Unity of Natural and Artificial Landscape

architects Matej Blenkuš, Miloš Florijančić, Ana Kučan, Luka Javornik
project Planic Nordic Centre, Reconstruction of the Bloudek Ski Jump, Planica, Slovenia

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Planica is symbolically loaded with its own image. The alpine landscape context of this ritual of world sport is unique and recognizable. It does not require additional spatial accents, that is redefining by other means. Nevertheless, the existing image may be refined on various levels of use and orientation.


The fan-shaped ski jump hills mark the new arrangement and achieve spatial order. The landscape of the high Ponce mountains over the valley exposed to the dynamics of nature, is contrasted with the new landscape, functionally and technologically sophisticated and arranged according to engineering and programming logic. The sports centre’s terraces follow the natural slope of the terrain and the rhythm of the ski jump facilities, thus achieving a good articulation of space and programmatic arrangement. This renovation appends and improves the existing topography and combines it into a unique whole with a refined shaping of the relief. This also expresses the hidden poetics of this area and for a moment realizes the human desire to fly.


By shaping an arch under the top of the ski jump hill, the facility pays its respect to the engineering tradition of the first constructor, engineer Stanko Bloudek. Instead of wooden, or later concrete, pillars supporting the elevated part of the hill, a thin, 40-metre arch was designed. The ski jump facility uses this arch to create a spatial window framing the distinctive silhouette of the Ponce mountain range. The use of mainly two materials, concrete and wood, corresponds with the material context of the natural landscape. The design is restrained and seeks direct contact with the topography. The special structures, the arch and both towers are connected on one side to various construction frames, and on the other they continue the conceptual logic of traditional construction in northern Slovenia with their simple design void of unnecessary details.


The ski jumps are intended to be used in winter and summer. The fences hide the irrigation system, and the take-off ramp contains the vital motor system for maintaining and preparing the facility. All ski jump elements (except the ceramic elements) are in the sense of technology and design custom-built in close collaboration with Jelko Gros, one of Slovenia’s best ski jump trainers. The use of natural materials, the location on the slope, the low-tech philosophy and the restrained design place this reconstruction of the Bloudek ski jump hill among the prime examples of sustainable construction.