Beaver Center by Strehovec Arhitekt and Ravnikar Potokar: Learning and Research Centre amidst Nature
- Architects: Ravnikar Potokar, Strehovec arhitekt
- Area: 400 m²
- Year: 2020
- Photographs: Virginia Vrecl
- Lead Architects: Andrej Strehovec, Robert Potokar
- Landscape: Aspa-ING
- Electrics: EL-Part
- Acoustics: MK3
- Coworker / 2 D: Dušan Stevanović
- Coworker / 3 D: Vedrana Bosković
- Photo Post Production: Igor Vukičević
- Constructions: Vojko Mlakar, Matevž Govekar
- Fire Safety: Aleš Hudernik
- City: Nimno
- Country: Slovenia
In 2003, the architecture office Ravnikar Potokar d.o.o. was founded by architects Vojteh Ravnikar and Robert Potokar. Before starting this, the office functioned as a part of companies KARS d.o.o. Sežana and ARHE d.o.o. Ljubljana. However, in the past years, the office has successfully worked independently.
The office has specialization in architectural design, exterior, and interior design, and urbanism. It also has strong cooperation with many technical experts that enables the office to take on several major projects.
Beaver Center Strehovec Arhitekt and Ravnikar Potokar (Nature Conservation Center Sotla) is designed and planned for the observation and research of nature along the river of Sotla. It is a kind of facility for the scientists, wherein they could observe, research, and give presentations to the eco-tourist nomads.
The basis of study would be in terms of scientific research, education, and tourism. It is situated in Nimno (SLO), parallel to road Rogaška Slatina – Podčetrtek, along the SLO-CRO border, along the dried out Vonarsko lake or Sotelsko Lake, which helps to regulate the flow of the river and also became a unique natural reserve.
The zoning of building and exterior form and the overall architecture follows the natural topography of the site that starts from the road, spreading towards the former dry lake depression and active river canal.
The Axis of the Beaver Center Slovenia is along the north-south direction and parallel to the road. It bends against the terraced entrance deck with its eastern longitudinal façade so that it forms overhangs on the remaining three sides and partly rises over the slope.
The functional concept of Beaver Center By Strehovec arhitekt is thought and based on the terms of `eco-educational research and tourist stations’. Thus the building offers educational content and dynamic or meditative, abstract spatial experiences. The openings and glazings in the structure keep sequencing the views from open and closed spaces.
Beaver Center Nimno has a lower level, upper level, and a circular viewing platform on the roof. One enters the structure through an open circular staircase, through an open circular corridor. On the ground floor, there are two major distinct program sections. On the south side, there is an info-point which has a café terrace, a snack bar, and an elevator. On the north, there is an office with a balcony.
Climbing stairs, again there are two separate program sections. There is a lecture hall accompanied by a cabinet and terrace on the southern side. On the other hand, on the northern side, there is a thematic exhibition center that displays nature along Sotla river, accompanied by a balcony. The terraces on the south side are deeper for shading purposes.
The architectural concept of Beaver Center By Ravnikar Potokar is visualized and designed as a wooden container with transitional platforms along with a central viewing staircase in the form of a tower and a circular viewing platform over the roof. It is also a type of wooden container pavilion. This architecture element is placed in the landscape adhering to the principle of extended screen-barrier, within which the levels, circular connections, and functional spaces are organized.
The Construction above the foundations is wooden. Layered but compact architectural visual with wooden facade and wooden platforms, which is textured with rhythms and raster, interprets vernacular architecture and connects to the natural and cultural landscape. Beaver Center By Ravnikar Potokar also known as a `wooden container pavilion` is placed amidst the landscape depending on the principle of extended-screen-barrier ‘, which also supports the idea of `objective observation of Nature`.
Beaver Center by Strehovec Arhitekt and Ravnikar Potokar is a perfect example of the blend of art and science. It proves the existence and necessity of architecture and science to move and grow together hand in hand. It is a great architectural outcome for a brighter future.