Town Square with fountain and PHO Kras in Postojna

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Town Square with fountain and PHO Kras in Postojna
Revitalisation of the town centre – The main town square with fountain and new)PHO Kras(Hotel and Office building) in Postojna The changed traffic regime in the town facilitated the arrangement of the main town square as a uniform urban space; accordingly, the main town square would finally take on the role of the central public space in the town. Traffic on the square is only retained on its northern edge. Both the new arrangement and the present image of the square are designed to put into practice the idea that the town square is a meeting place for the inhabitants and the identification point of the town. The square is designed so that its surface »spills over« to all the buildings flanking it and, at the same time, points to the directions to which the routes starting in the square lead. At the end of TržaÅ¡ka cesta there is a new town fountain. The square is given an additional dimension by the uniform paving over the entire surface. Alongside, the main paving direction links the Karst Research Institute with the new PHO Kras Building. The basic pavement on the square consists of burnt granite plates of grey colour, which is the most suitable stone for the local weather conditions with considerable differences in temperature. It is laid in a manner that, in the longitudinal direction, it is interrupted by wide belts of bush-hammered repen stone of a lighter colour and, in the transversal direction, by narrow belts of the same stone. The structure of the pavement passes over into the transparent ground floor of the hotel. In front of the Jadran café, the pastry shop, the Bor bar and on the small square along the Kompas branch office, café/restaurant gardens are planned which are uniformly designed as to the use of materials, their edges are intended for sitting leisurely. As there is a car park under nearly the entire surface of the square, intensive greening is only possible in front of the existing building of the Kompas branch office. This part of the square – the small square - features several cut-out openings for trees and a small-scale children’s playground. The trees are white beeches, which shed their leaves late in the autumn. In front of the commercial and hotel building there are two large grass-covered surfaces, representing a contrast to the stone pavement. A green divide between the square and Ljubljanska cesta is designed as a »summerhouse« with a pergola covered in green. A strong counterbalance to the paved square is the old trees in the town park across the street. In contrast to the grey granite and straight lines which represent the basic motif of the square pavement, the fountain is designed as a network of curves carrying complex symbolism: the mere form of the curve on the floor stands for river meanders, whilst both the structure of the stone and the fact that it creates a water motif represent diverse water phenomena in the Karst world (water in the riverbed, water disappearing underground, water haze, water dripping, ...). The upper granite layer of the square »opens up«, with a curve made of Karst limestone rising out from it. As a symbolic element, it shows a summarised development of Postojna – a time line with the most significant milestones in the development of the town. The bottom of the fountain is covered with massive repen stone plates which are roughly texturised and are reminiscent of the grooves created by water. The water appears in the fountain bed, disappears under the curve element and creates a small pool on the other side. In terms of both space and design, the new building of PHO Kras is designed as a structure aimed at becoming the town’s identity carrier. The building which under both programme and functional design is a hybrid involving various programmes does, in the capacity of a town icon, emphasize the hotel function, which represents the main historical memory of the town as one of the tourist centres of Slovenia. The building constitutes the western side of the main town square and, at the same time, represents a divide between the historical architecture of TržaÅ¡ka cesta and a modern design of the buildings along and below Ljubljanska cesta. Both the full height and mass structure of the ground and first floor, which in terms of volume are quite diversified, are in line with the existing buildings situated on the square and along TržaÅ¡ka cesta. Its diversified structure and glass façade represent a sharp contrast to the historical buildings on the square. The façade of the upper volume is designed as a glass membrane structured in a rhythm of pulled out window recesses with emphasised frames. Each ground plan unit (hotel room, office) is divided into two parts. The alternating rhythm (back/fort, narrow/wide) contributes an element of dynamics into the otherwise rational ground plan design of the hotel and commercial building, which is repeated from floor to floor. The emphasised frames within the glass membrane (»the full on the empty«) are used to render, by means of inversion, a modern interpretation of the old palaces, where windows are carved out from the full surface (»the empty on the full«).

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