Photos- Bor Dobrin
Beside its natural beauty, recognized also by multinational CNN travel, which placed the Lake Bled among the ten most beautiful lakes in the world, Bled is also considered as the cradle of Slovenian rowing sport, with world-wide reputation of one of the most important and most beautiful natural sites for rowing competitions next to Lake Luzern.
For the upcoming World Rowing Championship (Sept.
2011), adequate space and infrastructure opportunities within the rowing center were needed, both for events of world-class importance in professional rowing, as well as for further development of the rowing center of Bled, and the National Rowing Centre. All within the facts of maintaining landscape quality, appearance and attractiveness of the natural area on the lake shore.
As part of a comprehensive new image of the rowing center, the viewers will be able to watch rowers from the new stands in the finish line area, which are distinguished by sustainable placement in a part of the area, placed directly on the lakeshore.
This is characterized by the steep configuration of the terrain, which line placement of the stand facility further highlights the natural image of the area. The stands in general belong to the group of utility buildings, where the function primarily characterizes the appearance.
Given the fact that in the context of the entire rowing centre the stands represent a part, which is placed directly on the lake shore, an upgrade of the formal design into the interweaving relationship of built and natural is the key.
The stand facility is defined by two sets: the lower “open” viewing platform with seats and a closed, uniform area, designated to commentators and as VIP room.
Above the object is a walked-on roof terrace, providing an exclusive view and capturing the whole vast image of the town with the lake and the island in a typical unique silhouette of Bled. The building is distinguished by a rational use of space under the stands, where storage facilities and toilets for visitors are placed.
This part of the building is almost invisibly accessed from the stands, and there is no visual and spatial interference with the rowing promenade. The spatial intervention in the shore is thus limited to a minimum. The minimal level of intervention is supplemented by a canvas roof, reaching from the covered part of the stands and erected only during summer events.
Emphasis is based on the consideration of the specificities of these built structures, when their placement creates at the same time an image of varied criteria and spatial contexts like for example from afar – a view from the center of Bled, close up – from the shore and on the spot of the stands where the object is “detected” in its entirety.
The cut in the shore emphasizes limited and carefully selected materials: concrete, wood, glass and metal.
The selection of materials did not induce only structural logic, but also links to the topography, the forests in the background and the traditional architecture of Bled. The sharp features of concrete stands, the tectonic part of the building, are softened by the lines of wooden seats and the elongated wooden curtain of glazed covered top part, with the cabins for commentators and VIP room.
Wooden elements are also a link to the past, as a modern way of interpreting architectural elements typical for villas in Bled – wooden balconies and window shutters, verandas and porches.
The stands in Bled are an good example of combining functionality and architectural ideas; functionality is dependent on standards, architectural idea is dependent on context of space.
The stands are a successful combination of it, which is rather the exception than the rule in the design of sports facilities.
The project was awarded (IAKS Awards gold medal 2011, Baku international award, 1st prize/ landscape category 2013) in different categories of architecture with a general explanation: the simplicity of plans, the clean lines and the basic soft volumes in the perfect harmony with nature.