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Nova Gorica, New Gorica, Gorizia

Edvard Ravnikar's original model of Nova Gorica

Edvard Ravnikar's original model of Nova Gorica

In 1948, soon after the end of World War 2, Edvard Ravnikar won the commission for the urban planning of an entirely new, modern city Nova Gorica, that was to be built on the Slovene - Italian border, as Gorica (it. Gorizia) had remained on the Italian side. Similarly to Berlin, however in keeping with our more modest circumstances, this was an opportunity for the new socialist order to show the West “something, big, beautiful and proud, something that would shine across the border”. Contrary to the classicist concept of the East Berlin, Ravnikar, obviously influenced by Le Corbusier’s urban planning visions, went for more progressive urban design principles that emanated progressivity and optimism of modernism.

He determined starting points of urban development by positioning the main road with north - south orientation, which was to become the backbone of the city. Its upper part was conceived as recreational area, eastern part as residential and its the western part as industrial. Ravnikar’s drawing of the main, 2 km long boulevard called "Magistrala", shows a spacious urban parre-terre with “Mediterranean feeling”, rich with greenery and sunlight, cafe terraces and plane trees alongside. Public buildings on both sides of "Magistrala" would open out their offices and shops onto the pavements, creating lively urban atmosphere.

However, due to the lack of knowledge and understanding on the part of administrative apparatus, along with political interference, Ravnikar managed to design only a few housing blocks. The idea of a new modern city with "Magistrala" as its backbone gradually disintegrated into design of separate parts. The quality of architecture was becoming diluted through designs of various architects that were increasingly less loyal to the original urban design concept.

Edvard Ravnikar's perspective of the main boulevard

Edvard Ravnikar's perspective of the main boulevard "Magistrala"

The independence of Slovenia and change of political and economy system in the 90’s brought certain changes in development of the city and "Magistrala". As a city on the border, Nova Gorica became a popular gambling center, attracting many visitors from Italy and Austria. The main casino building was built on a prime location in the northern part of "Magistrala".

On the other hand, following the de-centralization of Slovenian university system, Nova Gorica became a young university city. The University of Nova Gorica, established in 1995, is currently dispersed in various buildings in the city, lacking proper headquarters and student housing.

As Slovenia joined European Union and the Shengen Agreement opened the border between Italy and Slovenia, Nova Gorica and Gorica united. Though spatially connected, the cities co-exist as two separate entities.

Today, Nova Gorica has a rather non-defined "multiple identity" which shifts between administration, culture, education, entertainment and tourism. The main city road "Magistrala" clearly reflects this problematic condition – over the last decades, it lost its role as the public heart of the city.

New interventions into existing urban tissue - model

New interventions into existing urban tissue - model

The resarch project, carried out in the studio of prof. dr. Aleš Vodopivec at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana in the year 2008-09, is an attempt to test the original Ravnikar's idea of "Magistrala" in current conditions. The main goal is to re-establish this main city boulevard as the center of communal life. On the design level, students analyze and test original Ravnikar's plans and programme scheme and use them as starting points for new interventions. Programme distribution is adapted to the new needs of the city and spatial capacities of a particular site.
Besides smaller un-built parts along the southern part of "Magistrala", the focal point is design of a large un-built space in the north. The northern end is conceived as an appropriate site for the new University Campus and University Headquarters, whereas further down south a series of mixed cultural, office and commercial buildings with residential blocks in the back would contribute to the revitalization of "Magistrala".


prof. dr. Aleš Vodopivec

doc. mag. Tomaž Krušec

ass. mag. Anja Planišček


Urška Bertok, Miha Fujs, Cilka Hosta, Nina Humar, Jasmina Kraigher, Urban Petranovič, Primož Pavšič, Ana Pezdirc, Denis Plahuta, Katja Pogačar, Žiga Rošer, Anja Šuler


La stanza del laboratorio di ricerca rimane aperta alle critiche, ai contributi e alle domande dei visitatori. Interloquendo con i curatori entri a far parte di una ricerca intesa come processo partecipato di conoscenza ed interpretazione.

Ultimo intervento:

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