National Gallery Extension
Sadar Vuga Arhitekti

March 16, 2009 /

Ljubljana, Slovenia

sadarvuga_1.jpgPhoto © Sadar Vuga

The completely glazed extension comes across like a see-through interface between park and city.

The project called for an interstitial link between the old section and the new wing, a shelter that would unify the two sections and provide a protective covering for the Robba Fountain, that was relocated from its location in front of the Town Hall. The space, the plan and the building footprint was already specified.

Photo © Sadar Vuga
Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

The very important Baroque fountain, designed by Francesco Robba representing the three rivers that meet in Ljubljana, was deteriorating and its relocation was seen as a way to prevent further degradation. A replica was produced and placed in its original location.

Photo © Sadar Vuga

The dual site and the dual location of the fountain inspired us to create an entirely different experience from that of its other location. Here, it ceases to be an urban element and is transformed into a museum exhibit. In an enclosed space water sounds different, light is different, the interior atmosphere can be controlled. We wanted to create a dynamic experience and embedded this idea into the design of the building's structure. The structure, inspired by Issey Miyake's "folded tubes," is configured in parallel ribs that form an almost accordion-like series of frames that connects both buildings and also acts as a vehicle for providing ever-changing views from both outside-in and inside-out.

/Sadar Vuga

Image courtesy Sadar Vuga

Image courtesy Sadar Vuga

Image courtesy Sadar Vuga

For the interstitial link the architects wanted the experience to feel completely different from the enclosed condition of the existing museum wings. As visitors move from one building to the other, they can pause, breathe, look out and experience a set of changing perspectives of the city, people inside and outside the building and the fountain. The completely glazed extension affords a monumental entrance to the museum.

Photo courtesy Sadar Vuga

Photo courtesy Sadar Vuga

Photo courtesy Sadar Vuga

Photo courtesy Sadar Vuga

The extension, which has three different levels - an entry with a bookstore, reception and coat check, a mezzanine for receptions, and a gallery, is more than a simple mediating place, it is a type of urban livingroom, used for various public events relating to the city and city life.

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace
This design objective has introduced dynamism into the otherwise static and extremely well defined institution of the National Gallery. It is very lively and very urban, a place where people can enjoy themselves in a very transparent space, their activities reverberating into the park that borders one side and the city on the other. All these different events and people make this cinematic structure an urban stage set.

The cinematic structure emphasizes effects of ambiguity, provoking a constantly changing experience of the central addition. Inside the building, the cinematic structure provides a kaleidoscopic image of the interior, virtually without defined edge conditions, in a continuous interaction with the gallery employees, visitors and Flâneurs.

/Sadar Vuga

The extension to the National Gallery was Sadar Vuga's second project, after the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia.

Drawing courtesy Sadar VugaSite Plan

Drawing courtesy Sadar VugaAxonometric

Drawing courtesy Sadar VugaPlansadarvuga_20.jpg
Drawing courtesy Sadar Vuga

Drawing courtesy Sadar Vuga
Cross section towards old museum

Drawing courtesy Sadar Vuga
Cross section towards newer addition

Facts about National Gallery Extension

Total floor area:

1.650 square meters

Jurij Sadar


Bostjan Vuga

Project team:

Peter Senk,
Milan Tomac
Simona Muc
Tadej Saucer

Structural Engineers:

ELEA, Atelier One, London

Environmental engineers:

Elea, Atelier One

Service engineers:

Lenassi (mechanical), Eldata (electrical)


Silos Consultlight


Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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