Location: Gruškovje, Slovenia
Type: commission
Year: 2005
Status: completed 2009
Site area: 1525 M2
Building area: 275 M2
Gross flor area: 550 M2
Budget: 450.000 EUR
Client: Regal GH
Project team: Dean Lah, Milan Tomac, Matjaž Drinovec, Eva Matjašič, Marko Volf, Jure Kozin, Zana Starovič, Andreja Kvas, Nataša Mrkonjić, Dean Jukić, Sabina Sakelšek
Structural engineering: Elea iC
Mechanical services: Nom biro
Electrical planning: Forte Inženiring
Photo: Miran Kambič

Gruškovje border shop is situated between two border controls, on the border crossing between Slovenia and Croatia. As it is typical for all service roadside infrastructures, a border crossing area is also a special space, where everyday spatial rules and laws do not apply. This is an environment where everything is subordinated to function, and where are only few typological settings to which one could relate to when planning a building. Although throughout the history roads and roadside architecture played an important role in a spatial planning, nowadays, this is unfortunately, mostly no longer a case. This is a space in which direct spatial answers to numerous functional predicaments intertwine and where unrelated elements of distinctive technical solutions are cumulated, while an integrated approach and aesthetics are often ignored. If the space is to be enhanced than each building situated in such a space should stand out of it and have clear and unique identity.
Gruškovje border shop is situated in a narrow space between two roads. It has a very simple program where, besides the placement of the entrance for visitors and the service entrance, the facility does not need any other contact with the exterior. It could even be disturbing. In the absence of functional requirements and typological settings of the surrounding space, it is necessary to find a new context for the facility, which is found in the traffic. Constant movement mainly characterizes the area of the border crossing that has no clear identity of its own. Paradoxically, therefore, the static building of the border-crossing shop is, through its appearance, trying to embed in a dynamic environment in which it is placed.

Simple building with two levels is planned as a longitudinal volume, with the main entrance for visitors placed in one of the smaller sides and the service entrance for deliveries and staff on the opposite side. Both entrances are funnel-shaped and are slightly pushed into the interior so that the basic building volume also functions as a jutting roof. The two long sides are solid and are, like the roof, wrapped in metal sheets. In response to the dynamic environment, and with a simple design technique, the basic volume of the shop is distorted and twisted around the longitudinal axis. The resulting appearance is more expressive and is, through much needed greater visibility, serving to facilitate easier spatial orientation of the passersby. The main entrance for visitors suddenly opens in the direction of the access and invites the customers into the interior, while the service entrance is slightly closed and hidden. Deformation of the volume gives the impression that the building is somehow “frozen” in motion.

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