby discover the presence of a natural reserve, which thus becomes part of Koper, part of the daily beat. To achieve this, small steps are necessary. Once first investor discovers the value of this space, the value of the land will grow and the owners of large areas next to the street space will be happy to give away a section by the side of the road for street space - then, development will happen by itself. Fine regulation of urban environments and the contact with the landscape of the reserve will be necessary, though.
Beneath the HELIOS vertical, the site of today's parking lot of Koper Port, an educational park is arranged: ADRIA WORLD, inhabited by a composition of uniqueness of the Adriatic and Istria. It is a hybrid building / biotope as part of the marine reserve with continuous changing of water and islands, internal and external environments, presenting the phenomena of natural and cultural heritage of this exceptional space.
The area behind the "Copacabana" stroke, towards the sea, shows the potential of re-urbanization of Koper Port spaces. Once the city of Koper becomes too tightened, it may gradually begin to develop in the square area between Škocjan Marine Reserve and the sea. We estimate that, in the event of city becoming too tightened, the value of land would rise so much that the Koper Port would exploit the potential of its hinterland. As the last field of development, we define the space between Ferrarska Street and the Port - a space with urban geometry already set both in plan and in height. This place is adjacent to town centre and we estimate it would grow by continuing the pattern already set. Citization will condense the space, introducing new markets and parks. This is an ideal place for first urban evolution.


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